After spending 24 hours in prep work & travel, I arrived in Paris greeted by NPA staff Jordan Estevao. We met up with PUSH Buffalo board chair Maxine Murphy & later in the day Taryn Jones from Michigan United. We are the NPA contingent, which is part of the broader coalition "It Takes Roots Delegation" (see Jordan Estevao's NPA report).
Even though we arrived tired, we met in meetings & conferences throughout the day & into the night without rest. As we listened to numerous presenters share the combined experiences & desires of us as activists, organizers & environmentalists with passion in both poetry & prose, I began to discern the overarching theme, which grew out of the first week of conferences & activities that will provide direction for our concluding second week & beyond. That theme is: System Change, Not Climate Change. That theme embraces our combined goals of achieving both environmental justice & economic justice (for the marginalized) as we move forward. And the challenge ahead for all of us, is to discover how to better work together to do so.
Much of this day was spent in meetings in which the emphasis was upon all of the frontline groups will oppose the UN agreements coming out of this year's meetings. It seems that none of agreements originally born of the Anti-Fossil Fuels Movement will work to reduce the earth temperature by 2 C, since the leading climate abuser nations are co-opting the UN process (since the largest nation climate abusers have UN veto power).
Still interesting alternative energy options were presented and discussed in several of the workshops. One of the most potent efforts offering promise for the future is the Canadian solar model. Canada was presented as the nation offering the greatest potential in creating a national solar energy infrastructure, although it is not yet funded. But it was emphasized that if this is successfully done in Canada, other nations will follow the Canadian example. If done this will create the national living wage manufacturing movement of the future. The jobs will not come from the manufacture of solar panels (which is mainly done in China). Instead the jobs will come from the development of the infrastructure plants that will produce & distribute the solar power at the commercial institutional level, which will take 20 years to build nationally. This will be followed by 20 years of jobs to maintain the infrastructure. & that will be followed by 20 years of building infrastructure to replace the original infrastructure that will need to be replaced by then. So much discussion was generated around helping to push the Canadian model forward to succeed.
There were also workshops at the other end of the spectrum (opposite the national efforts), such as the Cooperation Jackson workshop. That workshop focused on a cooperative effort in Jackson, MS, that addresses the challenges of climate change & the abuses of capitalism through building a local, cooperative-based, sustainable regenerative economy.
Efforts such as these that cross the spectrum of emerging opportunities may create the new democratic economies of the future.
From a social perspective, it is exciting to see & hear the diversity of struggling groups of thousands of people here
uniting around the world from Navajo Indians of the southwestern US & the Black Lives Matter Movement of the US, to the efforts of Peruvian farmers in the Amazonian rainforests to fight deforestation & control their crop production.