On 21 November 2013 various non-governmental organizations walked out of the Warsaw climate talks. I am glad I have not attended for the last two years as I feel corporate interests have taken over the UN Climate Conference.
I hope the photo exhibit was up long enough for the the High Level Ministers to view and see the reality of neoliberalism and climate chaos. They may have glanced, but unfortunately those with power did not really see or care. – Orin Langelle
The following photos were on display at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland at the IBON International booth. The name of the exhibit was titled Neoiberal Globalization and Climate Chaos. This exhibit took place during the High Level Sessions of the UNFCCC meetings 18 – 23 November 2013. The conference was held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
The exhibit included thirty photographs documenting Indigenous Peoples, organizations and social movements working for climate justice. The photographs were taken at events on six continents–from Bali, Indonesia to Espirito Santo, Brazil – Durban, South Africa and Chiapas, Mexico, to name a few.
Special thanks to IBON International and the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change for all of the work in putting this installation together. IBON International is based in Quezon City in the Philippines, with offices in Latin America, Africa and Europe. IBON initiates and implements international programs, develops and hosts international networks, initiates and participates in international advocacy campaigns, and establishes regional and country offices.
Three days before the beginning of the UN Climate Conference, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest cyclone ever recorded to make landfall.
IBON’s and the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change’s Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron, who attended the Climate Convention said, “Langelle’s photos really tell the story about people’s resistance and struggle, as well as the increasing fascist response of the states!”
Above: An Indigenous man with his mouth covered by a UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) gag during a protest at the UN climate talks in Bali, Indonesia. The gag symbolized their systematic and forceful exclusion from a UN meeting with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary they were invited to the day before. It also symbolized and their exclusion from the official negotiations even though it is their lands that were being targeted for climate mitigation schemes.
“This process has become nothing but developed countries avoiding their responsibilities to cut emissions and pushing the responsibility onto developing countries … People are being relocated and even killed; my own people will soon be under water. The money from these projects is blood money,” – Fiu Mata’ese Elisara-Laula, O Le Siosiomaga Society, Samoa. (2007)
A participant in a Climate Justice march during the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan (U.S.) in 2010.
An Indigenous man watches decision-makers from the balcony at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany. (May 2008)
Indigenous Mayangna traveling by panga (dugout canoe) on the Rio Pis Pis in the Bosawas Reserve in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region in 1998. The Bosawas rainforest was the largest rainforest north of the Amazon Basin. Illegal logging threatens the rainforest’s biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples.
On 3 December 2011 thousands of people from around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa to protest the UN Climate Conference. The 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 11 December 2011. Nicknamed by activists as “The Durban Disaster,” at one point it appeared that the talks might actually collapse, but a small cabal of countries held exclusive closed-door talks over the final days to create the Durban Platform. This platform was described by carbon analyst Matteo Mazzoni as “an agreement between parties to arrange another agreement.”
During the first week of the 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, information was leaked about secret meetings held by the Danish government with some of the world’s largest polluters. The meetings produced a document dubbed “The Copenhagen Accord,” that allowed for global increases in temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. This led to outrage by excluded African delegates who responded with a spontaneous protest on December 8.
The delegates chanted, “Two degrees is suicide” to point out that a two-degree global temperature rise would have devastating impacts on Africa, leading to millions of deaths.
Because the Copenhagen Climate Conference was where the agreement was to be finalized that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol after it expired in 2012, it was a focal point for protests by social movements, Indigenous Peoples and activists from around the world. A new alliance called Climate Justice Action was formed the previous year to organize opposition protests. These included a “Reclaim Power” march out of the conference, led by Indigenous Peoples and a march toward the conference center by protesters not accredited to enter the UN grounds. The two groups were to meet at the security fence for a “Peoples’ Assembly” to discuss collaborative efforts to find real, peoples’ solutions to the climate crisis. The marches on both sides of the fence were violently stopped by the Danish police and the Peoples’ Assembly did not take place. Some Danish organizers were charged under anti-terrorism laws.
Ayoreo Mother and child in Campo Lorro (Parrot Field) in the Gran Chaco of Paraguay. Camp Lorro was one of the first Ayoreo relocation settlements. Many Ayoreo intentionally avoid contact with the “outside world” in an attempt to protect their land and traditional way of life. (2009)
Man walks with his bicycle hear his home, with eucalyptus plantation in the background. Industrial plantations of eucalyptus trees overrun the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil. In 2005, Indigenous Tupinikum and Guarani peoples began the process of reclaiming the 11,000 hectares of land that was stolen from them under Brazil’s military dictatorship and given to timber corporation Aracruz Cellulose for tree plantations. The Tupinikum and Guarani cut down a portion of these eucalyptus plantations and re-established their village. (2005)
During the 2006 UN climate talks in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, a woman holds a banner during a protest by non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples’ organizations and social movements outside of a press conference where World Bank President and former U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, was announcing the launch of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.
Close to 100 people stood outside of the press conference facility chanting slogans and staging a die-in, with different people representing island nations, indigenous and women‚s groups, ecosystems and species that are threatened with annihilation from climate change. They charged that the focus of the World Bank on profit-oriented “false solutions,” like carbon trading and carbon offset projects including industrial tree plantations, is actually contributing to an acceleration of climate change.
A harbinger of the impacts of extreme weather caused by the climate crisis. This tree was uprooted and stuck upside down in the debris when the crater lake in the Las Casitas volcano collapsed during Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua and caused a major mudslide. The land affected by the mudslide resembled a desert.
