We the people of East Asia, let’s join with 9·24 March for climate justice!

We the people of East Asia, let’s join with 9·24 March for climate justice!

Climate Justice March in Seoul on September 24, 2022

2022년 9월 7일

[읽을거리]기후정의[LANG·語言 🌐]ENGLISHenglish, 기후위기, 기후정의운동, 대중시위

On September 24, in Seoul, South Korea, grassroots activists will gather and march to demand climate justice. In the wake of the growing impact of the climate crises, climate justice movements have taken place around the world. The first large public gathering for climate justice in Korea was held two years ago when more than 5,000 people marched shoulder to shoulder.

For the past two years, however, public gatherings have been discouraged due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, governments and corporations have propagated greenwashing slogans of green growth and net zero emissions.

Reflecting Koreans’ growing public awareness of carbon inequality and climate injustice, the movement calling for climate justice has been a vocal critic of the government and corporations as it created broad solidarity with other grassroots movements representing the underrepresented groups – workers, immigrants, poor, victims of injustice, etc. – in an effort to be more inclusive. At least 20,000 people are expected to join the upcoming Climate Justice March on September 24. The march will provide a positive momentum for the climate justice movement to reach a larger public.

More than 200 civil society organizations are currently members of the Climate Justice March Preparation Committee, and our slogans and demands are as follows. Save Lives, End the Catastrophic System!

Climate Disaster

We live in a society where climate disasters are normalized. All forms of disasters – heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods – are now commonplace.

Climate became a source of disaster as the greenhouse gas emissions continue to mount and natural resources continue to be extracted to the destruction of our ecosystem. The destructive practice is supported by the corporations and governments that seek to amass more power, profit, and wealth.

We must ask ourselves who and how the climate disaster is impacting the most. For some, the impact might be about losing an expensive asset like a car to floods; for others, it might be a matter of life or death. For corporations, climate disaster might be an opportunity to rebrand their image. However, for other vulnerable populations like the self-employed farmers, fishermen, subcontract workers, and nonhuman animals, the climate crisis is a direct threat to their livelihood and way of living.

End the Current System

A month ago, subcontract workers at a shipbuilding company in Korea, who had never spoken up before, finally shouted out loud.

One of the workers held a sign that read “We can’t live like this.” It was a statement of reclaiming the right to dignity that they had long been denied.

We feel desperate upon hearing the warnings by scientists about the climate crisis. It is frustrating to witness the growing frequency and scale of climate disasters. We feel hopeless to acknowledge that the cause of the climate crisis is corporate greed and the endless pursuit of capitalist growth, which we seemingly have little control over. However, it is time to refuse and resist the status quo and start making change. We can’t live like this! This is not just a saying. We really can’t live like this anymore.

9.24 Climate Justice March

Disasters and crises give us both fear and despair, but climate justice shows us an alternative way of coping collectively. Through the lens of climate justice, we can ask who to hold accountable, what to change, and how to build alternative ways. Changes are made through struggles and acts of resistance against the powers that be. Let us meet at Gwanghwamun area, Seoul on September 24, to demand change. Let us enact the power of climate justice at the Climate Justice March.

For people in Korea : This march offers a safe and free participatory space. It is open to all including those whose first language is not Korean. We encourage people to bring their own signs and demands. Participants can also bring instruments and objects that can make a loud noise during the march.

Place of meeting : Gwanghwamun area, Seoul (near City Hall Station (line 1) or Gwanghwamun Station (line 5). You will find us if you walk toward speaker sounds.
Time : Pre-march event (12pm), rally (3pm), and march (4pm for 2 hrs)
Info : https://action4climatejustice.kr
Contact : action4climatejustice@gmail.com

For people in East Asia : We invite people in the East Asian countries to join the climate justice march from where they are on September 24th or during the last week of September. Let us come together through varying ways – i.e. press conferences, picketing, and marching – to raise awareness and create a pan-East Asian solidarity for climate justice.We request messages of solidarity – in forms of text message, video message, etc. – for the Climate Justice March to be held on September 24th in Korea.

We will share your messages with the Korean civil society. We believe that your messages of commitment to climate justice will inspire the future climate justice movements in East Asia.

email : platformc@proton.me
telegram : https://t.me/mkmodus
deadline : 22 September, 2022 / 11:00 p.m.

Demand by the People for Climate Justice March

We represent those who led the Climate Crisis Emergency Action Korea on September 21, 2019. We are determined to join those who have already been on the frontline to awaken the public and demand to realize climate justice. We are the people who contributed little to greenhouse gas emissions, yet are subject to its negative impact in all respects. We are the people who have been fighting against the system, doing what we can in our own respective lives to resolve the climate crisis.

In 2019, we advanced three demands to the Korean government: First, declare a state of emergency in recognition of the climate crisis. Second, establish plans for the future including zero emissions. Third, create an independent institution that can respond to the climate crisis in a systematic way. The government ostensibly endorsed these demands as it declared to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. However, in reality the government encouraged the greenwashing acts of corporations in pursuit of amassing profit under the disguise of ‘green growth.’

It became clear that the climate crisis cannot be resolved solely by demanding a few changes in the policy or the system. It also became clear that we cannot let the people in power continue to neglect climate justice. We need new demands, proposals, and commitments.

Our demands are directed at the governments and businesses that dominate the current system that led to the climate crisis. In particular, we call for a national scale of intervention. Our demands are a proposal as well as commitment to the society as a whole. Our demands are directed both at the national and international community. Our demands are towards governments and businesses in the global northern hemisphere and the industrialized countries. Our demands are both a proposal and commitment to all fellow citizens on the planet Earth.

We need to end fossil fuel and the life-destroying system.

