The battle to save the planet doesn’t end with the Paris climate change conference

The battle to save the planet doesn’t end with the Paris climate change conference
France’s state of emergency won’t stop the green movement — Activists are determined government restrictions won’t prevent them from building a powerful grassroots movement for climate justice, explains Danielle Paffard of 350.org

After failure at Copenhagen in 2009, the stakes are high for progress at the UN climate summit in Paris (COP21). Scientists warn we are rapidly running out of time to protect the planet from the devastating effects of climate change, yet media and politicians have primed people not to expect much from the talks.

The three-month state of emergency France declared after the Paris terror attacks means marches, protests and demonstrations are currently illegal. Civil society groups are concerned this makes pressuring for the changes they would like to see much harder. But activists have adopted innovative tactics to ensure their voices don’t go unheard, such as creating a human chain and gathering thousands of empty shoes in Place de la Republique instead of marching.

“For many groups, especially French ones, the crushing of civil liberties has made them more determined to organise,” explains Danielle Paffard, a campaigner at climate action group 350.org, currently in Paris. “Lots of groups have come out strongly to say, ‘It’s our duty to mobilise, make our voices heard and not give up our civil liberties’. At this moment, it’s important that love wins out over fear and movements win out over injustice.”

Many see the state of emergency as designed to suppress dissent, as political gatherings are banned but football matches, trade fairs and Christmas markets have been allowed to go ahead while the summit is on.

But activists are determined not to lose sight of the bigger picture: making the changes necessary to avert climate change catastrophe will require a battle that doesn’t end with Paris.

“We’ve no doubt the agreement will be a step in the right direction but it will never deliver the level of climate justice that’s needed,” Dani explains. “But Paris is not the end. It’s part of the puzzle, but it’s not the most important part. Whatever the outcome, we’ll need really strong social movements to make sure the change – the just transition we need – happens. This is a moment to reflect and build momentum, so we’re stronger and ready to have the big fights we need to have after Paris. So for us, the movement is more important than what’s happening in the conference halls.”

Find out more about what climate action group 350.org are up to in Paris.

Latest on Huck

Fragile, intimate portraits of California’s imprisoned youth
Photography

Fragile, intimate portraits of California’s imprisoned youth

New monograph ‘A Poor Imitation of Death’ documents and humanises the stories of seven young Californian inmates, aged between 16 and 20 years old, who were tried as adults despite being juveniles.

Written by: Isaac Muk

I was made homeless 11 days after the Asylum decision I waited 16 years for
Election 2024

I was made homeless 11 days after the Asylum decision I waited 16 years for

After spending years waiting for a decision on his refugee status torture survivor Gideon discovered his traumatic fight for security was far from over.

Written by: Gideon, a client at Freedom from Torture

Save the date for Rishi’s Leaving Drinks
Election 2024

Save the date for Rishi’s Leaving Drinks

Huck is teaming up with our friends at Dalston Superstore and Queer House Party to bring you an election night viewing party like no other.

Written by: Ben Smoke

Activists claim victory after major UK festivals drop Barclays as a sponsor
Activism

Activists claim victory after major UK festivals drop Barclays as a sponsor

Groups and artists have been campaigning for Live Nation to drop the bank as a sponsor for Download, Latitude and Isle of Wight over alleged ties to the arms trade.

Written by: Ben Smoke

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East
Outdoors

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East

New photo book ‘Football كرة القدم’ draws together pictures from over a dozen photographers to explore the region’s vibrant football culture.

Written by: Isaac Muk

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes
Election 2024

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes

East London legend Crystal talks to Huck about her new campaign, Vote, Babes! which brings together over 20 drag artists to encourage young people to use their vote.

Written by: Ben Smoke

Sign up to our newsletter

Issue 80: The Ziwe issue

Buy it now