System Change not Climate Change: take direct action for climate justice!

[How to get involved → see below]

In 2009, indigenous peoples called for a global mobilisation ‘in defence of mother earth’ on October 12, reclaiming what used to be ‘Columbus Day’. In response, Climate Justice Action is coordinating a day of direct action for climate justice on October 12, 2010.

For years, many had hoped that governments, international summits, even industries and corporations could stop climate change. Today, after the disaster of Copenhagen, we are wiser. Today we know that we cannot expect UN-negotiations to solve the climate crisis for us; that the climate crisis is the inevitable outcome of a system growing infinitely; that climate justice means taking action ourselves.

Rewind some 500 years. On the 12th of October 1492, Christopher Columbus’ so-called ‘discovery’ of the Americas kicked off the globalisation of a system of domination of the Earth and its people in the eternal pursuit of growth. Today, it is still this system that is causing the climate crisis, and it has a name: capitalism. Today it is all of us, and the entire planet, who increasingly suffer the fate that some five centuries ago befell the indigenous of the Americas and their native lands. Then, it was a continent and its people that were driven to destruction; today, it is a world and its people. Today, we are all the global exploited.

But why focus on the fight for climate justice at a time when, all around the world, people are losing their jobs and their livelihoods? Doesn’t the ‘economic crisis’ trump the ‘climate crisis’? But these crises only look different when seen from above. Seen from where we stand, they are all threats to our survival. Whether a tsunami or a bank takes your home – either way, you end up homeless. We can’t treat these crises as separate: They are all the result of capital’s need for eternal growth, a growth that is fuelled by the ever-expanding exploitation of social and natural ‘resources’. Crisis is the standard mode of operation for this system.

To struggle for climate justice is thus at the same time struggling against the madness of capitalism, against austerity enforced from above, against their insistence on the need for continued ‘growth’. Climate justice isn’t about saving trees or polar bears – though we probably should do both. It is about empowering communities to take back power over their own lives. It is about leaving fossil fuels in the ground and creating socialised renewable energy systems; it is about food sovereignty against the domination of, and destruction caused, by industrial agribusiness; it is about massively reducing working hours, and starting to live different lives; it is about reducing overproduction for overconsumption by elites in the North and the South. Climate justice is the struggle for a good life for us all.

We invite all those who fight for social and ecological justice to organise direct actions targeting climate criminals and false solutions, or creating real alternatives. This is an open callout, we are not picking targets. But it is not a day for marches or petitions: it is time for us to reclaim our power, and take control of our lives and futures.

* October 12 – Flyer
* Call out: Thousands of Cancuns for climate justice!
* Climate Justice Action


The climate crisis has reached a new level. The failure of the 2009 UNFCCC Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15) showed us that global leaders and governments are unwilling to work together towards real solutions to the climate crisis.

The insanity of such inaction is becoming more and more obvious as extreme global climate catastrophes become more frequent. Right now an estimated 18.7 million Pakistanis are affected by the worst floods in Pakistan’s history. Just last month in Moscow, gas masks were worn on the streets and in homes as a result of the poisoned air caused by fires, pollution and the highest recorded temperatures in the country’s history. This is, of course, in addition to the ongoing environmental exploitation that severely threatens the livelihoods of the global south and all indigenous communities.

However, worldwide activists, organizations and many others are not just standing by. Indigenous communities experiencing climate change catastrophes and all people who care for the health and well being of the rights of Mother Earth are taking the lead towards real change.

We know the fight for climate justice is challenging, but our successes are many and we are building strength! In the last year alone we have seen a constant number of mobilizations that have turned off production at coal factories, occupied spaces planned for airport construction, dropped banners from sky high locations, held fierce massive public rallies, marches and demonstrations, and countless more actions

In an effort to reclaim the day that has traditionally been imposed as ‘Columbus Day,’ indigenous peoples around the world have called for a global mobilization ‘in defence of Mother Earth’. Climate Justice Action has taken up this call and is proposing a global day of direct action for climate justice on October 12, 2010. CJA is not picking specific targets or actions, but is rather calling for all of us to engage, plan and take direct action on this day.

If you are already prepared to take action, let us know what you’re planning by sending an email too (CJA ADDRESS!). If you haven’t started there’s still time. Mobilize and plan an action in your city, town or village. Don’t forget to film it and take photos and send them to CJA so we can show off our global force!

There is power in numbers and together we can achieve system change not climate change!


About CJA:

CJA is a transnational non hierarchical direct action network that serves as a resource base for exchange of experiences and seeks to connect and give visability to localised struggles. We consider ourselves part of the broader movements for climate and social justice. Anyone agreeing to and acting in accordance with our aims and principles can be part of the CJA network by taking action at the local/regional level. CJA commits to having regular electronic and face-to-face organisational and strategy meetings to link our struggles for climate justice. All are invited to become an active part to the process!

Are you or your organization interested in becoming part of the CJA network? If yes, tell us about yourself /your organization and your climate struggles, successes and goals. Email us at: info [at]


Dear reader,

Hope things are going all right for you.

The last meeting of the Climate Justice Action network was August 28-29, and one of the main agenda items was mobilising for the October 12th global day and week of action in cooperation with Via Campesina. There are already many diverse actions announced worldwide, but at this point we are lacking a platform that groups can use to connect their struggles.

CJA is trying to create a sustainable, transparent and participatory network and we need your help and participation to do so!

To highlight the global dimension of the actions, to afford networking and to support an overview for the movement and media work, we are re-launching our website. We aim to interconnect actions there with an interactive map and serve as a platforms for more information about the actions and groups sponsoring them.

We would thus like to request:

* Do you plan (or do you know of groups planning) actions on the topic of energy/ climate/ crisis at 12th of October or during the week of 12th of October?
* Do you want those actions to be included in the context of the global day of action at the website?
* If you want to be included, please send us 1) a short description of your action and its aims and 2) a link to more information. Also, photo/video documentation of actions (after the fact of course) would be amazing!

Please be in contact via info [at]

We also want to take the opportunity to remind you about the call out for “A Thousand Cancuns,” especially the global day of action on December 7th. Please be in touch about this as well if you are planning anything—the callout is attached.

In solidarity,

Some activist of CJA