Friday, 19 March 2010

Climate Camp hui discusses next step

North Island Climate Camp activists met in Hamilton on February 27 & 28. UNITYblog asked Gary Cranston, a member of the Auckland Climate Camp local group and editor of Without Your Walls blog, about the meeting and the way forward for the climate justice movement in Aotearoa.

How many people were at the meeting? Were they mostly people that had been at the Wellington Climate Camp?

Approximately 15 people attended the 2010 North Island Climate Camp gathering in Hamilton. Folks travelled from Wellington, Auckland, Whangarei and Hamilton and input was gathered from many other places before-hand.

Around half of those attending had been involved in organising the first Camp for Climate Action Aotearoa (CCAA), the other half were new faces who had either attended the camp and wanted to get involved, or couldn’t make it to the camp, but still wanted to get involved in Climate Justice / Climate Camp activism.  

How did people feel the Climate Camp went? How do you feel it went?

Around 50 people completed the feedback form that was sent around after Climate Camp. We spent a few hours reflecting on the camp itself and reviewed feedback sent through.

Feedback was almost all positive, with a strong sense of people having had quite powerful and positive experiences of organising horizontally, something that was quite new to many folks coming to Climate Camp for the first time, and to many folks who had never had the chance of being involved in climate campaigns / activism in such a democratic and hands on manner.

Most suggestions for change focussed on how packed the workshop schedule was and some disappointment by some regarding their inability to attend workshops that were happening parallel to one another.

Two people actually said “it was the best week of my life!”. :)  

Do people want to have another one this year?

Absolutely. Climate Camp is to be a catalyst for the emergence of a Climate Justice movement here in Aotearoa and there is strong understanding throughout those who were involved in CCAA 2009 that the post-Copenhagen climate movement requires a time and place to get its sh*t together and take action from below.

We expect to see Climate Justice come to the forefront of the Climate debate in the vacuum opened up by the predictable failure of the ‘big greens’ and the worlds so-called ‘leaders’ to tackle climate change, and most see the politics of Climate Camp becoming more relevant than ever in 2010 and the need for this movement to get together, gather strength, strategise and take action beyond 2010.

Yes, another climate camp is necessary, but only within the context of an emerging climate juctice movement, which leads us on to the next question...  

Are there Climate Camp / climate justice groups up and running anywhere?

There are currently seven towns / cities in Aotearoa that have climate camp local groups working within them, and there is talk of a mobilisation / speaking tour this year. Whether that be aimed at creating more climate camp local groups, or generally focused on helping climate justice groups and projects emerge in general is unclear at the moment but it is being looked into.

If anybody out there is keen on setting up a new Climate Camp local group, or joining an existing one, just go to the website and see how to get involved here...

Hamilton was chosen as the venue for the North Island Climate Camp meeting because there has been interest from people living in Hamilton in setting setting up a Waikato region Climate Camp local group.

With increasing international awareness of the injustices and climatic inpacts of industrial agriculture and with the opening up of new deadly loopholes in the Kyoto / UN climate process regarding agriculture and climate change [the REDD mechanism and soil carbon credits] attention is now being focussed on New Zealand’s role in greenwashing its corporate dairy machine. New Zealand will host the world dairy summit in Auckland in November 2010 and it is expected that agricultural false solutions and general greenwash is being lined up well in advance.

No better place to set up a new climate camp group than the Waikato. But yes, we do expect to see more and more Climate Camps emerging this year, along with more climate juctice focused initiatives, and hope that local Climate Camp groups will be getting invloved in the setting up of and supporting of such groups across the country.

What are the local Climate Camp groups doing? What are they planning to do?

Much time was spent over the weekend on brainstorming ways that Climate Camp groups can take action at the root causes of climate change at a local level. It was recognised that the areas for action will vary from one area to another, and that this reflects the need for a multitude of responses to the climate crisis in contrast with the failed approach of international summits persuing the mirage of the silver bullet / green capitalist climate fix. So, although a plethora of areas for action were identified, it will be up to local groups to identify and take action at a local level themselves.  

What would you like to see them doing?

Who knows – I dont think it’s up to me to say what I’d like to see them doing, it’s up to each group to respond to the failure of Copenhagen and to find new ways forward that are relevant to their communities and their struggle for climate justice at a local level.

But in a broader sense, I’d like to see people taking bold steps, with conviction. Copenhagen failed because of greed, and now its up to us to sort this out. There are no short cuts around the political organising that is required to build power from below.

This is now clearer than ever and that’s what we need to do, build power from below and organise within our communities to build a powerful movement that will resist green capitalism while opening up new ways of living that put people and the planet before profit... what that looks like in your town, that’s up to you to figure out.

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