Arturo Trejo on Connecting the dots between Migrant Rights and Climate Justice in TruthDig

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:

Art of Resistance: It Takes Roots

Some say art is pointless. How can a work of fiction, a drawing, or giant puppet actually stop global warming? Surely, only constructing one art piece as the only strategy to bring corporations to their knees is a hollow one. Yet, as part of an overall strategy to change the narrative of what is going on at COP21, art is powerful and essential. Looking at art or listening to a song forces the people who are experiencing it to confront it. In our information saturated world, discussions and long dry proposals move little. Art that calls out the human rights travesty of Paris Accord plans and especially REDD+ forces the public to confront and decide for themselves: is this what we want our world leaders to do?

Activist art creation at the #COP21 resistance is central to the people-led mobilizations outside Le Bourget. Everyday activists gather to create art in a warehouse near the Alternatibas’ Global Village. Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 09.54.40The artspace changes every day. Clotheslines run through the place on exposed ceilings. Plastic tarp covers the floor with slogans that had been printed on cloth and dried. The overarching color is red, because of another organization’s slogan of a red line against climate change - a red line against carbon emissions.

People make tables out of saw horses and plywood. Art is strewn everywhere, with slogans like “Keep it in the Ground” and “Climate change is Climate Violence”.

It Takes Roots' art table drew a lot of attention. One of our members, Arturo Trejo, developed 10 placards of the things we are fighting: genocide, patriarchy, false solutions, fracking, GMOs, environmental racism, pollution, poverty, Obama, and more.

In the art space, the delegation developed the main messaging: It takes roots to weather the storm. The storm is all the bad ideas at the #COP21 - which are placed on the placards. This is the storm frontline communities weather through roots. We are the roots, the representatives of our deep resistance to the storm. We have been called to plant the seeds for the next generation, to stop the #COP21 and all the apparatuses of exploitation. The deep resistance, the roots rise up to say: this our planet, for the people; not just for a few.

IMG_2400Now, we embodying this powerful metaphor through visuals and song. The first act will be the storm that is blocking the peace. The second act is our resistance, our struggle and tearing the placards down. Then, the delegation will come out and sow the seeds of a just transition, women leadership, keeping the fossil fuel in the ground, the wisdom of frontline communities being heard and made the law of the land. The final act is a joyous celebration of sunflowers and all our people dancing, chanting, celebrating that we are the ones we have been waiting for.

It was exhilarating to have everyone at the art space for the dress rehearsal. Other artists stopped what they were doing and watched our street theater; they clapped and chanted with us, they wanted to join us. The action is strong in its critique and solution and is deeply inspiring to all who watch it. It is an act of defiance that we will continue every day, until the world is at it should be.

Read our media advisory about the Dec 10 Human Rights Day Action

Cindy Wiesner Calls Out On Tax Havens In The Nation Magazine

Activists carried 196 office chairs through the square facing the Montreuil city hall—chairs that had been “liberated” from banks throughout France. “These chairs were requisitioned to reveal the links between the tax evasion practiced by big banks and the lack of funding needed against climate change, particularly the $100 billion a year for adaptation that wealthy countries have promised poor countries but that has been blocked by financial elites,” said Cindy Wiesner of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. “Thirty trillion dollars disappears every year into the black hole of tax havens that these banks control, tax havens that benefit criminals and murderers—drug cartels, gun traffickers, and the banks themselves. These 196 chairs represent the 196 countries whose people deserve a seat at the table for a just global economy.” Read the whole article here

Uprising Radio: Cindy Wiesner on the second week of COP21

The UN climate conference in Paris has entered its second week with delegates pushing for a final agreement that can be ratified by all. Developing countries and island nations in particular have the most at stake.

Outside the halls of the meeting, activists are gathering despite a ban on protests by the French government in the wake of the ISIS attacks. Listen here 

It Takes Roots Delegate Member Brandon King: We Must Build Our Power

Within the high-stress, low-waste frenzy of the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, there are around 100 organizers from the frontlines of the climate crisis and energy extraction in North America. Drawn from the Navajo Nation, the Appalachian Mountains, Harlem and elsewhere, the It Takes Roots delegation is a joint venture of the Grassroots Global Justice AllianceIndigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance. Its members — some inside and some outside of official UN proceedings — are engaged in a range of efforts back home both against fossil fuel extraction and for the development of community-owned alternatives, as well as a wider-reaching “just transition” away from what they call an extractive economy.

