As the World Social Forum closes, climate has the last word

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.

YouTube video of closing report from the Palestian issue group (English with Portuguese translation)

Rising Acidity Is Threatening Food Web of Oceans, Science Panel Says – NYTimes.com

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.”

via Rising Acidity Is Threatening Food Web of Oceans, Science Panel Says – NYTimes.com.

World Social Forum: Mostly critical press attention, AFP hits easy target of disorganization

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.”

via AFP: Solutions to crisis elude ‘disorganized’ World Social Forum.

World Social Forum 2009: bicycle taxi view on the ground


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.

World Social Forum, More Panels and Discussions on Climate Justice, Carbon Extraction, and Carbon Markets

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.”

World Social Forum Morning Image


The morning walk of the participants to the days events spread out across the University jungle-like landscape along the banks of the Amazon River in Belem, Brazil.
Even more tents were to be seen crowded along the sides of the road to help accommodate the many participants which have filled local hotels to capacity.

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