Skip to content

VIEW: ‘Why we took to the streets’, by Maude Barlow and Andrea Harden-Donahue

So great to see this op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen!

Some of us are now back home from our time in Copenhagen and at this hour Andrea is in Frankfurt catching a connecting flight back to Ottawa.

In this op-ed, Maude Barlow and Andrea Harden-Donahue write about the Reclaim the Power march that took place on December 16.

They write, “The objective was not to close down the summit but rather, for one day, to open a space in the UN area for a people’s assembly. Hundreds of delegates, led by members of the Bolivian delegation and the Indigenous Peoples Caucus, walked out of the Bella Center to join with the thousands of people on the other side of the fence. People were attempting to overcome physical barriers that stood in the way of holding the people’s assembly and uniting the two groups.”

“It is of fundamental importance to emphasize that there was no violence on the part of demonstrators. While the action was one of civil disobedience, it was non-violent; the demonstrators did not respond to police with violence.”

“On the streets, false solutions discussed in the Bella Center were denounced. This included examples such as carbon offsets, which allow corporations to avoid reducing emissions in the global North by purchasing credits generated by projects in the global South — projects which often do little to reduce emissions and can cause serious social and environmental harm.”

“The movement behind the Reclaim the Power action challenges the world to recognize that we cannot address the climate crisis until we recognize root causes of this crisis, including unsustainable production, consumption and trade.”

“Real solutions have been much of the focus at the Klimaforum, the alternative peoples summit in Copenhagen. Real solutions discussed include keeping fossil fuels in the ground, respect for indigenous land rights, just transition plans for workers and communities, water as a commons, climate reparations for the global South, vastly increased conservation and energy efficiency, locally owned and controlled sustainable energy alternatives and agriculture as well as sustainable transportation.”

“These solutions are intimately tied to building a just economy for people and planet, where the pursuit of economic growth does not trump public interest.”

“This is why the Reclaim the Power action was of such importance and this is why the Council of Canadians took to the streets in Copenhagen.”

To read their full op-ed, please go to http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/OPINION+took+streets/2359919/story.html.