Occupy the Climate Talks in Durban–Virtually

If you lived on a small island nation that was losing precious feet of shoreline every year due to rising seas and storm erosion, you might be forgiven for having high expectations for the current international climate change negotiations going on in Durban, SA.

In the the heart of the developed world, meanwhile, you’d have a hard time finding any news about the climate talks.  You have to search the Web pretty carefully to even find a mention.

That goes to show how it’s all about location, location, location.

I learned yesterday, by careful Web search, that Canada is planning to pull out of the Kyoto treaty, just like the U.S.

Canadians want developing countries like China and India to also agree to reduced emissions.

But meanwhile, Canada’s government is pushing the extraction of oil from the Alberta boreal forests.

As Tom Zeller of the Huffington Post reports,””What’s astonishing is watching Canada emerge as a rogue among developed countries,” said Bill McKibben, the author and activist who has spearheaded a grassroots movement aimed at combatting a pipeline proposal designed to deliver some 700,000 barrels of oil each day from the tar sands to refineries and ports on the Texas Gulf Coast. “Of course, they have no choice but to ditch serious climate policy if they want to develop the tar sands in a big way — and that pool of gunky oil is clearly the tail wagging the dog up there.”

We’re all the dog that’s being wagged by powerful oil extraction companies.  If we don’t watch out, we’re going to be wagged right into extinction.

Notice how the climate talks are always held in inaccessible places where it’s hard for activists to congregate.  Who can afford a ticket to Durban, SA?

But now, with the World Wide Web, we can all hold ring seats to the climate talks, and we need to make our voices heard.

Read the Climate Connections blog, produced in Durban by the Global Justice Ecology Project, for up-to-the-minute information about what’s going on in Durban.

Check out the results of the General Assembly held there today under the Occupy Durban banner: #OccupyCop17

The climate talks may be far away, but they are one of the most crucial sites for “occupation” as we move into the 21st century.  We can’t let the big oil companies, with their deep pockets created from our dependence on an oil-based economy, dominate the agenda.

If you care about leaving a healthy planet to the next generation, the time to speak up is NOW.

Occupying the Climate Talks & College Campuses–Full Speed Ahead!

Could be an interesting day today.  Word has it that the less-developed nations are threatening to “occupy” the climate talks at Durban if the big polluters–that’s us, America, and you too, Europe and China–won’t get serious about limiting emissions and working for systemic change.

Meanwhile, a student movement begun at UC Davis is calling for a General Strike today–no classes, no work–to create a space for student-run General Assemblies to discuss issues like police violence against peaceful protesters, as well as sky-rocketing tuition and debt-funded education that is putting college out of reach for more and more Americans.

I continue to be amazed at the speed with which awareness now spreads, thanks to how many of us are now plugged into what is coming to seem more and more like a collective brain.

Could the collective consciousness represented by the World Wide Web be an evolutionary leap forward?  Or could it at least be speeding up our evolutionary progression as a species?

Of course, it’s all dependent on electricity.  If the lights go out, our collective brain goes dead.

Or maybe not?  The General Assemblies, with their human microphones and patient face-to-face discussions give me hope that the new connections that are being forged in this time of transition are real and could stand alone, without the crutch of the Web.

In fact, maybe that’s what this is all about.  Building the human connections, virtual and real, to withstand the great shocks that are coming our way as the climate shifts and the Earth seeks to return to a steady state.

In Durban, South Africa and on college campuses and public parks across the country, people are turning out to be the change we want to see.

It’s an exciting time to be alive.


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