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Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Climate Camp for Aotearoa?



PLEASE DISTRIBUTE FAR AND WIDE

Hello!This email is being sent to you as someone who has at some point expressedinterest in the idea of a climate camp in Aotearoa/New Zealand.Well, a few folks have written up a proposal document to get the ballrolling - this is intended to be a statement of the current global andnational situation followed by a proposal for holding a camp here in NZ.We have highlighted elements that will need to be discussed in order forthe camp to be a success, both as a functioning camp and also as an agent to bring about a radical grassroots movement to combat climate change.Please read the document (below and attached) and discuss it with otherswho wish to be involved - it is meant to be a starting framework forpeople in their communities to use as a basis for formulating ideas tothen feed in to a national hui to be held in November.It is proposed that a hui/meeting be held in Wellington (to make it asaccessible as possible) on Saturday and Sunday the 22/23 November. TheNewtown Community Centre has been booked for the venue.Idealy as many people as possible will be able to attend or send theirthoughts through a representative so that we can start turning the ideainto a reality!!So, please pass this on to all your contacts who might be interested andif you have any comments or if you wish to confirm your attendance at thehui reply to this email address.Its an exciting time and things are totally set for an amazing climatecamp in Aotearoa - we are gonna create something incredible!!- Claire (a climate camp participant)
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A Climate Camp for Aotearoa?

For the first time in human history the North pole can be circumnavigated.Scientists are warning that the Arctic ice cap is entering a 'deathspiral'. The first evidence of millions of tonnes of methane gas beingleaked into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic ice cap suggests thatrunaway climate change is perilously close, but despite twenty years ofcalls for action by climatologists, environmental organisations,politicians, indigenous people and many more of us we're still facing abusiness as usual situation with out of control emissions and little signsof real progress. Legitimate and reasonable climatologists are telling usthat if we don't manage to get human output of greenhouse gases to peak by2015 [at the latest] this will guarantee runaway climate change. In turnthis will lead to mass social chaos, global fresh water shortages,hundreds of millions, quite possibly billions of refugees and above allelse the extinction of MOST of the species that inhabit the planet. Thisis not just about polar bears and light bulbs anymore.New Zealand is one of the world's highest greenhouse gas emitters on theplanet per capita and per unit of GDP. NZ is clearly punching the climatewell above its weight. Despite the fact that New Zealand's greenhouse gasemissions are escalating faster than that of the United States and despiterecent scientific observations, surveys here in Aotearoa suggest thatpeople's appetite for action on climate change is waning. What to do??There are a few places in the world which stand out as places whereprogress IS being made on building real demand for action on climatechange. All of them have one thing in common, a loud, fearless andtactical grassroots movement. It sorts the industrial and political spinfrom the terrifying reality of the situation by attacking the problem atits root and therefore calling for immediate and radical transformation ofsociety. These folks understand that anything less will mean that allother previous social and environmental struggle will look like a birthdayparty compared to what is to come if we fail to address this one. The UK,the United States, Australia, Germany and Canada have all hosted 'ClimateCamps' and from within these places screams a grassroots movement with theguts and the foresight to look this situation straight in its face, gettogether and do something about it.Less than one month ago, for the first time in the history of ClimateChange activism a bunch of climate activists in the UK were acquitted oftaking direct action against a filthy new coal power plant because incourt they proved that the consequences of not doing so would meancatastrophe. Two months ago a thousand Australians took mass direct actionto block a train line feeding coal to the worlds biggest coal export portin Newcastle Australia. Coal fired power stations are regularly being shutdown in the United States and Australia.But what is happening in New Zealand? Why is it that New Zealand, with itsimpressive history of environmental activism has one of the worst climaterecords in the world, while at the same time receives awards for itssupposed action on Climate Change? What gives New Zealander's the right tocause 16 times the damage to the climate as people in Bangladesh who willsuffer in their millions as a result of this carbon and dairy feast? Somehave suggested that there is a massive hole in wafer thin Climate Changemovement here in Aotearoa and that is why the NZ government has gottenaway with introducing such weak climate policy here, with little criticalappraisal of its inadequacy to slow down New Zealand's sky rocketingemissions.If we are going to confront the most catastrophic social and environmentalcollapse humans have ever experienced we have to take the first stepstowards building a strong core of people willing to stand up and fightagainst this insanity in New Zealand as well. It is for this reason thatmany Climate Change activists are calling for a climate camp here inAotearoa aimed at taking the first steps towards fighting back against thecorporate dominance and economic suicide that is causing it.ProposalFirstly, it has been proposed that those who are interested in buildingsomething get together to plan how, why and even if we should build aClimate Camp here in Aotearoa.It has been proposed that the venue for such a hui be decided upon basedon the geographical locations of those interested in attending and drivingthis project forward between now and some time in 2009 when it has beenproposed the first Aotearoa / NZ Climate Camp be held.It has been proposed that the following issues and tasks required to getsuch a camp together should be addressed collectively at a Climate hui.It is clear from the experiences of those who have been involved in thecreation of such camps overseas and to those who have shown an interest inmaking this happen in New Zealand that the creation of this camp will notbe an easy task for those involved. It will require many months of hardwork and dedication by all to drive this forward and make it a reality.The good news is that many experienced, capable and dedicated people inNew Zealand have already expressed a strong commitment to going ahead withthis and there is a wealth of experience and learning available from theformation of the UK and Australian camps available to help us along. [notthat we necessarily want to duplicate exactly what has happened in theseplaces].Principles of previous Climate Camps• grassroots – autonomous decision making and self management structures• direct action focused• people focused: a chance for ordinary people to assert our right to afuture free from dangerous climate change• climate justice focused• aimed to be an inspiring example of a sustainable and participatorycommunity• physical setup of the camp is as sustainable as low impact as possible• people to come with their own creative ideas and plans for direct actionProposalIn order to ensure that a camp can be created by people collaborating on anational level while organising, promoting and preparing various'components' of the camp at a regional level it has been proposed that webreak the following 'components' of a camp into the following categoriesand discuss how each geographically [or otherwise defined] affinity group/ action group can work on adding to each of these 'components'.Once these important issues have been talked through, gaps filled in andcollective decisions made we should begin to understand how this thing canbecome a reality.Camp 'Components'• Food• Shelter / Tents• Fun Stuff / Interactive Games / Learning tools• Outreach - Infoshop• Workshops• Energy• Sanitation• Why a camp?• Venue• Communication & Decision Making• Politics• Camp Vision• Climate Action / Movement building vision• Media Strategy• Web Strategy• Safer Spaces• Legal issues• Finances Policy - to be discussed----------------------------------------------------------------------

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