This September heads of states and governments are coming together in New York “as part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change.” But looking at their record from past meetings, this summit could well be a gathering to talk about something as fantastical as solving interstellar travel to relocate people to other planets.
Almost a year ago we came together to start a process that was not dependent on these international gatherings. More than 600 climate activists went to İstanbul to kick-start the Global Power Shift (GPS) – the starting point of a new phase in the international climate movement. Hundreds of climate leaders from around the world gathered in Istanbul to share stories, learn skills, and sharpen strategies and tactics to overcome the inertia of our ‘leaders.’ These climate leaders then returned to their home countries to spark a wave of convergences, campaigns, and mobilisations for climate action.
We have come a long way since this convergence in Istanbul. More than 50 Power Shifts have happened all around the world. An additional 30 will be happening soon. And by the time of the New York meeting we will have had 87(!) Power Shifts in total!
The point of GPS was never to have a gigantic climate meeting. It was not about facilitating local climate meetings either. The point had always been to have a global network of activists working in sync to solve the climate crisis. We marched together for the first time on the last day of GPS in İstanbul. It was the first joint action of our network.
We now have a huge opportunity to see this network take joint action again – this time all over the globe. In September, tens (likely hundreds) of thousands of people will march in New York City to relay a collective, powerful message to gathered heads of state as they meet for the UNSG’s Climate Summit. And we plan to stand with them by organizing our own actions all over the world.
Already some GPS teams are organizing their power shift events to coincide with the People’s Climate March in NYC. If the rest of the GPS network can also organize local actions, then we will help remind heads of state in New York that they cannot just go home after the summit and pretend we are not in a state of emergency.
Since countless meetings have been held with the supposed intent to address issues related to climate change but with no real outcome to speak of as catastrophes escalate due to human-induced climate change, the global actions to be held during the weekend of September 20-21 will relay one a simple but dire message to heads of state: Action Now. Not words.
We know that the September gathering is not going to be a single ‘moment’ to solve the climate crisis. But it is a great opportunity to show the heads of state that there is no respite anywhere.
The demand for climate justice is global and unrelenting.
They may try to continue to ignore us so far. But the tide is rising. We are bigger and stronger. Now even our networks have networks. If the current political system cannot meet the demand for justice, then it will simply be swept away.