On the 27th and 28th of September, COPAC- a vibrant alliance partner of SAFSC- convened an event with students, grassroots activists, trade unions and religious organisations on the theme: Water and Food Crisis : Towards A Climate Justice Charter For South Africa. The idea of a Charter comes out of our activism, on food, seed and water sovereignty which commenced in 2014. Our strategy concept note for Climate Justice Charter self-organised and initiated dialogues in communities is available for download at this link.
• The purpose for the climate justice charter and process is to:
o Unite important players in the fragmented civil society, environmental justice and climate justice and water sectors of South Africa, to encourage a re-alignment of climate justice forces.
o Ensure those most affected by climate change and shocks, particularly the working class, the poor, the unemployed and the landless have voice and lead this process of eco-centric transformation
o Develop a progressive; grassroots inspired Climate and Water Charter to:
Recognise the class, racial, gender and ecological impacts of carbon and climate capitalism
Advance generational justice
Critique the failed role of political parties in the climate crisis
Construct a narrative around climate justice and a transformative just transition
Serve as a tool to engage government stakeholders to ensure that climate change is placed on the national agenda.
Provide a compass to build pathways from below to achieve systemic change and advance systemic alternatives from below
Key themes for the Charter to be elaborated in grassroots dialogues relate to systemic alternatives that would bring down carbon emissions and ensure we sustain life as climate shocks hit. These themes include:
• Principles for the charter
o Our conception of the just transition for South Africa taking into account class, race, gender and ecological relations
o Systemic alternatives related to land use, water, energy, food, production, consumption, waste, transport, housing, finance;
o The role of the climate emergency state and our international relations as a climate justice society;
o Communication, education and awareness raising to mobilise society
o The role and form of peoples power from below
We want alternatives, answers, viewpoints, inputs from below related to these themes. South Africa has 18 million children, who need to be centrally engaging in this conversation. Moreover, every sector in civil society (faith, civic, cultural, sport, student, gender, NGO etc.), progressive movements and grassroots community organisations must be invited to input. We want self organisation from below in schools, community halls, under trees, in taxi ranks and workplaces. Have conversations on the above themes and share your ideas. Own this process and participate.
Links to short videos of Prof Vishwas Satgar and Ferrial Adam, climate justice activists, outlining the ideas behind the charter will be shared as soon as they are available.
Please send your inputs to Jane Cherry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your inputs will feed into the drafting and adoption of the Climate Justice Charter for South Africa at a Peoples Assembly in 2019.