At the end of August 2022, devastating floods submerged one-third of Pakistan under water. The United Nations estimates that 33 million people, about one-seventh of the population of Pakistan, have been impacted, as entire towns are destroyed. Over 1100 people have been killed.
Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for the rising temperature of the planet and escalating extreme weather events. Yet, as the world has witnessed over the last few weeks, the people of Pakistan are the ones that are facing the consequences of climate catastrophe.
Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan are not the only ones fighting for their very survival because of the destruction of Mother Nature driven by the endless pursuit of profit that defines the capitalist system. Record-breaking temperatures are being recorded around the world - from China to Iraq to the Arctic. Wildfires have ravaged the United States, Southern Europe, and North Africa. Drought is ravaging food systems in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Italy, and Spain. In a world characterized by increasing environmental disasters and climate chaos, poor, working, and oppressed people have already had their lives uprooted and will be most severely impacted in the future.
Trudeau, Business as Usual
Despite the clear and present danger that the climate catastrophe presents to humanity, the government of Canada is continuing with the “business as usual” environmental destruction. In March, the Trudeau Liberal government released the “Emissions Reduction Plan,” but it is nothing but a pretty package that hides more oil and gas extraction and export. For example, it allows more oil and gas production in 2050 than in 2019. Not to mention that just days after the release of the “Emissions Reduction Plan,” the government approved the massive Bay du Nord offshore oil drilling project. The Trudeau government is also pushing ahead with dangerous pipeline projects, including the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) dirty tar-sands pipeline, which the Trudeau Liberal government bought with tax-payer dollars in 2018.
Each climate catastrophe reminds us that building a consistent, collective, creative, and effective climate justice movement is more necessary than ever before.
Building The Climate Justice Movement Locally and Internationally
In Vancouver, Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver has taken up this call and has continued to organize and mobilize people for climate justice, both online and in the streets throughout the month of August.
On August 6, Climate Convergence had a table at the first-ever Car Free Festival in New Westminster. This festival brought together thousands of people to the vibrant city centre, and the Climate Convergence table was busy throughout the day. There was an especially great response to the new postcard against TMX addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, which people were invited to sign.
Then, on August 10, Climate Convergence organized an Intersection Action at the busy intersection of 6th Avenue and 6th Street, also in New Westminster. This dynamic action demanded “Stop TMX” and “No New Pipeline in a Climate Emergency!” and included many bright and striking banners that captured people’s attention. There were nearly constant supportive honks coming from people passing by, as well as words of encouragement from folks walking by
from the nearby bus stops.
On August 15, the Wet'suwet'en Strengthening Our Sovereignty Tour arrived in Vancouver. There were two actions on this day with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, who are leading the struggle on their territory against the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline in Northern BC. For peacefully defending their land and upholding Wet’suwet’en law, Wet’suwet’en people and their allies have faced constant harassment, unlawful arrest and detention, and brutality at the hands of the RCMP and other police and security forces. Meanwhile, the BC NDP government continues to close its eyes to the brutality; and it continues to support and subsidize the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the climate destroying LNG Canada liquified natural gas plant, which it is intended to serve. The Wet'suwet'en Strengthening Our Sovereignty Tour was an important opportunity for people in Vancouver to learn more about their struggle and stand in solidarity. Climate Convergence organizers and supporters participated in the actions, which included a march starting at Vancouver City Hall hosted by the group Stop Fracking Around and a rally at CBC Plaza in Downtown Vancouver which was organized by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust.
On August 24, Climate Convergence actions in the month of August concluded with a successful international climate justice webinar. The webinar, entitled “Water Is Life! The International Struggle in Defence of Water,” which was chaired by Climate Convergence organizer Alison Bodine featured a dynamic, all-women panel of speakers from Brazil, Hawai’i and Canada. The panelists were: Dalila Calisto, Member of the National Coordination of the Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens - MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams) in Brazil, who spoke about the impacts of the Equinox Gold Mine in Brazil; Laulani Teale, Coordinator of Ho'opae Peace Project in Hawai’i, who is active in the struggle against the annual RIMPAC war games which took place in Hawai’i in August, Maryam Adrangi, who spoke about the over 60-year struggle of the Grassy Narrows First Nation for justice in face of the widespread mercury poisoning of their waters and lands in Ontario, Canada; and Dr. Kate Tairyan (a senior lecturer at Simon Fraser University and organizer with Protect the Planet, Stop TMX!) who has been monitoring and reporting on the destruction of vital salmon habitat by the TMX pipeline from her home in Hope, BC.
The panel was followed by a lively discussion, which focused on the critical issue of how the climate justice movement in Canada can build more support and solidarity with the international struggle, while focusing on local struggles, such as stopping the TMX pipeline.
Join The Struggle Against Capitalist Destruction of Mother Earth!
Whether in actions on the streets or online, the great response to the work of Climate Convergence is evidence that people in Vancouver and BC continue to be interested in how they can take action against the climate crisis. Whether in local struggles such as the fight against the TMX and CGL pipelines, or in defence of old growth forests, or in international struggles such as the fight against the exploitation by Canada-based mining companies in Brazil, the time to struggle in defence of Mother Earth is now.
As both federal and provincial governments in Canada continue to give the green light to the construction of climate killing resource extraction mega-projects and multi-billion dollar corporations that fund them, we must work to building a climate justice movement that is ready to fight for “System Change, Not Climate Change!”
Climate Convergence meetings are held twice a month and are open to everyone interested in fighting for a better, just and sustainable world. For information about how to get involved and to join upcoming meetings, webinars and upcoming actions, visit www.climateconvergence.ca.
Follow Alison on Twitter: @Alisoncolette
Back to Article Listing