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From the Front Lines of the G20: A Global Climate Wake-Up Call September 20, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, flash mob, G20, obama to copenhagen, tcktcktck, Uncategorized.
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The DC Action Factory has hit the ground running in Pittsburgh, with our time drawing near to the first mass action of the G20 week: a global wake up call for climate action.

At noon tomorrow, scores will gather on the corner of 7th and Penn in downtown Pittsburgh, all with their alarm clocks set to 12:18. At that time, a cacophony of noise will sound, and the crowd will rush forward to the sleeping leaders–President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Medvedev, and Prime Minister Harper–who will be located in the middle of the brick square, sleeping on the job with their country’s

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper are going to be two of the four featured G20 leaders in tomorrow's action, sleeping on the job as the world demands stronger international climate policy this December.

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper are going to be two of the four featured G20 leaders in tomorrow's action, sleeping on the job as the world demands stronger international climate policy this December.

flags as blankets. The crowd will literally wake-up the G20 members and demand that they take bold action this week on climate policy that will lead us into a promising and productive Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December [the last day of this being 12/18].

Immediately following the flash mob wake up, everyone gathered will place calls to our Senators in Washington, demanding that they gear up to work diligently on climate and energy policy this fall, thus making a loud and strong flash mob on Monday (along with  the 2,000+ other wake up calls worldwide) more important than ever.

The action is promised to be a fun, exciting, and easy way to plug into the many events going on in Pittsburgh this week, and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Tomorrow’s going to be huge, all over the world.  Our wake up call is one of over 2,000 events around the world.  This amazing coordination happens through the Tck Tck Tck campaign, which you should read about here if you haven’t heard of it yet.  Also check out Kevin Grandia of Desmogblog writing about just how big and lout this is going to be.

Part of the reason this even is so huge is that its paired with a global movie release.  The scary view from 2050 about just how stupid we are acting right now as a the hilarious and chilling independent movie, the Age of Stupid.

As of Today, there are 77 days until Copenhagen, and the action is only going to keep on increasing.

Keep your eyes and twitter feeds on the lookout for the Senior Citizens March to end MTR and 350.org day of action.

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A Different Tone for Action Factory at Climate Refugee Camp August 18, 2009

Posted by Julie in climate refugees, clinton, copenhagen, state department, tcktcktck.
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Despite the diversity of actions we’ve carried out this summer, the Action Factory has developed a unique ‘Action Factory’ style that rings through nearly all of our actions. Our style is usually comedic and gimmicky, and our message always positive. Rather than highlighting the often dismal political and scientific realities of today’s world, our actions are instead suggestive of the change we desire and the future we envision. At their core, almost all our actions affirm the now-famous cliché, “Yes we can”:

Climate change is complex and it’s difficult to talk abut complexity in today’s news media, so we at the Action Factory have mostly stayed away from communicating much about the complexities of climate change in our actions. Instead, we’ve dumbed things way down for the sake of getting attention and keeping an up-beat ton. This has been very effective and I’m glad that through our actions we’ve gained a reputation for being optimistic and hopeful — because we are.

And yet, it is important to step back every once and a while and remember another dimension of this battle. Our tone of optimism about fighting climate change often includes a mouthful of intangible jargon while leaving out an explanation for why we need a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate treaty so urgently. Climate change is not only a great opportunity to create jobs and new prosperity. It is also an urgent crisis that is already impacting many individual human lives and perpetuating current injustices.

This week the Action Factory struck a new tone by setting up a refugee camp outside the state department. With our makeshift tents, blue tarps, and a reasonable ration of food packed in cardboard boxes, we put ourselves in the shoes of people displaced by climate change for over 24 hours.

Our action gave us a brief taste of what it must have felt like to be Katrina climate refugees forced to leave their flooded homes. It allowed us to empathize ever so slightly with Sudanese refugees who have no choice but to flee from the violent Darfur conflict, which has it’s roots in drought caused by climate change. We attempted to put ourselves in the shoes of Alaskan villagers forced to relocate as the permafrost that used to support their houses thaws, and try to understand the plight of Carteret islanders who have no choice but to leave their homes because growing crops has become nearly impossible with increased storm surges attributed to climate change.

It was hot, exhausting, and uncomfortable. I lay on my back awake on the pavement at 4:00 am and longed for my bed at home or even a light blanket to protect me from the early morning chill. And yet, of course, I had it easy, relatively speaking. I was a ‘refugee’ for a mere 24 hours, and within walking distance of air-conditioned shops where I was able to take time-outs for cold water, coffee, snacks, and other amenities.

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Greetings from the DC Action Factory tent city! August 17, 2009

Posted by Morgan in climate refugees, clinton, tcktcktck.
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We are just hours into our 26 hour tent city marathon. We set-up our camp with relative ease, had a not unpleasant chat with the police, and are just now settling down for the long haul. It is quite literally starting to heat up, and despite the cops mandating that we dismantle our overhead tarps, we are doing our best to keep cool. As uncouth as it sounds, at least our project has an end date. For millions of climate refugees across the globe, drought, flooding, disease, or famine make harsh conditions a permanent reality.

It is important, then, that we stand in solidarity with these many millions, and bring their voices to the policy-makers whose decisions will ultimately shape their future. Such action is desperately needed, yet our leaders typically fail in recognizing climate refugees altogether. In high-level talks regarding climate refugees, decision-makers find themselves bogged down in determining even the basic definition of climate refugees (see Morgan’s post from last night). It appears that after so much politicking over semantics, world leaders are simply too exhausted to take real steps toward aiding these involuntary migrants.

