November 25, 2016
This week we are back with some mind-boggling questions: who is to blame for climate change? Follow that with a mix of horror and inspiring news from the Standing Rock Reservation and more updates following the end of the climate summit in Morocco. We also look at what climate change looks like in everyday life and how members of the vulnerable communities are fighting back.
We offer all of this information to you to understand the issue better and get ideas for your own projects. We are always open for your stories and suggestions. After all - the power is yours, remember?
The ethics of climate change
In the process of negotiating a global climate deal (one that was agreed upon a year ago and came info force in the beginning of November this year), there is a concept that plays an especially important role. It is “differentiated responsibilities” and it refers to the fact that countries, which historically emitted the most greenhouse gasses, got us into the climate crisis, so they bear more responsibility than the less economically developed states. Additionally one can also bring forward the concept of “differentiated burden”, because some of the countries, which are responsible for a fraction of the emission, are often on the frontline of the climate change impacts.
However, pointing a finger can be much more challenging if you look deeper. What about raising economies like China and India, which are catching up with the biggest world polluters? Or should we rather blame companies like Exxon, which knew about potential climate change impacts for decades, but spent huge amounts of money on campaigns playing it down and misinforming public opinion? Or maybe we should stop focusing on who is to blame and just all jump into action, without wasting energy on answering this question? “The ethics of climate change: A primer” (The Washington Post)
These are all questions without simple answers, but maybe you want to ask them to your workcamp volunteers in your next study part? Let us know what you think or come up with by sending a message to email@example.com.
Stand With Standing Rock
Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments Sunday evening when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures. Water protectors' efforts to clear the road from a police enforced blockade and improve access to the camp for emergency services were met with tear gas, an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), stinger grenades, rubber bullets and indiscriminate use of a water cannon with an air temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Multiple people were unconscious and bleeding after being shot in the head with rubber bullets. On top of that the road blockade that water protectors were trying to remove extends the time needed for an ambulance to get to the camp by 30 minutes. Law enforcement also shot down three media drones and targeted journalists with less lethal rounds. “Water Cannons Fired at Water Protectors, Hundreds Injured” (EcoWatch)
At the same time hundreds of military veterans are preparing to join the water protectors in North Dakota. As the "operations order" posted onto social media describes, "the First Americans have served in the Unites States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support." They say they join the protest to fulfill their oath and defend the people of the United States. “Hundreds of Veterans to Join Water Protectors at Standing Rock to Protest Dakota Access Pipeline” (EcoWatch)
More news from Marrakesh
As the international meeting on climate change neared a close in Morocco just one week ago, parties endorsed a strong statement declaring that the “momentum is irreversible” when it comes to global action on climate change. The main accomplishment of COP 22 was laying out the rules for how parties should meet the commitments agreed on in the Paris agreement (e.g. rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions, and how much they have reduced them). “Steps to address climate change are ‘irreversible,’ world leaders declare in Marrakech” (The Washington Post)
If you are into climate policy, this is an accessible overview of the main outcomes of COP 22. “COP22 headlines: what did Marrakech climate summit deliver?” (Climate Change News)
Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet. The Forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change.
During COP 22 leaders of countries united under CVF logo (representing 43 countries from Afghanistan to Yemen) made a pledge to shift to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible. And while that pledge still lacks the important details (like a concrete timeframe) and the governments already know they will need financial investment from outside, it is an important message to the world. Climate crisis in the first place hits people who are already vulnerable to economic and social challenges. Supporting them in a just transition to 100% renewable energy is a moral obligation of countries responsible for historic greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate-threatened nations aim for 100 pct renewable energy” (Trust.org)
Stories from frontlines of climate change
OK, so we know that the climate is changing, but what does it actually mean for individual people? Read the stories of people fleeing Boko Haram in Nigeria, the future of dog races in Alaska, reindeer herding in Russia, 51*C heat in India, wine makers in Finland, farmers struggling with extreme drought in Thailand, Australia and Brazil. SCI activists can play a role in both - helping people adapt to the changing climate, as well as spreading solutions that combat the change! “'It was too hot, even to leave home': stories from the world's hottest year” (The Guardian)
And on a similar note, Aboriginal women, ranging from Guatemala to Chile, from Bolivia to Colombia and Ecuador, have brought their voices this month to the United Nations climate change negotiations in Marrakech. A year ago, Indigenous women from across Latin America began collecting local stories about how climate change is affecting their daily lives. They did this in order to craft solutions that aligned with their values. Across their territories, this network of women is known as Chaski Warmi, meaning women messengers in Kichwa, a native language of the Andean region. Together, they are proposing what they describe as an alternative development model. They say it would exert Indigenous rights and environmental justice as opposed to what they call "extractivism" or unsustainable development of resources. “Indigenous Latin American women craft climate change solutions in Marrakech” (National Observer)