Chris Carlsson, of Nowtopia.com, and one of the founders of Critical Mass, interviewed by envirobeat.com at the World Social Forum 2009, in Brazil, discusses several interrelated topics, including among other things his latest book Nowtopia, the inner networking and structures of the forum itself, and emerging solutions to the ongoing social, economic and environmental crisis.
On February 5, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host a discussion on overcoming obstacles to U.S.-China cooperation on climate change, focusing on ways in which cooperation can gain sustained political support in both countries.
Belem, Brazil. Feb 1 2009
Of the myriad issues addressed at the World Social Forum this year, climate had both the first and last word, beginning with the Amazonian downpour which drenched the opening parade several days ago, and ending with today’s heavy rainstorm just prior to the final meeting, the ‘assembly of assemblies’, where the remaining participants gathered in a wet and muddy grass field to listen to the spokespersons from the many issue groups announce their conclusions from several days of discussions.
The climate crisis house of horrors continues:
“The oceans have long buffered the effects of climate change by absorbing a substantial portion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But this benefit has a catch: as the gas dissolves, it makes seawater more acidic. Now an international panel of marine scientists says this acidity is accelerating so fast it threatens the survival of coral reefs, shellfish and the marine food web generally.”
Simply in order to mention the World Social Forum, many news outlets insist that the tag line has to open with a critical comment. Sure the organization is weak, but the simple fact of the magnitude of the event itself, or the fact that several Latin American presidents found it important enough to show up (including Lula, Hugo Chavez, and Evo Morales) deserves far more press coverage than is being seen, especially considering the extent of the recent failures of the neo-liberal paradigm. Instead we see this sort of focus:
“BELEM, Brazil (AFP) — The World Social Forum was wrapping up in Brazil on Sunday amid criticism that lack of organization prevented participants from reaching common solutions to the global economic crisis and other issues.”
More evidence of anticipation of the ‘green new deal’:
“…Labor experts predict renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could create as many as 37 million jobs — and students at technical colleges like this one are counting on it.”
World Social Forum 2009, Belem, Brazil.
The events at the UFRA University can be very far apart and as one ran late today there wasn’t time for one envirobeat.com blogger to make the 45 minute walk between locations. Local bicyclist/taxis can be hired to speed you to your destination, well, except for the fact that thousands of social activists are filling the only road. This video features that ride though the crowd and past one of the tent cities to give a feel for the scene on the ground, an especially useful view for those who didn’t want to fly out to Brazil and leave that big floating carbon footprint for future generations.
“The economic stimulus plan approved by the House allocates over $100 billion for green projects. While there is sure to be political back and forth in the coming days, one thing is certain, no matter what the ultimate outcome: We’re going to be hearing a lot more about “green collar” jobs.”
Online article on the WSF 2009:
‘The “alter-globalization” movement gathers in Brazil at a moment of crisis in the system it has long opposed.’
Jan 30, 2009. Belem, Brazil, Forum Social Mundial
Tom Goldtooth, Navaho/Dakota: “Climate change is a very serious issue, especially when we look at how certain communities across the world are disproportionally effected…the most impacted are the poor people, the disenfranchised.”
Jutta of FERN: “Some of the dirtiest polluters in the Global South have found a way to use these carbon markets”
“This carbon market has already created a whole new industry… and you have brokers … who have speculative capital to invest.”
Michael Karikpo, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria:
“The best way to address the climate change issue … is to stop the extraction of carbon from the ground.”
“We see this [oil extraction in Nigeria] as a continuation of colonization, a continuation of inequalities that exist around the world.”
“You need to come to Niger Delta. You need to see the level of destruction.”
“We built solidarity…It was solidarity the set off the Niger Delta struggle that you hear about today.”
Ben Powless, Indigenous Environmental Network
“I think the solution revolves around several simple concepts that we can all agree on: respect, democracy, justice.”