But according to the International Federation of Red Cross, climate change disasters are currently a bigger cause of population displacement than war and persecution combined: current estimates of the number of climate refugees range from 25 to 50 million worldwide, compared to the official refugee population of 20.8 million. World leaders claim that they do not want to complicate the word “refugee,” as if they worry about sullying the term for political exiles. Call them what you will, climate refugees are very real; their stories are harrowing, and their numbers are rapidly growing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict that there will be 150 million climate refugees by 2050.

Our leaders are performing a gross negligence by ignoring the growing refugee crisis caused by global warming. Not only are we destroying their homes with the pollution of the industrial nations, now we are trying to ignore their existence all-together. But we are asking Secretary Clinton to demonstrate a small act of goodwill, take on the mantle of US leadership, and ensure that the world will take action to address the climate refugee crisis in the years to come.

By including language to recognize and protect climate refugees, Clinton will not only take a much-needed moral stance, but also provide for the security of the nation she represents. The millions of people displaced by global warming will inevitably seek asylum elsewhere. Already, rising sea levels caused by climate change are exacerbating tensions between Bangladesh and India, causing India to construct a 2,1000 mile high-tech fence along its border, to cite but one example. The U.S. can expect similar security questions to rapidly arise. Establishing an international process that recognizes, protects, and helps to provide for these refugees will help to prevent a refuge crisis at our own borders.

Currently, there is little or no aid available to climate refugees, unlike conventional refugees protected under current international treaties. The recent, tragic death of Ken Bacon, director of Refugees International, has highlighted his life-long work on refugees, and his recent work in establishing a Climate Refugee Center. Secretary Clinton praised the work of Bacon, even as her department tries to ignore the issue.

Including language recognizing and protecting climate refugees in the Copenhagen agreement is the first step in establishing this process. Secretary Clinton, act now! Otherwise, what will your legacy be?

Follow @actionfactorydc for updates as the protest progresses
Media contact: Kim Huynh/ 904-327-7650
Press conference: Monday, 12:30pm, West entrance to the State Department
For more info: http://www.towardsrecognition.org/

Protest: State Department Ignores Climate Refugees August 17, 2009

Posted by Morgan in climate refugees, clinton, copenhagen.
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Update: Official Press Release Here
Climate change is forcing people to leave their homes, and even forcing entire nations to sink beneath the waves. Yet climate refugees might not even be included in the international climate agreement being developed for Copenhagen.

Photo credit Jennifer Redfearn/Sun Come Up

At last week’s Bonn III negotiations (the talks to get ready for the big Copenhagen negotiations), the one line of text that referred to climate refugees was bracketed. That means the text is flagged for possible approval, instead of being firmly included. This slight change makes the US less responsible for the problem. The United States would rather not even use the word ‘refugees,’ fearing its strong implications, and instead would use the word ‘migrants.’ Why? Because a ‘migrant’ is someone who decides to move.

Peoples’ homes are being destroyed. They are not going to be moving voluntarily, and any effort to make it seem like they are is a blatant shirking of responsibility on the part of American diplomats, most notably Hillary Clinton.

Tomorrow morning, the Avaaz Climate Action Factory, in solidarity with climate refugees across the world, will erect a refugee camp right in front of the US State Department in Washington DC. We will brave the 95 degree heat to demand that Clinton include language recognizing and protecting climate refugees in the negotiating text.

Action Factory members are working for a global climate treaty that mitigates climate change and protects the world’s most vulnerable people. While major emissions reductions in the US remain probably the most important piece of that treaty, other important aspects can and should be advocated for in the run-up to Copenhagen. This includes provisions protecting climate refugees, increased funding for international adaptation, and more money for international clean-tech transfer.

As we near the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, please help us spread the word about the State Department’s lack of protection for those who will suffer first and suffer hardest from a warming world.

Follow @actionfactorydc for updates as the protest progresses
Media contact: Kim Huynh/ 904-327-7650
Press conference: Monday, 12:30pm, West entrance to the State Department
For more info: http://www.towardsrecognition.org/

Photos and Video: No more Naked Fraud! July 31, 2009

Posted by Morgan in astroturf, bonner and associates, naked fraud.
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The Fatal Flaw in Climate Messaging July 28, 2009

Posted by Morgan in Uncategorized.
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After attending half a dozen hearings on the various climate change bills that have been going through the House and now the Senate, I have noticed a trend in framing that makes me incredibly angry.

There is constant talk about the “clean energy future” and all of our “green jobs” but in all the talking and debating there is no mention of why we are fighting to make these changes. There is hardly ever a mention of the 300,000 people who are dying, the endless amounts of agriculture that are going to be lost, or that entire countries are going to be under water in less than 20 years. They never talk about the fact that global warming could lead to the end of human existence. That is why we have to change our behavior now.

To be completely honest, I don’t think this lack of connections between policy and global warming is purely the fault of the elected officials. I have often caught myself forgetting why I am an activist and why I work on solving global warming. And if I’m forgetting that I am in the movement then what can we expect to see from the general public and our elected officials. The general public doesn’t make the connection between catastrophes such as hurricane Katrina and a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They just don’t understand what global warming is and what it means for people right now.

This is a fatal flaw for the climate movement. The issue is complex and the framing is lost. The connections are there but they have to be illustrated. As an active force in the climate movement we, as young people, cannot forget to keep making the connections. When we talk about our energy future, we have to say we need it to prevent additional carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. When we tell people to paint their roofs white or change their light bulbs, we need to say that these small steps should be paired with larger steps by Congress to pass aggressive legislation.

Overall, we need to reconnect to the heart of global warming and remember why we need to innovate. We cannot forget the risk that is in place if we don’t do these things and we have to tell that story to the public. We have to make the connection that to us is so intuitive. It needs to be spelled out. If not, we won’t get everyone on board and without everyone, we are doomed.

For more specific information http://scp.earthjustice.org/?q=node/67