As Stéphane Hessel said, one of the greatest challenges of our time was “climate change and environmental degradation due to the actions of man throughout the last three centuries. The disruption of the climate is worsening faster than ever, and threatening the poorest populations of the planet and conditions for civilized life on Earth.”
All the warning signs are here. Climate disruptions are multiplying, affecting the poorest populations of the global South, but also in the global North: droughts, desertification, season changes, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires, melting glaciers… Will we stand by and do nothing? Will we continue to watch the world burn?
The stakes are clear: we must radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the dangerous threshold that leads to the point of no return for global warming and climate chaos.
A massive, brutal, disruption, in such a short time-span for our climate is a challenge like humanity has never faced.
But Alternatiba, this wonderful day, must give us hope: solutions exist, and are already put into practice by thousands of organizations, of local communities, and individuals. Even better: these alternatives are building a more pleasant, closer, friendlier, and fairer society.
Small-scale agriculture, re-shoring the economy, sustainable land planning, alternatives to the car-culture, energy sobriety, eco-housing, ethical finance, social and environmental conversion of manufacturing, ethical consumption, a new share of wealth and work, community support, waste reduction and recycling, preservation of common goods such as water, soil, forests, are leading the way. The fight against climate change is not a constraint: it’s a great opportunity to build a more human future.
Unfortunately, governments are not choosing this path. International climate negotiations are stalling, and are taking the wrong direction. Big corporations and economic lobbies are doing everything they can to avoid these alternatives, because they threaten their profit and power.
Worse, they are forcing onto us their false, ineffective and dangerous solutions, such as nuclear power, biofuels, GMOs, compensation mechanisms, the financialization of nature, geo-engineering, etc. These maintain a model where the global North and the richest populations of the planet continue to loot the Earth and nature, concentrate wealth and destroy the environment, particularly in the South.
A popular mobilization of the citizens and taking control of our future is necessary to counter-balance their destructive efforts. Our commitment to Stéphane Hessel’s message is crucial to face the climate challenge.
Climate stabilization will stem from unity, from our collective intelligence, from solidarity, from our thirst for social justice, from our capacity to get change moving here and now, and to initiate the transition without further delay.
The COP21, the 21st UN conference on climate change, will take place the end of 2015. Six years after the very publicized Copenhagen conference, the COP21 should get just as much attention as global leaders have committed to a new agreement to fight climate change beyond 2020. As the scientific community points out, the 2020 horizon is when our emissions must begin to decrease drastically if we are to avoid a catastrophe.
To avoid broken promises like in Copenhagen, it is up to us, the citizens, the people, to mobilize and act to put forth real solutions. Even more so as the COP21 will take place in… Paris, on the Bourget airport!
The popular mobilization on the issue of climate urgency and social justice are becoming quite a challenge in France and Europe.
The success and the unifying qualities of Alternatiba, the village of alternatives, are made possible by the commitment of everyone of us here in Bayonne. It shows us what a European mobilization could look like.
We are calling for all the cities, all the regions in Europe to prepare their own villages of alternatives to climate change and to the social and environmental crisis.
Alternatiba will be about calling out our leaders on the dramatic consequences of the absence of a global, ambitious, efficient, binding, and fair climate treaty. It will also be about calling populations to start the social, energy and environmental transition without delay, to avoid the point of no return before complete disruption of the climate.
The goal is also to bring together all of those who, by building alternatives or fighting the struggle, are contributing to saving the climate, sometimes without even realizing it. We can replicate what Alternatiba has done in Bayonne everywhere.
To see tens, hundreds, thousands of Alternatibas blossom, we must spread this call around us. Let us gather as many agents of change as possible to start preparing villages of alternatives, to grow everywhere in France and Europe, up to the COP21 in Paris.
United and determined, we can win this battle, in the North and South, for us, and for generations to come, so that we can say, “we committed to the fight just in time!”