Thousands of citizens and delegates from around the world will meet this week in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from April 19 to 22, to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, called for the summit soon after the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December, when it became clear that a binding treaty with strong action was not forthcoming.
Many believe that the major carbon polluters of the world prevented a strong agreement and that the voices of both civil society and nations of the global south were sidelined or silenced. They determined that a process outside the United Nations framework was needed. Billed as an ‘alternate climate conference,’ the WPCCC brings together delegates from more than 50 world governments, including the presidents of Ecuador, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Venezuela; government officials from Europe, Asia and Africa; along with indigenous communities, grassroots environmental organizations and concerned citizens with a mission to focus on practical solutions for communities affected by climate change.
According to Joshua Kahn Russell, grassroots action manager at Rainforest Action Network, the Cochabamba conference is a "beacon of light, a ray of hope to the world." Russell has campaigned on climate issues and attended the COP15 Summit in December, as well as the previous UN climate conferences in Bangkok, Barcelona and Poland.
"After Copenhagen, people said, 'We need a grassroots-led, rights-based approach to an international dialogue on climate.' We need to continue to cross-pollinate our social movements for a broad North-South alliance. People convening in Bolivia represent communities most directly affected by climate change. They will be outlining a people's platform, looking at the practical things they can implement now. Cochabamba is going to be historic."
Nearly 200 self-organized events have been registered by different networks on every aspect of climate change policy. You can see the program here.
Many Bay Area organizations and individuals will participate in the summit. Among the groups and individuals from this area who are already on the ground in Cochabamba are Evelyn Rangel-Medina, Policy Director of Ella Baker Center’s Green Jobs Campaign; Jason Negon-Gonzalez from Movement Generation; Diana Pei Wu of Movement Strategy Center; Jeff Conant, an Oakland Institute Fellow; The Democracy Center, a Cochabamba and San Franciso-based organization; and Carwil James, currently an anthropology grad student at CUNY.
Stay tuned for on-the-ground reports from Bay Area participants. See Oakland Local's WPCCC coverage here.
For the big picture, keep your eye on the following:
OneClimate will be streaming live as well as hosting an interactive exchange.
The Climate Bloggers:
Global Justice Ecology Project's Climate Connections Blog
JusticenEcology’s Posterous (Diana Pei Wu and Kari Fulton, et al)
Check the Weather (Kari Fulton)
Hashtags to follow: #cochabamba, #wpccc, #cmpcc, #climatejustice, #climate