Our Collective Drumbeat

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People's Climate

Our Collective Drumbeat

Climate activists pound a drum during the Forward on Climate March that took place in Washington, DC last year. Organizers for the upcoming People's Climate March and Mobilization say that the drumbeat of their movement, both in the U.S. and across the world, is only getting louder. (Photo: NPR)

I am not much of a writer, but I can’t help but write about what I’m witnessing right now. Both as 350 and as a larger climate movement, I believe we are hitting a new stride – and it is completely thrilling to both be a part of and imagine where this could take us. Let me explain.

We’re just days away from the People’s Climate March and Mobilisation (PCM). Tens or hundreds of thousands of people will turn out on the streets of New York City in likely the largest and most diverse climate demonstration ever. Around the world mobilisations are planned in over 1,500 locations in 138 countries and counting. If you are not involved already, don’t miss out: www.peoplesclimate.org/join-an-event (or start your own here: www.peoplesclimate.org/register).

This is going to be huge, powerful, and beautiful. And it is not just the scale that makes this moment so special. Perhaps even more interesting is all that is emerging in the process of organising and coordinating this moment.

Beginning with what I’m closest to here is a taste of what’s going on within 350 amidst the PCM build-up:

In India and Indonesia our teams are connecting more deeply than ever with local groups to step up action in the push to shift away from coal to community based renewable energy – a struggle that will continue as long as it takes to get the job done. In Europe and Australia where friends at Avaaz and GetUp! are planning some of the largest PCM events our team is working with them to mobilise Fossil Free Divestment groups to join in as we continue to scale up the divestment movement across those continents as well as in the US and Canada. (Oh, and just to top it off, we’re calling on the Vatican to divest too!) In Africa our team has just launched the #WeLeadYou campaign to stand up for climate justice in the places where climate change is hitting hardest. In Brazil, we are taking on the Ruralistas in the upcoming Brazilian elections. Elsewhere in Latin America our team is collaborating with communities in Argentina to step up the fight against fracking, and we are teamed up with the groups preparing for a People’s Climate Summit at the next UNFCCC summit in Lima, Peru this December. And in Oceania, Pacific Warriors are working with local groups in Newcastle, Australia to blockage the largest coal port in the world on 17 October. In all of these places, Global Power Shift groups are among main drivers making all these efforts a reality.

All this creative action and campaigning is reflective of progress being made by a much wider movement as well.

The Pacific Warriors action in Australia will also be a part of anti-coal actions planned during a whole week of action planned in October called Reclaim Power, which also features the Global Frackdown Day. Greenpeace recently organised #SaveTheArctic events around the globe, and they are keeping the campaign going with the Global #IceRide on 4 October. The International Trade Union Confederation’s World Day for Decent Work on 7 October is geared towards Climate Justice. The communities hit by Typhoon Haiyan are preparing for action on the 1 year anniversary of that horrific storm. And there is undoubtedly far more climate organising locally, nationally, and regionally around the world than we could possibly capture in one blog post.

All of these efforts and more are combining into an ever-growing movement force. And as local groups, organisations, and networks we’re finding more and more ways to synergise, unite, and reach new audiences. As has been the slogan for the People’s Climate March in New York: to change everything, we need everyone. And I will simply add, we need to work together.

Whether it be through formal alliances or ad hoc collaboration we need to mobilise together – more strategically and more powerfully. Not everyone can be a part of every mobilisation there is, but no one single mobilisation will be all it takes either. It’s our collective, growing drumbeat that will ultimately create the cultural, political, and economic conditions where the transformation we seek can be realised.

PCM is the mobilisation at hand now, but it definitely does not stop there. And through PCM we are learning how to connect and unite in just the ways we need. I for one, can’t wait to see how we take all this learning and energy collectively into 2015 and beyond. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. For right now the focus is on 20-21 September: #PeoplesClimate!

Will Bates

Will Bates is the Global Campaigns Director at 350.org

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