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Youth Activists Reveal Toned-Down Strategy for Cancun

With few government heads expected in Mexico, influence will come behind the scenes, not in front of a camera

By Stacy Feldman

Nov 24, 2010

What a difference a year makes for climate change activism.

Twelve months ago, thousands of young campaigners worldwide converged on Copenhagen to pitch protests against the global political failure to tackle global warming.

They disrupted summit meetings with non-violent civil disobedience to air demands of climate justice. Scores were arrested. Naomi Klein, the writer and activist, at the time that it felt as though "progressive tectonic plates are shifting."

But a year later — with the start of the next big climate-treaty conference in Cancun, Mexico, days away — activists appear to have dramatically changed their emphasis from confrontation to cooperation.

"There are certain times when it's useful to take a more critical tone and times when it's useful to take a more collaborative tone," said Michael Davidson of , an all-volunteer climate action group.

The two meetings "are extremely different,” he noted. For one, the eyes of the world were on Copenhagen as 120 heads of state attended, garnering gobs of global media coverage for the summit — and youth-led protests.

But few government heads are expected in Mexico, meaning that a majority of advocates' influence will be behind the scenes, not in front of the camera.

A Model for Progress

In lower-key Cancun, one of the main goals of young people will be to set an example of progress for quarreling climate negotiators, Davidson said.

"Youth have cooperated within negotiations in an extremely intricate way — in some ways much more than other civil society participants," he said. "We're trying to present a model for what delegates should be doing in order to push forward solutions."

"We’re not giving up on trying to get countries to actually cooperate," Davidson continued.

Beyond that, SustainUS announced this week that they will use Cancun to fight for a legally binding deal to curb climate-altering emissions — their ultimate goal — and will make the strong link between carbon-cutting clean energy development and job creation.

They also want to stress that vulnerable populations would suffer disproportionately if climate change is ignored — including themselves.

"We're doing this because our future is at stake,” Marcie Smith, co-chair of SustainUS, told reporters on a conference call detailing their strategies.

Activists, who align themselves with developing-country governments, suffered defeat at the negotiations in Copenhagen last December, after the 194 parties to the failed to deliver a post-2012 pact to slow warming.

Agreement is still far off.

The Nov. 29 – Dec. 10 Cancun talks are expected to make progress on some issues, such as green technology transfers and slowing deforestation, but will not a produce a new treaty to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

U.S., Chinese Youth Join Forces

Disputes between the U.S. and China, the two biggest emitters of global warming gases, have stymied progress on a global climate deal.

Recognizing that, youth from both nations launched an unofficial collaboration a little over a month ago called the U.S.-China Youth Climate Exchange.

Members of the partnership will carry out workshops and shared actions in Cancun.

"Sino-American relations have been characterized by mistrust," said Jared Schy of the and the new U.S.-China exchange. "We hope to strengthen trust between our countries by growing our own trust. We hope ... to show the world in a more visible way that China and the U.S. are working together now."

Influencing U.S. Policy from Cancun

Reed Aronow of SustainUS said activists will lead a "series of creative actions and campaigns" in Cancun centered on getting both meaningful treaty text and climate change legislation in the United States.

Acknowledging the human factors driving climate destabilization

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

One day soon I trust that a HIGH LEVEL DISCUSSION of extant scientific evidence of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth happens in many places. Sooner or later discussions of this kind have to occur, I suppose, despite the fact that free and open speech of what looks to me like the very last of the last taboos is forbidden by the masters of the universe among us, the ones who value money, power and position before all else and exclaim their dishonest and duplicitous ‘work’ is, of all things, “God’s work”.

My concern for children everywhere is this. If children in our time are "sold" the aberrant idea that economic success is what really matters, that arrogance and avarice actually rule this world, then from now here I expect those who are still young will follow a clearly marked and soon to become patently unsustainable primrose path to perdition and destruction, a path that has been adamantly advocated and religiously pursued by self-proclaimed masters of the universe.

Let us not allow the 'economic success' that is derived from "bigger is better" and "the biggest business is the best", and from  insider trading, hedging, dark pools of capital, CDOs and other financial instruments, market and currency manipulations, Ponzi schemes and economic globalization by the masters of the universe to be confused with the works of God, as given to us in The Creation and disclosed to us in science.

Despite all the efforts to foment confusion and uncertainty by economic theologians, demographers and other minions of the wealthy and powerful, I trust we can agree that The Creation and science itself are utterly different from the artificially designed, ideologically flawed, manmade global economy that is organized and managed by the masters of the universe for their benefit primarily. Regarding this single thing, can there be even so much as a shadow of doubt? As for demography, it provides a politically useful and economically attractive platform for looking at "the growth rate decreases" of human population numbers in one place after another and then perniciously broadcasting this 'scientific' evidence everywhere as if these data provide actual assurance of the end of global population growth soon.  All the while the demographers willfully ignore the skyrocketing increase of absolute global human population numbers.  Demography is not the practice of science; it is a ruse. Demography is dangerous because it is so very misleading.  The 'empirical' evidence derived from demography serves the selfish interests of the wealthy and powerful among us by disguising rather than disclosing the actual challenges posed to humanity in our time by the unbridled growth of the human population by approximately 75 to 80 million annually as well as by the gigantic scale of the global population that is projected to reach 9+ billion, likely during the lifetime of my children. 

If the human family chooses not to make a new way of life for ourselves, perhaps you can see what visible through my eyes.

Can you see in the offing, there on the far horizon within sight of every human being with feet of clay on Earth, the first slouching trillionaire in the universe lumbering toward Bethlehem to be born?













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