Read the rest here:

World Leaders Refuse to Acknowledge The Need to End Fossil Fuels

The United Nations climate negotiations, known as COP 21, is underway in Paris. Its goal is to produce a binding global climate agreement that would limit the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius. Activists have staged mass sit-ins all over the globe to protest the participation of corporate polluters in the climate talks, and to elevate the voice of civil society. But what exactly are various groups in civil society proposing as an alternative? Here to help answer this question are our two guests: Anjali Appadurai and Kali Akuno. Anjali is an activist currently at COP 21 talks in Paris, and Kali Akuno is the co-director of Cooperation Jackson.

Read the rest of the article here:

On Dec 10 Human Rights Day, US Impacted Communities Protest at Paris Peace Wall

COP21 Agreement is a Crime Against Humanity and Nature

On Dec 10, International Human Rights Day, a broad coalition of impacted communities will gather for a street theater protest at the Peace Wall in Paris calling on the US delegation to reject false solutions that are the basis of the COP21 agreement.

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. “The US delegation 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 livelihood of indigenous communities across the Global South. On both fronts, COP21 will lead to massive violations of human rights and the rights of indigenous people," said Cindy Wiesner of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

The three-pronged action includes performances with powerful visual metaphors of roots, storm and seeds. This action-performance will illustrate the current, global spiral towards environmental and economic destruction, while shining a light on the resilience of climate change impacted communities that are resisting these devastations head on. The action will highlight how it is also these very marginalized communities who are coming up with the real, alternative solutions that can simultaneously rebuild economies through alternative models like just transition, cooperative systems, collective ownership, etc. while restoring essential ecological balance.

“We are deeply concerned at President Obama’s failure to model authentic leadership in the global arena, and appalled by the glaring contradictions between his moving speech and actual action. The US has been leading the model of voluntary emission cuts, carbon market loopholes, and false solutions. We refuse to accept that,” said Brandon King of the It Takes Roots Delegation.

The Protesters chose the peace wall to also call attention to rising US militarism, resource wars and global conflicts. Representatives from Iraq Veterans Against the War will lift a large “No War, No Warming” banner in protest of the escalating bombing of the Middle East.

When: Thursday December, 10, 2015 at 11am

Where: The Peace Wall, Paris, France

Visuals: Street theater, Song, Banners

Media Contacts:

Preeti Shekar, It Takes Roots delegation 510-219-4193, [email protected]
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network +33 75 14 13 823

Frontline Solidarity with Refugees and Migrant Communities in Paris

Indigenous, Migrant, and Black Communities from the US and Canada Unite with Refugees and Migrant Communities in Paris

When: Wednesday December 9, 2015 at 10am

Where: Hippodrome de Vincennes, 2 route de la Ferme, 75012 Paris

Télécharger le communiqué de presse en français

On Wednesday, December 9th grassroots organizations from the Americas will join with migrant rights groups and refugee organizations in Paris to speak out against xenophobia, racism, and the criminalization of migration. In a powerful display of international solidarity, grassroots groups will gather in front of a migrant detention center with songs, drums and messages they hope will travel beyond the walls to all those currently in custody.

“We are here to show that when the Northern countries do all they can to raise physical and mental border, we the people from all over the world, from Jackson, Mississippi to Fresnes in Ile-de-France, we stand for climate and social justice and against xenophobia, islamophobia and negrophobia” said Almamy Kanouté, french grassroot activist.

“While the US, Europe and the Global North have been the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, the Global South had been bearing the brunt of the impact. Rising food scarcity, drought and floods are driving global conflicts, war, and climate migration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The global community has a human rights responsibility to refugees fleeing violence and fleeing for their lives,” said Cindy Wiesner of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

“As frontline communities in the US, our delegation is made up of Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian and migrant working class communities. We know state repression, vigilante violence, and xenophobia all too well. In many of our communities extrajudicial killings at the hands of the state is a daily occurrence. We reject Islamophobia and Afro or Negrophobia rising across Europe and North America, as well as the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, being spread by right wing demagogues and their liberal enablers” said Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson.

The detention center where grassroots communities are gathering 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 brought national attention to the inhumane treatment of Migrants and Refugees in detention in Paris.

Media Contacts:

Preeti Shekar, It Takes Roots delegation 510-219-4193, [email protected]
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network +33 75 14 13 823, [email protected]

Governor Jerry Brown Action - From Paris to California

On the evening of Tuesday, December 8th, members of the It Takes Roots delegation called out Governor Jerry Brown of California on his support of false solutions. The group attended a celebration of the Governor's Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) to protest REDD. REDD allows polluters to continue to pollute and encourages displacement of Indigenous Peoples.

jerrybrown3Delegates interrupted the event after the governor's speech to point out the negative environmental and social impacts of REDD. They demanded that Brown hold himself accountable to the people and reject false solutions like REDD at COP21 and beyond. Governor Brown left the event shortly after the delegates attempted to speak with him and present him with petitions.

