Reposted from Climate Action Hub by boatsie
Sometimes I visualize a world in which climate actions like tomorrow's Dhaka March
against the impacts of dirty energy on Bangladesh are live streamed in public squares, in piazzas, plazas and praças.
Imagine having the capacity to rev up enthusiasm akin to that which surrounds an event like the World Cup? When, for millions of people, regardless of country, culture or class, everyday life is “back burnered” for a few weeks. And it doesn't really matter if and when your favorite team is eliminated because it is the entire process, kit and kabboodle, which engages us. Is there any one whose heart did not ache a little last summer when the host country Brazil was so mercilessly trounced by Germany in the FIFA Semi-Finals?
What if climate change activism had the power to awaken and ignite such a universal response?
I won't be in Bangladesh tomorrow, when folks take to the streets to protest plans to construct a coal-fired power plant in Rampal, which borders the Sundarbans - a UNESCO world heritage site and locale for the world’s most pristine mangrove forest.
But I have met and spoke with the people of Bangladesh at these huge climate conferences. Their desperate determination is palpable. Their fear, so primal, you can almost smell it.
And so I dream of a day when millions of people will stand with them. Will cheer them on in their brave acts of defiance. In their desperate call to be acknowledged.
Bonn Climate Talks: 6/14/2011: Bangladesh maintains its no-nonsense, pace-setting status in climate change activism with it's announcement today of plans to amend its constitution to provide a provision which addresses climate change.
“The state shall take appropriate response measures, including mitigation and adaptation, against anthropogenic-accelerated global-warming-induced climate change and sea-level rise.”
The country is the first to adapt its constitution with an amendment providing the government with authority to insure legal action and penalties be imposed on institutions and/or people found responsible for climate change-related damages.
The amendment results from the findings of a 2010 five-member tribunal jury in Dhaka, where scientists, lawyers and parliamentarians met to hear local families who had lost families and livelihoods due to the impacts of climate change.
Tomorrow's protest is not the first to call attention to the need to protect the highly diverse Sundarban ecosystems. Not only does this region provide millions of Bangladeshis with food and water, but the mangroves indigenous to the Sundarban protect low lying villages from typhoons and increasingly powerful storm surges resulting from the rise in sea level. And, as science has informed us, there is an indisputable correlation between rising sea levels and increased coal use.
"Although mangroves make up less than one percent of all tropical forests worldwide, their contribution to mitigation of climate change is huge," writes Ranjan Panda. "Unfortunately, however, they are facing the fastest ever rate of destruction."
"More importantly, emissions from deforestation of the same mangroves that act as one of the best carbon sinks make up nearly one-fifth of all global emissions due to deforestation. In fact, mangroves continue to be lost at a rate 3-5 times faster than global deforestation rates. The report estimates economic damages on account of mangrove destruction at about US$ 6-42 billion annually."
Bangladesh: climate change rally 2008. Women wearing the masks of G8 leaders join climate change protest in Dhaka. Picture credit: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
In no uncertain terms, officials and scientists representing Bangladesh at the Cancun talks made it clear yesterday that their country, which unabashedly occupies Ground Zero in the climate wars, is fearless and righteously proud in its determination to save itself by ensuring it receives an equitable share of fast track financing to assist developing countries in adapting to climate change.
"Loans are not an option for my country," said Bangladesh Minister of State for the Environment Dr. Hasan Mahmud. "We did nothing to create this problem and we should not be charged in solving it."
Unless something is done now, chances are in less than 40 years you will look at the map and Bangladesh will no longer be there. What will remain of this country will not be recognizable. Bangladesh & COP16: "Real people don't live underwater" (December, 2010)
It amazes me that we continue, and rightfully so, to complain about the inability of the world's leaders to take action on climate after over 20 years of negotiations while we, hundreds of thousands of us around the globe, can show up for one day, for a few hours, to demand comprehensive and quick action on global warming and climate justice, yet return home and fold back into disconnect mode. Silent and "distracted by distraction from distraction" until another huge event is manufactured to spur us into action.
True, I could not participate in Yeb Sano’s 1000km climate change awareness march from Manila to Tacloban. Yet I will forever remember that morning in Warsaw, when I walked into the Plenary on the first day of the UNFCCC Climate Talks as he spoke and cried for the people of his country in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
Nor could I paddle out with the Pacific Islanders last Friday as their canoes convened to blockade huge ships in Australia's coal port. And yet, if I closed my eyes, I swear I could taste the tingle of salt water as it filmed my face; feel an ache in my arms as they bent back and forth, back and forth over those oars; sense the adrenaline careening through my chest as that first huge coal freighter reared its commanding head, tight and tenacious at the waterline.
There are no huge screens, no live streaming, little media coverage to enable us to feel a core connection with tomorrow's Dhaka protest. The only way we have to support this effort, therefore, is to amplify the message.
There is little time left. There is so much to be accomplished. We have so few resources. We must bear witness. Grow momentum. Awaken our neighbors. People our public spaces. Shout from virtual housetops.
Join me. Take Action.
Follow and ReTweet
#NoCoal #Sundarbans #ClimateAction
@UNESCO Bangladeshis protest plan for coal plant in world heritage mangrove forest #Sundarbans http://bit.ly/...
Global movement for a clean future grows as colourful #NoCoal protests kick off in Bangladesh http://bit.ly/...
Brave communities are rising to save iconic UNESCO sites from #coal http://bit.ly/... #Sundarbans #BarrierReef
Vital mangrove forest or dirty coal plant?
The people of Bangladesh have made up their mind. Now, they are taking to the streets of Dhaka in colourful and creative protest to say NO to plans for a massive coal plant in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.
Support the protesters in Dhaka and these other brave communities that are fighting for a cleaner, fairer future by sharing their story. http://bit.ly/...
The cultural community in Bangladesh joins the Pacific warriors, the Filipino marchers, and numerous other communities around the world who are taking spectacular action to prevent fossil fuel expansion - expansion that is set to destroy the most iconic and pristine habitats on our planet.