People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 2015.

How the People’s Climate Movement Day of Action connected the TPP, COP21 and justice-related issues

Interview with Economic Justice Campaigner Jenny Bock

As world leaders are meeting in Paris this week to create an international climate agreement, and with a final draft expected to be reached by this Friday, we wanted to highlight that people in the U.S. demand world leaders to take strong action on climate. The recent momentum in the U.S. began on October 14 when thousands of people all across the country from Washington D.C. to Seattle came together for the People’s Climate Movement Day of Action to demand climate justice and strong climate action in Paris. With 200 actions spanning 47 states (plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), the momentum has gained steam. Jenny Bock, Friends of the Earth’s economic justice campaigner, joins us today to talk about the day of action from her time on the road in Connecticut.

Brittany Matter: So Jenny, tell us about being on the road in Connecticut during the People’s Climate Movement.

Jenny Bock: The day of action event I helped lead in Westport, CT went really well. Friends of the Earth and allies from the Connecticut Trade Coalition held an information session to talk about the connections between global trade, climate change, economic justice and public health and how the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal will affect Connecticut residents. 20 people attended which was our turnout goal! We had a great group of labor allies and local Connecticut trade activists attend. We got people up to speed on why the TPP is a bad trade deal and that Congress is expected to vote on the deal as early as February of 2016. We had different speakers talk about the negative implications the TPP would have for the environment and climate change, food safety, labor rights and access to affordable medicine.

People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action information session in Westport, Connecticut on October 14, 2015.

BM: What did you and the Connecticut residents like about the information session?

JB: We talked about how we really liked that we were drawing the connections between these issues. Our coalition is a very diverse coalition; someone from the labor community spoke and they drew the connection that we have this common enemy — corporations — who are trying to roll back progress and suppress all of us , for example, he mentioned that there have been crackdowns on labor unions in the last decade. The TPP would undermine labor rights abroad and offshore a lot of jobs to other countries, making it harder for labor organizations and their members in the U.S to organize and demand high quality job standards. For climate change, there are the fossil fuel companies trying to roll back climate action. We all have the same enemy so we all have to work together to stop corporations from controlling the political climate and achieve justice within our different issues. There was good energy in the room and it felt really good to be with everyone. It’s refreshing to be around people who are so passionate.

People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action in Washington D.C. on October 14, 2015.

BM: Let’s talk about the TPP a little bit more. How would the TPP give corporations more power?

JB: The TPP would allow big corporations and wealthy financiers to sue for millions of dollars to make up for the cost of complying with climate and other environmental regulations. And it’s designed to protect the free trade of dirty, climate-disrupting fossil fuels.. In addition, TPP would also undermine food safety, labor rights and human rights and decrease access to affordable medicine.

BM: How does the TPP impact the climate agreement?

JB: The TPP, if it’s passed, could potentially undermine the climate agreement and undo any domestic or international climate policies that have been implemented. The reason is because the TPP doesn’t have any explicit climate protection policies. It doesn’t mention climate change in the agreement, and yet it would still allow for the production and consumption of more fossil fuels. For example, the TPP would lead to an increase in fracking in the U.S. and exports of natural gas abroad.

BM: How did Connecticut residents react to the TPP?

JB: The People’s Climate March, including the information session in Connecticut, showed that Americans want and are ready to take climate action and are looking to our world leaders in Paris to take strong climate action. By taking strong climate action, it would send a message to Congress that the U.S. and the world are taking steps to address climate change, and that trade deals like the TPP would undermine climate action. A lot of the work that needs to be done to stop the TPP is going to happen after Paris. President Obama’s advance pledge to the Paris climate negotiations represents only one-fifth of our fair share of climate action, based on our historical responsibility and capacity. That’s why this movement is only beginning and we need to continue holding President Obama accountable as a climate leader and commit the U.S. to doing its fair share of climate action.

BM: Thanks for joining us today Jenny and telling us more about the October 14 People’s Climate March and the TPP.

Join the movement: RSVP to our rally this Saturday, Dec. 12 at the White House where we’ll be demanding President Obama listen to SCIENCE and JUSTICE and commit to strong climate action in Paris!

Not in D.C.? Send a letter to President Obama asking him to take strong action in Paris.

Creative activists host live theater and feature the Monopoly man with trade dogs at the People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action in Seattle, Washington on October 14, 2015.
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