Check out this video and blog post update on this event from It Takes Roots delegate Rossmery Zayas.

Pablo Solon: Paris COP21 negotiations are New Carbon Markets Under the Name of Sustainable Development

An Analysis Of COP21 From Within Le Bourget By Pablo Solon, former ambassador Of Bolivia to the UN and an ally of the It Takes Roots Delegation.

A draft climate agreement and decision with 48 pages and 939 brackets has been presented to the ministers in Paris on Saturday 5th of December. Many things can be said about this text. For example, the words “fossil fuels” don’t appear once. There is no proposal [in brackets] to limit coal, oil or gas extraction in the coming years, and no proposal to halt deforestation. Also, as was expected, no text [in brackets] from any country addresses the issue that current INDCs (Intended Nationally Determine Contributions) will actually increased the greenhouse gas emissions gap from a surplus of 12 Gt CO2e in 2020 to around 25 Gt CO2e by 2030. Read the full analysis.



Canoes to Paris Garners International Coverage

Indigenous people fighting for their lives and way of life brought a flotilla of canoes and kayaks to Paris.  With a strong message to defeat the REDD+ deal and to keep 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground, tribes from around the world took to the waterways.

"We’re very, very concerned about the fact that reference to indigenous rights and human rights have been moved into an annex in the Paris text," Cree activist Clayton Thomas-Muller says. "It means that they’ve been put aside to be discussed after the weekend."

And the world is listening. Check it out below:

The Guardian UK

National Observer



Democracy Now

Indigenous Voices in Asia



Women on the Frontlines, Paris COP21: Climate Justice Women’s Assembly on Tue, Dec 8

Monday, December 7, 2015


Come find out the crucial intersections of gender, climate change, ending war/conflicts, and building economic alternatives to capitalism.

As thousands of climate justice movements gather in the Climate Action Zone, frontline feminist leaders from global grassroots movements will convene an assembly on the leadership of women within the climate struggle. The World March on Women (WMW)'s International Secretariat, members of the World March of Women Kenya, the US, and Paris, the It Takes Roots delegation, La Via Campesina, the Groupe Genre et Justice Climatique and other feminist groups in Paris will come together with for a climate justice Women's Assembly. The purpose of this convergence at the critical intersections of environmental justice, gender equality, and economic justice, is to connect the dots between climate change, gender, war, land, and the economy. The assembly will feature speakers, artist performance, and a rally.

Speakers include:

Graça Samo, World March of Women International Secretariat, Mozambique;
Sophie Ogutu, World March of Women, Kenya;
Fania Noel, and Collectif Afroféministe MWASI, Paris;
Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network, USA and Canada;
Rose Brewer, AfroEco, United States;
A representative from Friends of the Earth; and a representative from La Via Campesina

When: Tue, Dec 8, 2 pm - 3.50 pm

Where: ZAC 104, the CENTQUATRE, room 200

For Interviews Contact:
Preeti Shekar, [email protected],
Ph: + 1 510 219 4193 (US) or +33 7 5140 1911 (Paris)

For more information:
Follow us: @ggjalliance

Reject Paris climate Deal That Will Burn Planet: Article Quotes Cindy Wiesner

In a jampacked conference hall in Le Parole Errante in Paris, representatives of groups and movements from the Climate Space discussed their prognosis of the Paris talks, and the collective message was the much-touted deal to save the world from the climate crisis will most likely end up burning the planet. It Takes Roots delegate Cindy Wiesner at a panel said"...false solutions that have become instruments of the corporate agenda and the promotion of real solutions that are coming from grassroots and frontline communities."
Read the full article


Alternatibas’ Global Village

A little ways from the People’s Climate Summit is Alternatibas’ Global Village, a pop-up village showcasing alternative solutions to those of #COP21. I asked my room mate who organizes in Harlem, Diane, what she thought of the global village. She paused.

“It’s cute,” she said tepidly.

Bryce organizing via whatsapp

Arts organizer Bryce offered a fuller critique of the space as he saw it. “Maybe I’m missing something culturally, since I don’t know what the revolutionary scene is here, but Alternatibas’ global village doesn’t look like it. It’s hard to see how it’s different than greenwashing.”

Derek chimed in: “It looks like a suburban farmer’s market in the states.”

Since Derek and I are both from Iraq Veterans Against the War, we teamed up to investigate.

