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Dear Supporter,

Global Exchange’s Community Rights program director Shannon Biggs returns from the UN Climate conference in South Africa.

She, along with leading climate justice advocates including former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, Indigenous leader Tom Goldtooth, South Durban community activist Desmond D’sa and international colleagues from the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature held a series of activities in Durban to advance the Rights of Nature as an alternative framework to the corporate-led agenda of the COP17 and the global economic system now being called environmental (or climate) apartheid.

During the conference, through a series of events and demonstrations, our allied group rallied for an alternative to business as usual. As Pablo Solon stated at a press conference hosted by Global Exchange:

image“We can throw our garbage to the air and nothing happens. But we’re all part of one system, and the atmosphere is part of that system. We have to respect the natural laws of this system. Because we have broken the vital cycle of carbon, its not only a matter of how big immediate reductions, but how we change our relationship with nature.”

Why should anyone pay attention to what happened at the UN climate talks? The failure of international leaders to come to agreement in Durban South Africa sounds like business as usual, and it is—but make no mistake: officially choosing inaction now is a guaranteed death sentence for millions of people and ecosystems. If the lesson of Durban is that climate change is symptom, and not the problem, this may be our game-changing call to action. Read our post-Durban analysis.

Get a better idea of what happened at the COP17 conference in Durban and how the call for nature’s rights was put forward:

Toxic Tour of South Durban oil refineries & Rights of Nature action at the Engen Refinery
It is time to stop relying on international leaders to solve the climate crisis, and to stand up for our right to define the kind of place in which we want to live and to say that "No corporation has the right to engage in activities that impact our health safety and welfare, or to destroy the ecosystem!"

On Tuesday December 6, 2011, with the world's attention on the UN Climate Conference (COP17), Global Exchange stood with residents of polluted South Durban to demand rights for the people and the ecosystem on which we depend. You can watch the video here.

Remembering Richard Grossman (1943-2011)
It is with great sadness we report the passing of Richard Grossman, who died last month of cancer. His wife, their daughter and his granddaughter survive him.

Richard was a pioneering thinker who’s ideas and persistence provided a direct and profound inspiration for thousands of activists and people of conscience—including many at Global Exchange who knew and worked with him through the years.

Richard has helped lead tens of thousands more people to a clearer historical, cultural and legal analysis of the structural causes of – and potential remedies to – persistent social and economic disparity in power and wealth between We The People and the political and economic institutions the People are meant to govern. He will be missed.

For more tributes and information about Richard’s life and work, please visit POCLAD and CELDF.


Kylie Nealis
Program Associate, Community Rights

Global Exchange
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