*** Deadline for Endorsements: November 7 ***
Read the call in Spanish. - Read the call in German.
As governments meet at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow - Scotland, we echo the people and movements across the globe that demand real and urgent solutions, based on the understanding that the climate crisis cannot be tackled without climate, social and economic justice.
The climate crisis is a result of centuries of colonial conquest and the capitalist exploitation of people and the planet that has allowed developed nations and transnational corporations to accumulate wealth, influence, and a disastrous level of greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead of righting these wrongs, they are seeking to evade responsibility by promoting “false solutions” that perpetuate a world of inequalities, oppression, destruction and, ultimately, death. As movements that have come together in the initiative for a World without Walls, we denounce these false solutions.
Globally, government responses to the climate crisis have not been based on climate justice. They have deepened existing global divisions and justified even more walls to protect the very system that has brought us to the brink of ecological collapse.
Since Israel started building its Apartheid Wall in 2002, regimes across the world - from the US, to Europe, to Africa and to Asia - have increasingly built their own physical walls. Many of these walls have been built as an attack on migrants: to stop people’s movement and bar refugees from their basic rights. As more and more people are forced to flee the destruction caused by the climate crisis, walls are springing up as false solutions for the devastating consequences of environmental collapse - consequences disproportionately felt by the poorest and most marginalised communities across the world..
Seven countries in particular, – responsible for almost half of the world’s historic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, – collectively spend at least twice as much on border and immigration enforcement as on support to developing countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation. These ‘climate walls’ are central to the militarisation of territories and borders to protect privilege and power against the victims of our devastating world order. Militarism is not only essential to the defense of the system that destroys our planet and life on it. Though hard to calculate true scale of military emissions, it’s clear they are high: up to 15% of total CO2 pollution of global aviation stems from military activities. Yet, military GHG emissions are still largely exempt from already deficient reduction targets. Yet, military GHG emissions are still largely exempt from already deficient reduction targets.
Armed forces and the military and security industry, rather than taking their responsibility to avert the destruction of the earth and humanity, try to capitalize on climate change and forced displacement. Framing both as predominantly security problems, they successfully lobby for more military and security spending and militarisation of borders, of which the boom of new walls and fences is some of the most visible representation.
Indigenous people across the global south continue to face the brunt of colonial and imperial expansion that steals their resources, destroys their environment and denies their right to self-determination. State supported global corporations continue to plunder their land for fossil fuels, or transform their natural ecosystems into profitable plots where transnationals and their local allies can build their mines, or agribusinesses can plant monoculture on deforested land. The effects of this endless commodification of land and life are felt by us all, including marginalised urban communities across the world.
Increasingly, these devastating activities are purportedly in the service of climate action, as fossil fuel companies and repressive regimes seek to greenwash their profits. The much touted transition to renewables in the global North is rooted in the unsustainable mining of ‘transition minerals’ used in technologies like solar panels and electric cars. It is rooted in exploitation and endless extraction, and is destroying communities and the environment across the world. In Western Sahara, Morocco is building wind farms on stolen land, perpetuating colonial occupation under the banner of ‘green energy’. Not to mention the so called “Megaprojects” in Mexico that are threatening both Zapatistas communities and the life of Indigenous people in general, or the racist and colonial campaigns in Wallmapu both in Argentina and Chile against the Mapuche-Tehuelche people to frame them as an internal enemy to justify their practices of dispossession, exploitation and death.
The very planting of trees has become an epitome of ‘false solution’.
We cannot offset devastating carbon footprints rooted in unsustainable growth paradigms and land grab by planting trees or more sophisticated carbon trading. The monoculture Eucaliptus trees on deforestated lands in the Amazonas or the Jewish National Fund’s replacement of native trees with non-native pine trees on destroyed Palestinian villages are part of the problem, not a solution.
There can be nothing green or sustainable in the violation of rights of the peoples, anywhere across the globe.
We reclaim not only our rights and our lands, we reclaim the profoundly symbolic act of planting trees, rooted in many stories of struggles and cultures. We, the people, have always planted trees that can make us and the earth heal and prevail.
Inspired by the practices in Palestine to plant trees to safeguard the land and culture, in the slums of Nairobi where trees are planted as memorials of those killed by police brutality and ancient memorial rituals in Latin America and elsewhere,
We encourage all of you to join us in a simple act of planting a memorial tree to one of those people that have been killed and have sacrificed their lives to heal the planet and the people.
The trees we are planting don’t cover up crimes but uncover our determination, solidarity and capacity to grow justice. They will remind us of the wisdom of the People of Lenca in Mesoamerica that those that have been killed, don’t die but are seeds of justice. Our trees will make us breathe hope and freedom, justice and equality.
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