First we went down a few streets lined with booths. Climate organizations have materials in French on tables and eager members ready to talk to those who stroll through the streets. Out of the hundreds of booths we observe, three have people of color on their materials or have people of color at the booths themselves. One is a photo gallery of people of color standing in their homes waist deep in water. While moving, it doesn’t show how people of color are the ones in power to move climate change solutions. At this gallery children can toss a ball at pyramid of tin cans that are covered with corporate logos: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Monsanto. The two other booths with people of color are African.

Does this show how people have the power?

One of the African booths focuses on the issue of food scarcity. It was great because it showed the problem, impact, and solutions. Another booth had African migrants fighting for their rights. We invite them to check out the It Takes Roots events to their great enthusiasm.

African Migrant Organization

At the end of the booths is a miniature Statue of Liberty. On her tablet it reads “Freedom To Pollute” and she’s surrounded by people of color draped in long cloths. Instead of a torch of light, smoke periodically spews out of her uplifted hand. Then Derek and I entered the park which seemed to be the heart of Alternatiba.

It looks like a vegetarian farmer’s market. Booths sold organic vegetables under a sign about the evils of Monsanto. One booth held a juicing demonstration. Some of the booths were full of artisanal items like essential oils, decorative soaps, and heirloom seeds.

The family educational tent
Climate Clowns! Just what we need.

In the center of the park was a structure was a place for families with kids’ crafts and games. Inside, “Climate Clowns” entertained a crowd amidst a backdrop of information about organics, sustainable practices, and the history of the COP21.

In this heart of the global village we didn’t see one person of color running a booth, or anyone talking about the critical intersection of climate exploitation and racism. One group struck the right tone about the environmental crisis, saying revolution was needed in order to save the planet. They were handing out flyers.

Yes — a total revolution is needed. The white folks running this booth have no problem showing indigenous practices as an alternative. But they didn’t actually show these practices. And there weren’t any indigenous people at the booth.

Overall, most of the people in the It Takes Roots delegation felt the global village was a fun diversion but hardly the revolutionary space needed to undertake a systems change. It seemed like typical white liberalism which often tokenizes people of color for its aims and is deliberately classist.

Artisanal crafts in a capitalist system are just a feel-good fad until they challenge structures of power.

Unless the alternative challenges the root structure of power — the profit made from the exploitation of people of color and the land they live on, it’s not really an alternative. It’s a fad. It fools well-meaning people into thinking that they could save the planet while playing the same old games.

The global village needed to do more about the false solutions presented by the #COP21 corporate sponsors — highlighting the need for our voice as the It Takes Roots Delegation to present revolutionary solutions: keep fossil fuels in the ground, reform our institutions for a just transition from an exploration to regeneration, no war, no warming, and build an economy for the people and the planet.

Tom Goldtooth: Paris Accord A Crime Against Vulnerable Communities

“Not only will the anticipated Paris accord not address climate change,” said IEN Executive Director Tom Goldtooth. “It will make it worse because it will promote false solutions and not keep fossil fuels from being extracted and burned.”

Read entire article on Daily Kos by clicking here.

News Article Highlights It Takes Roots' Position On COP21: "Environmentalists Angry with Paris Agreement"

The Daily Caller highlighted It Takes Roots delegation's press advisory on the Paris agreement, and emphasized how many countries are supportive of this position. Read the article.



Cindy Wiesner and Ananda Lee Tan on PRI's Environmental News Radio: Climate Activists Defy Paris Protest Ban

The French government cancelled all major protests in the wake of last month's attacks in Paris, but that hasn’t stopped the climate justice movement from making itself heard and its presence felt. Public Radio International's Environmental News Radio filed this report where they interviewed It Takes Roots delegates Cindy Wiesner and Ananda Lee Tan. Listen to the segment.


Watch A Powerful Video From Our Dec 4 - Solutions21 Action: End Fracking!

Watch a powerful and inspiring video featuring Kandi Mossett, organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network and It Takes Roots delegate. This was from an action on Friday December 4, confronting the France based fracking company Suez which is a Solutions 21 corporate greenwash sponsor of COP21. Watch this powerful video and share it with your networks!

Yes Magazine: What Paris Can Learn From a Mississippi Co-op at COP21

Yes! Magazine interviewed It Takes Roots delegate and Cooperation Jackson co-founder and director Kali Akuno, on connecting the dots between local and global and how the environmental justice movement in Paris can draw from the experience of Coop Jackson in the southern US state of Mississippi. Read this insightful article



Grist Article Highlights It Takes Roots' Delegation's Disappointment With Paris Agreement

Grist Article, drawing from It Takes Roots' Delegation's Nov 30 press advisory, highlights our disappointment with the Paris Agreement and how it lacks in any political teeth to make any real or meaningful solutions to mitigate the already devastating impacts of climate change. Read the Article