Watch A Powerful Video Of the It Takes Roots’ delegation’s Dec 10 Human Rights Day Action @ the Peace Wall in Paris:
December 10, 2015
Grassroots Groups Say Climate Policies Violate Human Rights
& the Rights of Indigenous People
(Paris, FRANCE) Grassroots leaders from climate-impacted communities in the US rallied at the Paris Peace Wall to denounce the role of the US delegation for a legacy of environmental racism and in undermining the possibility for genuine climate justice coming out of Paris COP21 accord. Over 350 people participated in an action in front of the Peace Wall in Paris, a venue chosen to symbolically challenge the grave and violent implications of the current COP21 Agreement. Massive banners, signs, fierce chanting, singing, and street theatre marked the It Takes Roots delegation-led action for Human Rights Day.
“Here in Paris, as with every COP before now, we see the role of the US in holding back any efforts at real mandatory emissions cuts, and accepting true historic and current responsibility as a leading greenhouse gas emitter. The US has been leading other member states in a strategy of pollution trading that allows big oil to continue to pollute our communities and also threatens the livelihoods of indigenous communities from the Global North to the Global South. The decisions coming out of COP21 will lead to massive violations of human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples,” read Edgar Franx, from the It Takes Roots statement to President Obama on Human Rights Day.
“The prosperity of fossil-fueled societies has been built on the backs of historically marginalized communities: Indigenous Peoples, coal miners, fisherfolk, working class communities across the world — all of whom have paid the price of our “cheap fuels” and will suffer the consequences of global climate chaos disproportionately. Solutions that protect the welfare and rights of these communities will prove more durable, more equitable, and safer – for all of us. Indeed, on December 10 Human Rights day, there can be no better demand of COP21 – to be accountable to all people,” noted Dallas Goldtooth, with the Indigenous Environmental Network, and an It Takes Roots delegate.
Representatives from Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander organizations have united under the banner, It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm, representing communities living alongside fracking wells, coal power plants, and oil refineries and already facing the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
Today’s peace action called out the US and other countries of the Global North whose invasive foreign policies have played a large role in the current devastating and vicious refugee crises, conflicts, and resource wars due to land grabs and displacement triggered by neoliberal globalization.
Check out the list of media spokespeople from the It Takes Roots delegation:
Check out updates about our events/actions the delegation participated/co-organized:
Visit Our Flickr Photostream (please credit photos to: It Takes Roots)
Watch a quick video highlight of today’s action by Indigenous Environmental Network
To schedule interviews with our media spokespeople, and to get video clips from today’s action contact:
It Takes Roots delegate Sarra Tekola shared her disturbing experience of racism from the police while in Paris for COP21. Read the full article.
Outside the confines of the conference being held in Le Bourget, a Paris suburb, hundreds of activists gathered next to the Peace Wall at the Eiffel Tower to mark International Human Rights Day and draw clear links between human rights and climate justice. The gathering, organized by the It Takes Roots Delegation, consisted of people from indigenous and other communities of color from all over the world. Read the full article.
One of the first big assemblies of the Climate Action Zone was the Just Transition Assembly put on by the It Takes Roots delegation. The event kicked off with a panel of climate leaders talking about the connections between labor and climate, and the importance of local economies in a just transition. Grassroots Global Justice board member and delegate Jose Bravo started off the discussion by talking about the history of a just transition. Workers and “fenceline” environmental justice communities are both impacted by irresponsible and global production at all levels.
Following the panel, participants were given the opportunity to talk about the vision and challenges of achieving a just transition in their communities. To learn more about work around a just transition, visit Our Power Campaign or Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.
For live coverage of the event via Twitter, check out Our Storify Feed.
On Wednesday, December 9, nearly 200 grassroots activists converged and marched, chanted, and sang with colorful banners, posters and outside the Vincennes detention center in Paris where several immigrants are illegally detained by the French government.
The Vincennes detention center where grassroots communities gathered is of particular significance, as it was the site of an historic uprising after the death of a Tunisian man while in custody in 2008. This uprising brought national attention to the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees in detention in Paris.
It Takes Roots delegates participated in this march in solidarity with thousands of impacted refugees and migrants, detained by the French government. Local community leaders and activists working at the intersections of migrant and refugee rights joined our delegation.
This action was in deep solidarity with refugees fleeing situations of grave conflict, and made vital connections between migrant rights, Indigenous rights, gender equality, and climate change. Check out a few photos from our action today below and visit our photos page for more visual updates.
Key spokespeople at the march highlighted how social and environmental justice are deeply linked, and the largely US delegation expressed their solidarity with migrant rights, especially activists working with immigrant communities along the US-Mexico border, and Indigenous activists, who highlighted how colonialism is not really dead, but alive in new and dangerous ways. Watch a video highlight of this action!
The It Takes Roots delegates have real, community-based solutions to combat the climate crisis. They have come to Paris to present these solutions and move away from the climate crisis. Here are some memes to highlight the amazing work of these frontline leaders.
“Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island is fighting against National Grid to stop their LNG facility project from being placed in the Port of Providence where it is mainly populated with people of color, next to the state hospitals, the only trauma center and so much more medical facilities. This is environmental racism and it needs to stop now. This is why we are here with the #ItTakesRoots delegation, to demand that LNG is not a solution, that corporations like National Grid creates more pollution!
“Climate change is an extension of colonization. The colonizers of the Global North came into the formerly colonized countries of the Global South and stole their natural resources, the main one being fossil fuel. Now the pollution from these resources being burned is coming back to kill those in the Global South in the form of climate change. When people try to flee climate chaos, they are not allowed to leave. Currently, when people flee because of climate change they are not given refugee status and left to drown in the Mediterrean Sea or get shot on the US border. The Global North has a responsibility to take in all climate refugees because they are responsible for destroying their country causing them to flee.”
-Sarra Tekola, Got Green?
“APEN members in the Bay Area are standing up to Big Oil and the extractive economy while building community power–in six languages at a time. We reject militarization of the police and security forces, and the displacement and corporate land-grabbing they enforce from the Bay to our homelands. We fight for a new energy economy, good jobs on a living planet, and our right to build the better future we all deserve.”
-Shina Robinson, APEN’
Monday was the first day of the Climate Action Zone in Paris, and one of the first events was our Just Transition Assembly! Check out some of highlights of that and other parts of the day from Twitter.
Shela Liton and Senowa Mize-Fox, representatives of the Vermont Workers Center in Brattleboro and Burlington, are also attending the Paris climate talks. Linton and Mize-Fox are part of the 100-plus person delegation called “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm,” a collection of grassroots leaders from dozens of communities in the U.S. and Canada that have been impacted by climate change.
“From Paris to Montpelier, we’re seeing politicians push false solutions to climate change like fracking and carbon trading,” Mize-Fox said in a news release. “We need to recognize the leadership and strategies coming from social movements at the grassroots, who understand the interconnections between racial, gender, economic and climate justice and are calling for system change, not climate change.”
It Takes Roots delegate an organizer with the South West Workers’ Union Arturo Trejo, was interviewed on Truth Dig by radio producer and journalist Sonali Kolhatkar on how migrant rights, immigration and are deeply connected with climate justice, and discusses the Dec 9 migrant justice rally co-organized by It Takes Roots in collaboration with local migrant rights activists. Read the article and watch a videocast of the interview: