General Assembly Notes

Notes from the GA on Monday 28 November, 2011

Anna (facilitator):

•    Inside the UN are talking about the climate change. Many of us can’t get us, so we’re here to talk about climate justice and what we think each of us should do to solve climate change and make sure we live in a world Where every person is treated equally And gets an equal share of what we have

•    I’m going to begin by explaining the process
•    Many of you here will have been to a general assembly before, you all know what we’re doing. But not everybody has, so we’re going to explain it so we can all be involved
•    Why are shouting at each other?
•    This is called a human microphone. We’re repeating what I say and what each of you will say when you say so we can all hear it, so everyone can partake in the discussion

•    First, is there anyone that has a language issue?
•    Is anyone not following my English? Just put your hand up So I’m going to speak slowly, but if at any time you don’t understand what I’m saying put your hand in the air with an ‘L’ shape, I will try to make it so you can understand

•    Now on to hand signals
•    Anyone who has been to a GA will understand this [hands in the air, fingers moving]. You agree with what the person speaking is saying. Because we all want a chance to speak, we can tell them we heard we’ve heard enough [arms rolling]… there’s a hand signal we’ve heard enough
• If someone is saying something you don’t agree with [cross your arms in the air]
•    If you really disagree, and if the group carries on, and you will leave, you can put one fist in the air. This is really serious, and those in the group are taking your views into account and we need to stop
•    Remember we’re all here to come to some solutions, so remember lots of positive responses. Lets not do too much arm crossing
•    A “C” means “I need clarification on what’s going on”: “I don’t quite understand”
•    People who have been to occupations, have I missed anything?
•    Technical points, this is something outside our conversation [a ‘T’ with two hands]
•    Used for “the police are over there…”, or “an ambulance needs to get through”
•    [triangle with two hands] is a point of process. This means someone screwed up and we’re not doing it how we’re suppose to be doing it

•    Why are we here?
•    We’re here to talk about climate justice
•    So the first thing is to introduce a couple of people who are going to speak for two minutes about climate justice from their perspective
•    From there we will form little groups and we will all talk about climate justice for ten minutes
•    Then one person from each of your groups will present what we talked about
•    The first person is going to speak is Yvette

Yvette Abrahams:
•    Good morning
•    I’m am the South Africa commissioner for gender equality
•    I’m also first nations South African
•    So I’m very happy to welcome you to the land of my ancestors
•    As you know SA is the cradle of human kind
•    So you’re all our children
•    So welcome back home to your motherland
•    Of course this is your mother planet
•    Now what happened was two or three hundred years ago
•    Some european men decided to distinguish man and nature and of course they said to themselves men are suppose to rule over nature
•    For us as indigenous people this is very strange because we don’t understand how nature is over there and men are over here
•    Because men drink and look for women
•    So how do they get away from nature
•    […]
•    So come back home you belong here
•    There’s not another planet you can go to, the spaceship is only for the very rich and the very powerful, you’re not going to get on
•    Half the people in there [the ICC] are not even going to get on it
•    So how about you settle down with us and figure out ways
•    And figure out ways to get back to mother nature

Anna:
•    Ok one more speaker before we all speak
•    Pablo will speak to us about climate justice for two minutes

Pablo Solon:
•    Good morning to all
•    I come from Bolivia
•    We always say “Haiyaya”
•    It means for life
•    “Haiyaya”
•    Because the main issue here being negotiated is the future of life
•    This is why we believe in Bolivia to promote the rights of mother earth
•    Because the only way to bring balance to is to have the rights of nature and the rights of human beings
•    I have been a negotiator for two and half years
•    We opposed the Cancun accord one year ago. Why?
•    Because it’s going to cook the world and it’s going to cook Africa
•    Rich countries are saying they are only going to reduce 13%-17% of their 1990 levels
•    That means the temperature by more than 4 degres celcius
•    That represents for Africa more than 8 degrees celcius
•    This is a huge impact on water, food and health
•    Three hundred and fifty thousands persons died last year because of nature disasters that have do with climate change
•    We cannot be part of this genocide and ecocide
•    The only way we can stop this is only if we organize in the whole world like we’re doing here
•    Negotiators are not going to change if there is not social pressure in all the capitals in all of the countries
•    The future of the world depends on the seed we’re beginning to plant here
•    Thank you

Anna:
•    OK! It’s time for us all to talk and to figure out what we think and let them know
•    So I want you all to break up into groups of four or five and talk about climate justice for twenty minutes
•    Then we will report back to what we have talked about

Kevin
•    Mic check
•    Members of the Press you can also participate in the conversation

First group:
•    Our group discussed a range of ideas about us beginning with the solution
•    people power over the corporate influence that is trying to promote false solutions and take control of those false solutions with intellectual property rights and many other forms of false solutions
•    We feel frustrated about what’s going on
•    We can create transformations and that transformation is what we need

Second group:
•    We spoke about the need for local level solutions
•    Including the ideas of integrating mother earth rights in local bylaws
•    We also spoke about the need for us to learn
•    To speak about climate change in the language that ordinary people can relate to and understand and therefore interact with
•    We also spoke about how integrated the struggle with the need for economic change, gender , and a variety of other factors and how they’re missing that in there [the ICC]
•    And thus what they come up with will not work in our world

Third group:
•    We discussed the lack of effective and transmission of information in South Africa about Climate Justice
•    The tools we identified as changed are the following:
•    Word of the mouth seems to be most effective way
•    Art and theatre as the tools of communication as they overcome the barriers around literacy
•    That’s it

Fourth group:
•    We talked about a number of things, we talked about education and how those who “know about climate change are often those who feel it the least”
•    They are none of the people who know climate change
•    We talked about this conference like a conference of lions talking about how to save a deer
•    We thought it was very important that we acknowledge climate change as a symptom of a larger structure that is causing this
•    The conversations should not be about mitigation and adaptation
•    But about fossil fuels, their use
•    We thought very important to talk about rights
•    What our rights are
•    Beyond the concept of energy
•    And we wanted think about how we can challenge this

Fifth group:
•    Our group spoke about what you all spoke about
•    but also about moving away from fossils to a green future
•    Equity between humans and nature
•    The need to expose the capture inside [the ICC] by large corporations
•    And the need to standby developing countries who are trying to push for climate justice
•    and connecting issues at the grassroots
•    Increasing electricity prices, water privatisation, not having money for food and climate justice equals broken capitalism and climate injustice

Last group:
•    We need to come with simple terms where everybody will understand
•    We need to include the khoi san who are living in South Africa and Kalahari desert
•    They know how to live with nature, the trees and the environment
•    We should not speak on their behalf
•    We need to include traditional leaders
•    Guiding the rural areas to grow friendly with nature
•    Now we have to talk about climate justice
•    We need to talk about what we’re going to do

Anna:
•    Now we would like you all go back to your groups and discuss how you want to move forward as a group from this movement
•    I propose we switch up groups to hear different perspectives

Group one:
•    We talked about whether this should become occupation for the duration of the COP and if so, what the logistics would entail
•    we thought this might be a conversation for a later date
•    There was a proposal to set a time for a GA every day and we wanted to take a temperature check for a proposed time

Anna:
•    We should hear from all the groups before we move forward

Group one:
•    We wondered how to take this occupy cop17 people’s conference forward after cop17
•    We wondered about the rest of working groups whether that should happen, we wondered even if people were not staying overnight that there should be a few people throughout who direct could people to the people’s space
•    We also talked about a program of events in this space, including teach-ins and music
•    That’s it

Group two:
•    We all agreed that capitalism is a huge issue
•    We asked how to take on capitalism and how do we approach topic of capitalism
•    We don’t know how to save the world
•    We really don’t know how to stop blind consumption
•    We do know that it starts right here
•    We spoke about different leveLs of change namely policy vs community and how they interlink and we also spoke about issues of representation inside cop17
•    Thank you

Group three:
•    We also propose to discuss here how we can communicate and connect with occupation movements around the world during these two weeks
•    The first thing we talked about was affirming that we need to continue the occupation on a regular basis and figure out the
logistics concerning thought
•    One thought was how to make permanent banners or info kiosks we were thinking about how to display the declaration that came from Cochabamba World people’s conference on climate change and the rights of mother of that was held in 2010
•    And potentially the statement that came from the WSF on climate justice
•    We also talked about organising inside and outside and how to build to solidarity and act in solidarity with the most vulnerable nations inside
•    The last thing that we talked about was inviting South Africans and people from Durban and members of communities in this area And especially communities that have been affected

Group four:
•    We discussed how to bring more participation from the public here
•    Rather than talk about too many issues about pollution, we should focus on simple things like water security and the cost of electricity
•    To try to bring more of the general public into the conversation
•    The reason being that many of the topics we are discussing are from the first world are not really coherent to what the general people understand
•    So if we tell people to just come here to complain about rising electricity costs, we just might get a large occupation

Group five:
•    One point is to discuss the importance of including traditional leaders and communities into this assembly the point was raised earlier the people here are not the worst affected
•    It is of vital importance to include people that are affected most
•    Thank you everyone

Anna
•    I think now, we should hear specific proposals of things people wanted to and we can get some general agreement and in the spirit of occupations around the world give people autonomy to go away from this general assembly to work on that and decide on when and if we should meet again

Various voices:
•    Proposal is that we have a General assembly everyday for the duration of the COP
•    so we have a lot of support for a general assembly everyday
•    Perhaps that might mean a group to work on that
•    Do we have anyone that is willing to do that?
•    If we set a time, we send a group away to work on tomorrow’s GA
•    How do people feel about staying at 11 am
•    Changing to 1pm to match UN lunch time
•    So tomorrow’s meeting will be at 1pm!
•    Next proposal:
•    If it does rain and continues to rain should we considering an alternative venue that will still allow us to achieve our objectives
•    I would propose that the working group work to make this space water proof with tarpaulins
•    Does it make sense to have a working group to coordinate with other communities
•    A working group to reach out to Durban and to other communities around the world
•    People to work on outreach to get more people here?
•    Outreach to occupy movements around the world?
•    People who are willing to reach out to other occupy groups around the world?

•    Lets finish the GA and get to work is that ok?

•    Thank you everyone for being here and respecting each other and making it happen, we can do this

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