It seems a bit unrealistic that I am really in another part of the world doing climate justice work. Daniel Ilario and I have the honor and privilege to represent Idle No More SF Bay, refinery communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, environmental justice groups in California, and the Indigenous delegates here at the UN climate talks UNFCCC in Bonn, Germany.
The Climate Talks occur for two weeks. Dallas Goldtooth and Kandi Mossett from the Indigenous Environmental Network were in Bonn during the first week of the Climate Talks and Daniel and I arrived as they left. We are members of the Indigenous delegation.
I arrived hours after California Governor Jerry Brown was hosting a public event called “Pledge to America” where he was promoting his carbon cap and trade program. Delegations from It Takes Roots, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, SustainUS and others from the United States teamed up to disrupt Brown’s event. The action began with Daniel Ilario standing up to begin a mic check on the Governor. Those who disrupted Brown’s event wanted the world to know that his plan is a false solution toward ensuring a safe climate and to diminish his claim as a “climate leader”. You may have seen the media reports where Brown said, “Let’s put you in the ground.” This action received media attention around the world. It was a good moment for all the delegations involved.
Later in the evening, Climate Action Network hosted one of the largest social gatherings on the UNFCCC agenda. Many young indigenous activists were disappointed that Indigenous rights, issues and voices have been eliminated regarding climate control. While champagne flowed inside the gathering, Maori women from Aotearoa and I maintained a demonstration outside of the event to bring attention to Indigenous issues. As Indigenous women we are outraged that the Paris Agreement does not include our right of consent regarding corporate take-over of our lands and is a violation to the rights of Mother Earth. We demand to be seen and heard.
It has been a rollercoaster to keep up with the intense load of information everywhere I go here in Bonn. I am thankful for the Indigenous Environmental Network and It Takes Roots for accepting Daniel and me to be members for their delegations. My knowledge base about climate change, environmental justice and control by governments has dramatically increased. I am looking forward to continuing to learn and share with others my experiences here when I return to Richmond, California.