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Africa and Climate Justice at UMSU

Written by manchestercentral on November 17, 2011 – 12:24 pm -

On Monday evening the Campaign Against Climate Change held an event at the University of Manchester Students Union entitled ‘Africa and Climate Justice – a public meeting with Rehad Desai’, ahead of the December 3 Stand Up for Climate Justice march in London during COP-17 in Durban.

Rehad is a South African filmmaker and activist. He is involved in mobilising civil society, labour and peasant movements demanding climate justice for the COP-17 international climate change meeting in Durban next month. On the panel alongside Rehad were representatives from Campaign Against Climate Change, Manchester Environmental Students Society, and the Young Greens.

Talking to a receptive audience of around 30 people, Rehad explained how climate change is already affecting South Africa and that the crisis is now. Though not historically responsible for global carbon emissions it is currently one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases while the South African people are among its greatest victims. For instance, approximately 30 per cent of land is suffering from a 20 per cent decline in maize production yields as a direct consequence of climate change, driving up food prices in an already impoverished and deeply unequal country.

The mitigation and adaptation strategies mooted by Western nations though are making things far worse. Rehad told the room how 70 per cent of land grabs happening around the world right now are happening in Africa, and that in the Democratic Republic of Congo for example, 48 per cent of land is already owned by foreign companies. Much of this is being done near rivers for biofuel production in the new ‘Scramble for Africa’. He said that lobbying government on the issue of climate change and climate justice is now a “misnomer” in the run-up to Durban, especially following the cataclysmic failure of COP-15 in Copenhagen, as the corporations on the London Stock Exchange have so successfully bought the favour of Western political establishment.

He spoke though too of how events around the world are making the breaking down of what previously seemed insurmountable barriers down possible again – barriers between linking current environmental degradation and climate change with their causes in the politics and economics of 30 years of neoliberal “onslaught” around the world and in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Public sector strikes in the UK, the global Occupy movement and resistance to austerity in Greece, he said, is showing that “we are not alone” in the fight for a fairer and sustainable society, and that if we can effectively link them together we can raise climate change up the global agenda again. The convergence of these many movements and international solidarity is the key. Rehad said that only “constant mobilisation” of a massive social movement can affect the change we need.

The Campaign Against Climate Change Stand Up for Climate Justice march is happening in London on Saturday 3 December and will be starting from Occupy the London Stock Exchange. They are encouraging everyone to mobilise and get down to show solidarity with those protesting in Durban and to demand climate justice for the world’s poor. WDM will be there too.

Last month World Development Movement’s Africa Demands Climate Justice speaker tour travelled around the UK. Below are a couple of interviews with the South African activists involved in the mobilisations for Durban, Bongani Mthembu of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and Bandile Mdlalosi of Abahlali baseMjondolo.



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The latest from Manchester Central

Written by manchestercentral on November 10, 2011 – 4:42 pm -

Sorry for the lack of updates on the Central Manchester site, things have been very busy, but there are a few events in the pipeline you should know about.

This coming Monday 14 November the Campaign Against Climate Change will be holding ‘Africa and Climate Justice – Meeting with Rehad Desai’ at the University of Manchester Students Union. Like World Development Movement, they are running a campaign on the issue of climate justice in the run-up to the COP-17 in Durban in December and ahead of the Stand Up For Climate Justice March in London on 3 December. Details of WDM’s climate debt campaign can be found here on the main website. We will be there on Monday, and below is the blurb for the event which begins at 6.30pm in the Khaled Said room of UMSU on Oxford Road:

The historic emissions of greenhouse gases from the industrialised, developing world is already hitting those living on the majority of the globe. Developing nations are already feeling the impact of climate change, and are likely to experience it first and worst. In Africa food and water shortages are being made worse, leading to famine and conflict.

However people in Africa are organising. This years UN climate conference takes place in Durban, South Africa against a backdrop of mobilisations demanding climate and social justice. South African unions are demanding a million climate jobs and mobilising thousands to join protests, demanding the visiting politicians act to save the lives of millions of people.

Internationally renowned documentary film maker Rehad Desai is touring the UK to highlight the question of climate justice for Africa. He is at the heart of the organising team, planning for December’s protests and has a long record of organising for social justice in Africa.

This meeting is part of a tour organised by the Campaign against Climate Change with support from the PCS and UCU.

It is an opportunity to hear from an activist from South Africa about how ordinary people are mobilising to challenge the inadequacies of the international response to climate change. Environmental activists from Manchester will also speak about forthcoming mobilisations in the UK.

The meeting is open to everyone, for more information, please contact Leaflet can be downloaded here.

On Monday 21 November we’ll be running a documentary night connected to our food campaign with the Open Media society at the University of Manchester, details to follow soon.

Then on Friday 30 November Andy will be talking about food speculation and the WDM campaign on a panel at FeedingManchester 8, alongside speakers from Incredible Edible Todmorden, the Kindling Trust and Ashton Allotment Action.

Finally a big thank you to everyone who came to the Hunger for Justice event last month, it was a great success and excellent evening.

Posted in Climate Justice, Events, Food, Local, News | No Comments »

Banner drop at Shudehill

Written by manchestercentral on September 27, 2011 – 8:57 am -

WDM South Manchester, the existing group in Manchester, were out on Saturday doing a huge banner drop from Shudehill multi-story car park. The story was picked up by Manchester Mule.

Environmental activists staged a rooftop protest in the city centre on Saturday morning as part of a global  day of action against reliance on fossil fuels, hanging a huge banner from the top of Shudehill multi-storey car park. The banner – five metres high and 20 metres long – read ‘Climate Change Kills’; a message to Downing Street from the Manchester branch of the World Development Movement (WDM).

The car park was chosen for its position in front of Manchester’s CIS Tower, home since 2005 to the UK’s largest solar power project. WDM Manchester spokesperson Stephen Pennells described the action as a “celebration” of the unique installation, but also an urgent call for more like it. “We’re calling on everybody, but particularly governments, to move from fossil fuels”, he said. “We want to see David Cameron live up to his promise of running ‘the greenest government ever’.”

The WDM’s main focus as to global warming is as a problem most acutely affecting the least developed societies, Pennells explained. “We want climate justice now,” he said. “We shouldn’t be giving money for green developments through World Bank loans and making the poorest countries poorer. I can’t see that we’re going to help people by giving the poorest nations more debt.” He promised a “mass vigil” highlighting these issues when Manchester hosts the Conservative party conference next Saturday, urging Mancunians “to support this, and to carry on pressing the issue of climate change.”

Read the whole story here and WDM South Manchester’s blog post here.

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