The most direct and impactful cause of the climate crisis is the emission of carbon dioxide from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies have amassed enormous wealth by mining and supplying huge amounts of oil, coal, and natural gas, while pouring a enormous amount of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. If they mined all of the currently-owned fossil fuel reserves, the goal of keeping the rise of the temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius will rise to 3-4 degrees Celsius.

What supports the operation of large-scale mining projects and emission of carbon dioxide that accelerate climate change is the growth system of capitalism. The fossil fuel industry is only a part of the larger system. The crisis has been driven by the corporations that sought after the profit and endless growth generating rapid and continuous greenhouse gas emissions.

All stages of using fossil fuel – the production, distribution and consumption – should stop immediately. This includes stopping the operation of the existing power plants as well as the construction of new coal and LNG power plants. To support the process, there should be a rapid and sustainable expansion of renewable energy production like solar and wind power. Production of internal combustion engine vehicles should also immediately stop. All forms of national and international funding and subsidies for fossil fuel development, supply, and consumption should come to an end. Instead, there should be support for the industry for phasing out fossil fuel and protection of people’s right to energy. We need to stop profiteering of the fossil fuel industry and strengthen democratic and public control of the industry.

Nuclear power is by no means a solution to the climate crisis. The focus should not be about carbon dioxide reduction. Nuclear power production complicates solutions to the climate and ecological crisis because of the risk that nuclear accidents carry and the lack of radioactive waste management. Nuclear energy and fossil fuels share commonalities in that they both transfer greatest risk to the socially disadvantaged and to the future in pursuit of profit.

Extractivism through mining entails destroying everything through mining, producing, consuming, and disposing beyond ecological limits. It leads to ecological crises such as rapid extinction, land and marine pollution, deforestation, and oppression and exploitation of people in local communities. This, along with an unjust free trade system, hinders efforts to create a safe and just food system. Unethical and unsustainable factory farming and industrial fisheries is one of many examples that demonstrates the system of destruction. We need a just transition.

We need to end all forms of inequality.

The climate crisis is inherently unequal and unjust. The greenhouse gas emissions that led to the current crisis were largely driven by profit-seeking corporations as well as the investment and consumption patterns sustained by the enormous wealth of the upper class. However, the damages are heavily concentrated on poor countries and less affluent people, who emit very little greenhouse gas.

Climate inequality means that economic, political, social and ecological inequalities continue and worsen in the course of the climate crisis. Inequality is both a consequence and cause of the climate crisis. Therefore, the solution to the climate crisis should fundamentally be about restoring social equality and justice. We need to firmly regulate exploitation for profit and rent by corporations and the upper classes and strengthen efforts of wealth redistribution. Renewable energy, often cited as the solution to the climate crisis, should also be subject to public control and transportation, housing, medical care, education, and food must be guaranteed in the form of universal public service or commons.

The climate crisis is sustained by global inequality. South Korea, labeled a “climate villain” by an international research group, must stop the acts that reinforce global climate inequality. The Korean government should not only strengthen its greenhouse gas reduction goal in an equitable way in line with global responsibility but also should not transfer its responsibility to other countries. Both the Korean corporations and government should immediately stop the development of the overseas fossil fuel projects and fully accept Korea’s responsibility for ‘loss and damages’ of the Global South.

Voices of the frontline communities need to be amplified. 

The search for climate solutions should be led by those who had withstood the irreversible consequences of the climate crisis, not the government and corporations that sustain wrong policies and practices. If anyone, it is they who deserve to lead the discussion for resolving the climate crisis and building climate justice.

The people who are the most vulnerable to social inequality and climate injustice are residents of the slum area whose lives are threatened by heatwaves; youths losing their prospects for the present and future; residents suffering from degenerative projects such as construction of coal power plants, nuclear power plants, unnecessary airports, and power transmission towers; farmers losing crops and land due to climate disasters and large-scale renewable energy projects on farmland; workers at risk of losing employment without appropriate measures; women, LGBTQ, people with special needs, and nonhuman animals that are part of the ecosystem.

It is unjust that the discussions about the solutions to the climate crisis are dominated by the same agents – the financial institutions, corporations, and politicians – that created the climate crisis. Let us push them off the discussion table. Let us mute the voices of so-called experts that have distorted scientific data in order to advance the interests of profit-seeking corporations. The solutions and alternatives to the climate crisis must begin by giving strength and power to the voices of the people fighting to create new paths. We need a ‘democracy for the excluded’ and ‘democracy from the bottom-up.’ There is an urgent need for a democratic process and system that can convey the voices of the frontline communities in time of the climate crisis. This is how climate justice begins.

We are the solution and the alternative.

The power to realize these demands lies within us. We do not expect anyone else to solve this crisis. We are the solution, and we are the alternative. As people on the frontline to the climate crisis, we understand that it is us who can create alternative pathways to solve the climate crisis and become the social force for realizing those paths. It is us who will create new pathways for all to live with dignity in the era of climate crisis.

Hearing about the grim predictions made by scientists about the climate crisis makes us feel dreadful. Knowing that climate disasters are becoming an everyday reality makes us feel discouraged. Some of us feel guilty when we ask if our current way of living is contributing to the climate crisis. When we think about how we don’t have the means to prevent the climate crisis, we feel powerless. We recognize these are natural feelings. At the same time, we are fully aware we cannot allow ourselves to drown in negative emotions.

Like all forms of inequality and destruction, we are aware that the current climate crisis and disaster should not be taken as an inevitable consequence or immutable status-quo. Rather, it is time to start a new path by demonstrating collective anger at the system and holding them accountable. Let us voice our demands and pledges loudly at the March for Climate Justice on Sep 24. 🌸