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      ~ In Defense of Mother Earth ~

      Organizing, Educating, and Mobilizing for Climate Justice

      By Alison Bodine

      In the first three months of 2021, there have been dozens of examples of the growing imbalance in the delicate relationship between humanity and mother earth. As people in India and Malaysia faced deadly and devastating floods, at least 80 people died in Texas, mostly from hypothermia, when the privately owned power grid failed due to winter storms. In March, the Red Cross released a report stating that 10 million people had been displaced in the last six months due to climate disasters.

      Starting in January 2021, construction on the dirty tar-sands oil Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) began to ramp up all along the pipeline route in British Columbia, Canada. At the end of February, the BC-NDP government of John Horgan also announced they are continuing to build the Site-C Dam, a dangerous $16 billion mega-dam project opposed by the Indigenous nation whose territory it would flood, as well as local landowners and environmental activists alike. Construction on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) fracked gas pipeline in Wet’suwet’en has also continued throughout the pandemic.

      Building the Climate Justice Movement Locally and Internationally in the Time of Covid-19

      December 22:
      As construction of the TMX pipeline hung on the horizon, Climate Convergence organized “What's Next in the Fight to Stop the TMX Pipeline,” a webinar that featured updates from people fighting back across the Lower Mainland. Jane Thomsing, Chair of the Colony Farm Park Association and Laura Dupont, Port Coquitlam City Councillor, spoke about a secret deal that had been made between Metro Vancouver and Trans Mountain to turn the sensitive wetlands of the Colony Farms Regional Park in Coquitlam into a massive construction staging area. Then, Christine Thuring, an organizer with Protect the Planet! Stop TMX! And Maureen Curran highlighted the ongoing resistance to the TMX pipeline at the Homes Creek Camp. Alison Bodine, Climate Convergence organizer, journalist, author and researcher, wrapped up the panel with comments about the importance of the struggle against the TMX pipeline and the relationship between capitalism and the climate catastrophe.

      February 10: Climate Convergence organized a webinar, “Prospects & Challenges for the Climate Justice Movement Around the World” This dynamic event, which was broadcast in English and Spanish, featured speakers from North and South America and Europe. The event was opened by Coast Salish Elder Kelly White and included: Kandi White (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN); Viviana Moreno, Organizer with the grassroots Assembly of Neighbors - No to the Esquel Mine, which organizes against mining projects in the Patagonia region of Argentina; Freddy Rodriguez Santana, a biologist, ornithologist and ecologist with the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment; Sofia Rodriguez, an activist who led the local volunteer group in Vancouver for Greenpeace who is now living in Berlin, Germany and Thomas Davies, a central organizer of Climate Convergence.

      United, we will win!

      Climate Convergence also continued to join with other groups in actions against the TMX pipeline expansion, from physically distanced actions on the streets, to social media campaigns, and online meetings. This included action on February 15, Family Day in BC, where people were encouraged to post photos and videos of themselves using #FamiliesForFuture #StopTMX hashtags against TMX. On February 23, Protect the Planet! Stop TMX! The coalition held their third people’s assembly to coordinate local actions and campaigns against the tar-sands pipeline construction in Burnaby and Coquitlam.

      Part of growing actions have also been the young Indigenous land defenders' work, the Braided Warriors. Starting in February, they have organized multiple actions targeting the companies that have insured the TMX pipeline. On February 19, they were brutalized by the police and arrested during a peaceful sit-in at the AIG Insurance company in downtown Vancouver. Climate Convergence stands in solidarity with the Braided Warriors and condemns the police brutality and racism unleashed against them.

      Join the Struggle in Defense of Mother Earth!

      Every day there are more reasons to stand up in defense of mother earth – and in solidarity with those that are also in the struggle for a better and more sustainable future for humanity. Climate Convergence has continued to organize from large-scale postering campaigns in the streets to webinars and physically distant and safe actions over the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic with creativity, dynamism, and the belief that building a more united climate justice movement is possible and necessary.

      We have no other choice than to build a mass movement in opposition to the devastating anti-environment and anti-human policies imposed on poor, working, and oppressed people by capitalist and imperialist governments around the world. There are many ways to get involved. Visit www.climateconvergence.ca or www.firethistime.net and find out about upcoming online organizing meetings and public actions.

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