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The World Takes to the Streets Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
This weekend, before the opening of the climate summit in Paris on Monday, hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets in more than 2,000 events spread across 150 countries to demand that negotiating parties keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
“While 2015 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, this weekend will be a further testament to the unprecedented surge in climate action we’ve seen in the last year and serves to pave the way for further escalation going into 2016. People everywhere are ready for the end of fossil fuels and the dawn of renewables,” said Hoda Baraka, global communications manager for 350.org.
There will be huge marches, concerts, rallies, workshops, bike rides and film screenings spanning all continents. Highlighted events include:
Australians will be among the earliest marches across the world, with many thousands gathering in capital cities across the country including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Perth, as well as Melbourne and Sydney. The marches will be colourful, family friendly events, and will be attended by a diverse range of Australians, including firefighters, faith communities, unions and workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Pacific Islanders, farmers, health professionals, business people, artists and musicians.
Across The Philippines, more than 20 events, marches, and rallies are planned. In Manila, 20,000 people are expected to converge in Quezon City as part of a broad march with groups representing climate-impacted communities, faith organization, youth, labor, anti-coal and renewable energy.
In a remote corner of northern Tanzania, more than 1,000 Maasai will march for a global deal on renewable energy through the town of Loliondo, on the edge of the Serengeti National Park, where they've faced government land grabs and extreme droughts, severely impacting their livestock.
Students are coming together in more than 60 distributed events across China including round table discussions, bike rides and screenings.
A number of events will be taking place across the Pacific Islands. Climate marches are planned in Fiji, the Marshall Island and Kiribati, while in Papua New Guinea islanders will mobilise to send an urgent message to world leaders to transition to renewable energy to save their homes and humanity.
In Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul hundreds are taking to the streets to demand a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy. In Vietnam a big climate music festival is planned, bringing together more than 1,500 youth. In Japan, the marches in Kyoto and Tokyo will feature a mass photo action where people will form one collective image.
Across the U.S., marches will take place across the country—from Los Angeles to Austin, to Washington, DC up to New York City, thousands will gather in creative, art-filled actions in the name of climate justice.
Events are planned in Egypt’s two largest cities (Cairo and Alexandria) where thousands will be running to raise awareness on climate impacts and call for urgent climate action.
The divestment movement will be out in force worldwide, joining marches in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Melbourne, Wellington and more!
More than 5,000 cyclists will be taking over the center of Mexico City with marches also planned in Bogota, Colombia, Sâo Paulo, Brazil and Bolivia.
In Kampala, Uganda a huge march is planned to go through the city. Pope Francis is visiting Africa this week and in Kenya he will receive a letter asking the Vatican to divest emphasizing the moral call to divest from fossil fuels and make a just transition towards a world powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
In Paris, where the government has prohibited the climate march from taking place due to security concerns in light of recent attacks in the city, people will join hands to form a human chain will now take place from Place de la République to Place de la Nation with participants carrying the placards, signs and artistic visuals initially developed for the march.
“While we’re restricted in Paris, we’ll make sure that our governments hear our call for climate justice loud and clear from all corners of the world,” added Baraka.
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Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
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Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
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