We Messed Up Before. Let's Not Do it Again

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On Saturday, thousands of people across Canada gathered in their communities for a day of action to Defend Our Climate. With over 130 action happening all across Canada, it deserves accolades and titles like “historic”, but while celebration is important, it’s more important what we do next. 

Standing at the over five thousands strong demonstration in Vancouver I was elated as I watched photos from across the country roll in on my phone, but as I walked home I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread. What if we do it again? 

I wasn’t worried about another day of action, but rather looking back on the last time the climate movement in Canada took to the streets in the thousands. Four years ago – on October 24, 2009 – with over 150 actions registered across Canada, thousands took to the streets to demand action on climate change. In Vancouver, thousands of people gathered for the Bridge to a Cool Planet Action. In Montreal, hundreds of cyclists took over city streets while thousands of people, bolstered by attendees of PowerShift 2009, descended on the Parliament buildings for the flagship action in Ottawa. Time was running out to action on climate change. 

Fast forward. The failure of the Copenhagen climate talks kicked the greatest backslides on environmental action that Canada, and maybe the world, has ever seen. Global emissions have continued to rise, and in the last two years the reality of climate change has been, as Naomi Klein puts it, “spoken in the language of fires, floods, storms and droughts”. And hence my dread. 

One of the problems after Copenhagen was that many people just didn’t know what to do. The mainstream climate movement’s strategy of presenting the best argument and calling on government’s to do the right thing had flopped. The thousands of people who had been mobilized with the vision of a “Fair, Ambitious and Binding” deal were left without any pathway for continued action, and with the big environmental groups re-orienting themselves (some faster than others) for the new reality of organizing we lost momentum. The hard truth of the Defend Our Climate action, is that it has taken four years for us to rebuild a climate movement, and we can’t afford to stall again.

Stop it at the source.

Pipelines have transformed the tar sands into powerful tool to mobilize people, but they also shifted the conversation away from the impacts of tar sands development on frontline communities and the climate. This is starting to shift back again, largely thanks to the courage of groups like the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Beaver Lake Cree Nation taking such bold actions to challenge expansion projects. 

Support Students and Youth  

For a long time, students and young people have been seen only as the interns, canvassers and volunteers for big organizations in the climate movement. And while that’s never really been true, the rise of the divestment movement has shone a light on the leading edge organizing that has been happening on campuses for years. Unlike a lot of campaigns, divestment isn’t just taking on one project or company, instead University students are going toe to toe with the entire fossil fuel industry. Not to be outdone, High School students are doing some amazing bold work, like suing the US government or taking on Canada’s biggest tar sands PR group.  

Decolonize the Climate Movement

Probably the biggest difference between 2009 and today has been the impact of Idle No More and Indigenous climate justice organizing on the climate movement in Canada. Indigenous rights have become a key piece in any conversation on tar sands and climate change, but while Indigenous rights have been pushed more to the front of narratives, there is a still a long way to go. Khelsilem Rivers, one of the MC’s at Saturday’s rally in Vancouver, wrote recently that: 

“Harper’s brand of colonist government has used a particularly aggressive approach to come for the capital. They have re-written laws. Disallowed debate or discussion by combining groups of laws into single omnibus bills. This has happened more frequently with this government than with any other government in Canadian history. They have actively sought to reduce the effectiveness of the organizing abilities of political enemies like climate justice organizations and Indigenous warriors and land defenders by labeling them as foreign agents or terrorists.”  

In the face of this, its not just enough that we take on Harper, but as settlers we need to work to undermine the backbone of Harper's strategy by working with allies to decolonize the climate movement and our communities. 

Embrace Creative, Direct Action as more than a tactic, but a necessary strategy. 

In a recent article in the New Statesman, Naomi Klein tells the story of a 2012 meeting of the American Geophysical Union where a complex systems researcher named Brad Werner delivered a presentation called  “Is the Earth F*cked?”. Werner posited that we were burning through the Earth’s resources too fast, and that we were “more or less” in serious trouble. That is, he noted, unless people embraced a variable that he called “resistance” including “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by Indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”. 

If we’re on a fast moving slide towards ecological disaster, what we need is friction. We make the most of that when we realize the power that creative direct action holds. One of the strengths of the movement around pipelines and tar sands has been the ability to out-communicate our opponents, but fossil fuel projects wont be stopped by re-tweets and memes. Creative, direct action means that we always have the skills to escalate and respond and I often wonder what would have happened after Copenhagen if the climate movement had realized that. 

Don’t forget about Fracking. 

Fracking is probably the most far-reaching fossil fuel threat in Canada. From Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland to the Yukon, the push for a new liquified natural gas boom in Canada is one of the biggest threats to land, water and the climate. With major mobilizations already happening in Quebec and the Maritimes around fracking, the issue is going to become more and more important to the conversation on climate and a clean energy economy. 

These are just a few of my panicked thoughts, what are you doing to move forwards? 

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commented 2014-03-05 21:54:41 -0400 · Flag
Many water as fuel inventions have been suppressed. A recent breakthrough by www.blacklightpower.com must not be suppressed.
20 megawatts of power from a 9 inch cubic box wherein water and a catalyst like copper hydroxide are subjected to high voltage and low current to create a plasma .. the plasma is shot through magnets and electrodes… the electrodes pick up a DC charge or current flow from the plasma gas… hydrogen to hydrino… Magnetohydrodynamics .. they speak of 1 litre of water will power a vehicle for 3000 miles.

There was no reason for global CO2 rise to have occurred .. the public was lulled into a sleep… Corporate social responsibility was none existent. Corporations love of money has manifested in devastation for the world’s people. It is time to stand up and ask for public inquiries and then let the evidence be used to convict these companies of their crimes.

At the same time I encourage people to start working within their communities to sponsor and organize community supported fueling based on water as fuel.

Start with the book “They have used water in their Engines” by hynow in France.

Work to bring the technology of Blacklightpower to your province and community.

Study the youtube videos by Moray King.

Join the hydroxy yahoo group.

Together as communities we can change the world and slow down the CO2 emmission and or reverse the CO2 ppm % in the atmosphere. We owe it to the Phillipine people. The extra water vapor and carbonic acid in the atmosphere creates greater static charges in the upper atmosphere that lead to the terrific and devastating storms around the equator. 4 million lightning strikes per day charges the surface of the earth with more energy per square foot. Not enough energy is leaving our planet to balance out that which is being created by the sun evaporating water into the air .. the air now heated more by CO2 can hold more water vapor… more water vapor leads to stronger storms and lightning that charges the earth’s surface in the form of heat in the oceans and the earth’s mantle.