Defend Our Climate – Toronto Rally

I am currently on my trip west across Canada to Alberta to begin the main leg of the Along the Pipeline project. Along the way I was lucky enough to find myself in Toronto during the Defend our Climate rally. Around 1500 people came out in Toronto today to take part in the rally. The rally was part of a national day of action drawing attention to pipelines, tar sands, climate change and other resource extraction that is exacerbating climate change, affecting First Nations and leading Canada towards a Petrostate future.

Led by First Nations, many different faces, nationalities and ages joined in the march, it was an amazing day in sunny Toronto.

Defend Our Climate – Oka

Over 300 people gathered today to rally in support of action on climate change, social justice and environmental justice at Oka, Quebec in Canada. The rally was part of a national day of action organized by a group of organizations in Canada called Defend Our Climate. The purpose of the rallies was to draw attention to the worsening climate situation and the increased fossil fuel activity in Canada.

It was a beautiful day to be out photographing and capturing these moments.


Defend Our Climate – Images by Robert van Waarden

Powershift – 25 Photos of Inspiration

I have just finished documenting Powershift in Pittsburgh. This is the third time I have covered a Powershift, the first in 2009 in Washington and the second was in London. There is no doubt in my mind that over 6000 young adults (and some teenagers) left Pittsburgh yesterday ready to change and fight for a diversity of issues. The most important aspect of this conference was the range of speakers and panels that highlighted the intersectionality of the climate crisis and the social and environmental justice movements in the United States and the world.

I worked with Project Survival Media to document the conference for the Energy Action Coalition. We did the important job of covering the speakers and the attendees and then stayed up late working with social media experts to push the images and memes out to world.

Below is my selection of the 25 top images from the weekend. I hope they inspire you to work a little bit harder than ever before to help solve the climate crisis.


25 images from Powershift 2013 – Images by Robert van Waarden

Energy East Open House – SansTransCanada and SaveCanada steal the show.

This evening TransCanada held their one and only open house in the vast city of Montreal. The open house was situated in the middle of nowhere in the east industrial area and almost everyone visiting got lost. Surprisingly, for a massive infrastructure project there were few ‘regular’ citizens to be seen. In fact there were more blue shirts in the room all night than ‘regular’ citizens.

But that statement doesn’t tell the whole story. It was clear that the majority of those blue shirts and regular citizens were actually concerned citizens. Save-Canada.com  has been attending these events, dressed in almost exactly the same fatigue as the TransCanada representatives and handing out more information about how this pipeline will impact Canadians and the world.  It seems that the TransCanada people don’t know what to do with them. Throughout the evening Save Canada, and SansTransCanada, their Quebec counterpart, engaged with citizens and even played a little game of ‘pin the spill on the pipeline’.

From my perspective it looks like TransCanada has a long uphill battle ahead. There are a lot of concerned citizens, few actual jobs and they are building an export pipeline. If you are looking for some more information here is one source. The visual story is below.

 


Save Canada – Trans Canada – Images by Robert van Waarden

Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban

While world leaders discuss solutions to the climate crisis at the United Nations Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, the South Durban community is on the front line of the climate justice struggle.

Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.

10:10:10 in Utrecht – Cradle to Cradle Climate Action

In conjunction with the Global Work Party, Cradle to Cradle, a event informing children and adults about sustainability was held today in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Cradle to Cradle event was packed with kids and families, enjoying the sun, learning about sustainability and creating cool things with recycled materials. The photographs below show kids making wallets from old milk cartons and art from recycled material.

The Global Work Party was organized by 350.org and 10:10 and is being heralded as the world’s largest day of civil action ever. Be sure to hop on over to 350.org for more photography around the world.

