Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(Photo: Kris Krüg)

'People, Planet, Peace over Profit': World Converges for System Change

Before People's Climate March, activists gather to discuss concrete solutions

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

In advance of Sunday's People's Climate March, global climate activists, social justice organizers, and environmental leaders gathered in New York City on Saturday for the NYC Climate Convergence, a "conference, skill share, and festival rolled into one."

Featuring labor leader and clean water activist Oscar Olivera; anti-GMO activist and author Vandana Shiva; undergound hip hop artist and humanitarian Immortal Technique; Climate Justice Initiative Director for the NAACP Jacqui Patterson; and Green Shadow Cabinet president and former presidential candidate Jill Stein, along with many others, the event is aimed at expanding people's perception of climate movement and advocating concrete solutions that challenge an exploitative economic system rather than accommodate it.

Scheduled workshops and panel discussions address everything from the politics of boycotts to indigenous rights to the connection between war and climate change. The closing session on Saturday evening will feature author Naomi Klein, whose new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate is the galvanizing tome of the weekend. She’ll be joined by South African community organizer Desmond D’Sa, Olga Bautista from the Southeast Side Coalition against Petcoke, and the NAACP's Patterson.

The Organic Consumers Association, with whom Shiva will be marching on Sunday, was one of the long list of organizations hosting multiple workshops during the conference.

“OCA is participating in the organization of this year’s Climate order to draw attention to the climate crisis caused by our modern industrial agriculture model, and the role organic agriculture can play in solving this crisis,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica.

Sponsored by the "ecosocialist coalition" System Change Not Climate Change and the Global Climate Convergence campaign, the Convergence is calling for:

  • Millions of jobs in renewable energy, conservation, and public transit
  • A just transition from fossil fuels and nuclear power
  • Climate-friendly food and farming; new water and sanitation systems
  • An emergency transition to a new kind of economy
  • Tax the rich and slash the bloated military budget

Organizers said grassroots mobilization was necessary in the face of bureaucratic inaction.

“After 19 years it’s clear that the UN climate change negotiating process is broken,” said Pace University physics professor Chris Williams, co-founder of System Change Not Climate Change. “A profound shift in emphasis and action toward confrontation with the priorities of corporations, neoliberalism and the political bankruptcy of world leaders is required.”

In a public letter to "fellow climate justice campaigners," Stein added:

We cannot solve the climate emergency while the predatory neoliberal assault rages on in all other sectors of society. So the Convergence is working to expand the “climate” movement into a unifying movement for People, Planet and Peace over Profit, calling for system solutions as big as the crisis barreling down on us, AKA a Green New Deal: 10s of millions of jobs to create 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, new water, health and public transit systems, and climate friendly organic food production—paid for by taxing the top 1%, and slashing the bloated military budget.

We are Converging not only to march, but to advance the concrete agenda, strategy and infrastructure for this movement of movements that is emerging before our very eyes, and none to soon.

Watch the NYC Climate Convergence live stream here:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

'The Filibuster Must Go': Senate GOP Blocks Debate on Voting Rights Bill

"Democrats in the Senate can have a functional democracy or the filibuster, but not both."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Key Senate Democrat Applauded for Manifesto on Reducing Drug Costs

"Sen. Wyden's drug pricing principles are a road map for taking on the greed of pharmaceutical corporations and lowering drug prices for all Americans."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Coalition of 200+ Groups Call for Permanent End to 'Neocolonialist' Global Gag Rule

"The global community deserves true partnership from the U.S., but the threat that this destructive policy could reemerge undermines relationships and harms people around the globe."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

Social Cost of Emissions: 'One of the Most Important Numbers That No One Has Ever Heard Of'

An analysis for Friends of the Earth finds the social cost of CO2 calculates to at least 15 times the Biden administration's current figure, which is set to be finalized by early next year.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·