The crater of Las Casitas volcano collapsed at 11 am on Friday, October 30, 1998, causing a mudslide that swept down the side of the volcano obliterating all in its path. Over 2500 people in small villages were killed at the onset and hundreds died afterwards. Nicaragua National Assembly Congressman and member of the Environmental Commission Jose Cuadra blamed Congressman Eduardo Callejas for deforesting the sides of the volcano in the 60′s and 70′s, destabilizing the slopes and contributing to the mudslide. Other sources say that Callejas also cut part of the forest 1997 for coffee production. Additionally he allowed telecommunication towers to be built on top of the volcano and a road built up its side, furthering the destabilization. Whistle blower Jose Cuadra was assassinated on August 18, 1999.
A protester raises his fist during the International Day of Action, 8 December 2007, march against climate change. On an extremely hot and humid day the march drew thousands to the streets in Denpasar, close to the UN climate talks in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), took place at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua from 3 – 14 December. Some praised the outcomes of the process, which resulted in consensus on a “Bali Roadmap,” an agreement to continue climate change negotiations with a deadline of 2009 for a new plan to succeed the first round of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol that would expire in 2012. Others condemned the conclusion as acquiescing to the United States with a process moving much too slowly to match the urgency of the situation.
“Plantations of Eucalyptus are not Forests” proclaims the sign at the entrance of the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – Landless Workers Movement) encampment. The MST here took over portion of a plantation owned by timber company Aracruz Cellulose, removed the non-native trees and erected their camp, complete with a well, community space and an elaborate system on non-hierarchical decision making. The camp was named Galdino dos Santos, for an indigenous chief who was murdered two years earlier in a racist attack. (Brazil 2005)
At the refugee camp in Posoltega, Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch. This child and her mother were swept away in the torrent of a mudslide caused when the crater lake of the Las Casitas volcano collapsed during Hurricane Mitch. The mother held on to her baby in the mudslide for two kilometers and saved his life. Some survivors were stuck in the mud for up to six days and had to have their limbs amputated. More than 2,500 people were buried alive by the mud. There were over 2,800 refugees. (1999)
Cecilia Rodriguez, US representative of the EZLN, speaks at a rally protesting the World Bank’s 50th anniversary in Washington, DC and Mexican President Zedillo’s visit to the US. In her speech she demanded suspension of US military and technical assistance to Mexico for any purpose until human rights violations cease.
While in southeastern Mexico two weeks later, Cecilia Rodriguez was brutally raped by Mexican paramilitary. (Washington, DC 1995)
Thousands of protesters, the majority farmers, were joined by Indigenous peoples, labor and students to protest in the streets of Cancun, Mexico in September 2003 against the WTO. Protests also occurred inside the WTO conference after a South Korean farmer, Lee Kyoung Hae, 56 years old and father of two, committed suicide while he was on top of one of the wire barricades outside of the convention center. The entire meetings were overshadowed by the slogan, “The WTO Kills Farmers,” and the talks collapsed. The collapse of the Cancun talks were viewed as a victory for developing countries including Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and other nations.
Blockade during the April 16, 2000 (A16) protests of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. The World Bank and IMF, two of the most powerful financial institutions in the world, created in 1944, are blamed by people in the Global South and elsewhere for destructive programs that have impoverished millions and caused massive environmental destruction.
Santiago el Pinar, Chiapas, Mexico. The government of Chiapas has begun developing “Sustainable Rural Cities” (established by the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) like Santiago el Pinar– as places where scattered rural populations can be relocated. The government claims this enables these populations to have services such as electricity and roads that they could not have in the rural areas. Activists say, however, that these “Sustainable Rural Cities” are designed to enable the relocation of communities that are based where development projects–such as large-scale hydroelectric dams, agrofuel plantations, mines, etc–are planned. (2011)
Climate Refugee. Copenhagen 2009 UNFCCC protest.
A logger (employed by a South Korean multinational corporation) with a chainsaw in the Bosawas rainforest; the Bosawas is the largest rainforest north of the Amazon Basin. Illegal logging threatens the rainforest’s biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples. (Nicaragua 1997)
Members of the community in Rosita, Nicaragua discuss the illegal logging occurring there. A 1998 action taken at the Nicaraguan Embassy in Washington, DC to protest the logging of the Bosawas rainforest was widely publicized in Nicaragua and led to the Nicaraguan government cancelling a 150,000-acre illegal logging concession on Indigenous Mayangna land in the Bosawas. (1997)
Young girl in MST camp. The MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – Landless Workers Movement) here took over portion of a plantation owned by Aracruz Cellulose, removed the non-native eucalyptus trees and built their camp, complete with a well, community space and an elaborate system on non-hierarchical decision making. The camp was named Galdino dos Santos, for an indigenous chief who was murdered two years earlier in a racial attack. (Brazil 2005)
Clothes drying in MST camp. (2005)
Log truck in Mapuche territory (Chile). Many corporations were “given” land by Augusto Pinochet in 1973 after the coup overthrow of leftist President Salvador Allende. Vast areas of Mapuche Territory were covered, and are still covered, with timber plantations. (2005)
On 3 December 2011, thousands of people from around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa to protest the UN Climate Conference.
Indigenous Peoples march with an anti-REDD banner in Durban, South Africa to protest the UN Climate Conference.
Protesters at the UN Climate Conference in Durban.
Waste pickers protest at the UN Climate Conference in Durban.
Sign at at the UN Climate Conference protest in Durban.
Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, speaks to protesters during the march in Durban. South African activist Virginia Setshedi (left) watches in disbelief and disgust at Figueres speech.
Young boy near a Canadian controlled gold mine in Nicaragua shows the resilience and resistance of the people of Nicaragua.