1500 Scouts gather for 10:10 Climate Aerial Photo

This past Saturday, in the little town of Vlaardingen near Rotterdam, an estimated 1500 Scouts gathered to create this aerial image of 10:10. The event was organized by JMA (Jongeren Milieu Actief) in Amsterdam. This is arguably the largest 10:10 image ever recorded and was a lot of fun to create, (at 20 meters in the air). The image reminds us of the goal to stop climate change by reducing emissions by 10% in 2010. It is important that we to get to work during and after the Global Work Party on October 10, 2010.

What are you planning for 10:10? If you are in the Netherlands, check out this site.

In Amsterdam on October 10 a series of workshops will be held at the Dok Huis Gallery @ Plantage Doklaan 8 Amsterdam. Currently the prospective line up is below. If you want to get involved in helping plan either of these workshops or just want to come along, contact me.

  • In the POWER workshops, participants will gain practical skills in how to create electric power off the grid.
  • In the ART workshops, participants will utilise recycled/waste/sustainable materials to create quality art works.
  • In the MUSIC workshops, participants will create instruments with recycled/waste materials.
  • In the LIFE workshops, participants will learn how to create sustainable urban gardens and do some shared vegetarian cooking.

10:10 the netherlands aerial image

Activism, Coal and Arizona

“Just seeing the future for us and knowing that they [our parents] wanted a better future for us, fern benallyI have the same feeling for, not myself, but the kids and for my relatives and that something better will be in the future for them, that keeps me going. Knowing that we have succeeded in one step and maybe we can continue on and see a better future for all of us.

[One of] the other things that keeps me going is knowing that one of my great aunts and my great uncles [had] respiratory problems. Their breath was taken away slowly inch by inch, feeling like they were being suffocated. When they died, thinking about them and thinking that how much better it would be for the rest of the people here. I don’t want them to die that way anymore, I want them to be able to breathe.” Fern Benally, Navajo Activist.

Shadia Fayne Wood from Project Survival Media and I just finished an assignment in Arizona, covering an incredible group of activists that are working hard to stop dirty energy on the Navajo Reservation and pushing the envelope on clean energy development. We are focusing on the closing of one of the coal mines in the area, the tactics that were used and what this means to the people affected by the closure.

The former coalmine is in the Benally’s backyard, land that has been the families for thousands of years. For the last 30 years, 24 hours a day, the large coal trucks would rumble by the house and the coal crusher would drown out nature. Now, thanks to incredible co-operation and dedication amongst groups like the Black Mesa Water Coalition, Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club, the life of mine permit was revoked in January. Now, the Benally’s can hear the birds sing and watch the stars like their ancestors did long before Europeans came here.

There are still many examples of environmental racism here in Arizona and across our planet. But, it is important to celebrate victories and share the knowledge so that we can all move towards a sustainable future. More to come on this project in the future.

Project Survival Media launches Solutions for Survival

Planet not profit image Copenhagen COP 15A unique and important media project, Project Survival Media, has just launched their newest plan, Solutions for Survival (S4S). This new program, is about challenging the industry-sponsored myth that we just can’t meet our energy needs without investing in dirty energy. S4S will do this by creating a documentary series in the United States on current clean energy potential and current dirty energy subsidies

How can you help?

  • You can support PSM, all donations go to supporting young journalists to gain experience and focus on the most important issue today.
  • Join the Facebook group
  • Come to the Launch Party in San Fransisco on May 20th.

My experience with PSM….

I got involved with PSM back in 2009 as the European Team leader. The initial project for PSM was to set up a team of youth journalists around the world to focus on climate change reporting. Within a short time span of a few weeks, PSM had engaged over 100 youth journalists around the world, raised over $40,000 and produced an incredible array of reporting around the climate issue leading up to COP 15. PSM also financed several southern youth representatives to join the team in Copenhagen and report on the summit. It was a wide success and I am excited about working with PSM throughout the foreseeable future to continue to focus on climate change reporting.

To that end, I will be heading to Arizona in a couple of weeks to focus on indigenous energy projects with PSM director Shadia Fayne.  Stay tuned for more.