Day IV in Copenhagen—On Human Rights Day Things are Heating Up in Chilly Copenhagen

By Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Climate Justice Initiative

Activists have been here for a few days, and have met and strategized together. Thus, the actions are an increasing reflection of growing solidarity and joint action across borders, movements, etc.

First thing this morning, a panel of African American and African activists, led by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance,  joined forces to honor President Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace on Human Rights Day, hail President Obama as a native son of Africa, and call on him to show leadership in advancing aggressive targets to address climate change.  Also represented on the panel was the Pan African Parliamentarians Network on Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, and the Black Women’s Roundtable.

Photo Credit: Peter DeJong/Associated Press

In late morning, indigenous rights activists gathered in front of the US embassy to call on President Obama to stop the war waged on native people and lands by the energy industry. They cited tar sands, oil refineries, coal fired power plants, etc. and called for just energy policies and enforcement of regulations.

Later, in the Bella Center Indigenous and Youth Activists gathered and simulated a storm through use of their bodies and vocalizations.  The sound was an impressive representation of what is already occurring and what will increase in terms of severe weather events.  Participants then gave testimony of the threat that increasing climate change has for their lives and what they want to see in the way of change. They called on decision makers to “seal the deal” for the sakes of their lives.

To end out the day I went over to the Klimaforum and listened to a talk on Cuba and Oil that centered on their efforts to maintain sovereign rights over this coveted natural resource. One of the audience members counseled Cuba to consider a model such as that of the Nordic nations who are also oil rich but execute a mixed economy model where they keep a significant portion of their oil for use in the Nordic region. Then they only export what they don’t need.  This is as opposed to many models where countries export all of their natural resources and end up buying their own resource back at a premium after it has been process/refined by an external entity.

I also met a fantastic youth activist from Senegal named Minielle Tall. She can tell her own story, which echoes so much of what we’ve heard in terms of being a cry for justice for the travesty of the suffering of her country and continent due to the lack of willingness by wealthy nations to adjust lifestyle and practices for the good of all.

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Explore posts in the same categories: African American Climate Advocacy, Copenhagen Blog, Voices From the Global South

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