As activists prepare for one of the largest climate days in history – some 250,000 people are expected to march in New York on Sunday 21 September – a broad alliance of organisations and GCAP constituents including youth and indigenous people are holding a Celebration of Sustainability in El Salvador’s second largest city, Santa Ana.
This festival of solidarity will focus on creativity, invention and innovation in the areas of food sovereignty, natural medicine, folk arts and ecological tools like energy-saving stoves and solar energy.
If the world needs a reminder of the impacts of climate change and need for climate justice, it need look no further than Central America. A severe drought is currently ravaging crops. The UN World Food Programme says that 2.8 million people are struggling to feed themselves. Not long ago, the issue was flooding not drought, but the impact on people’s lives was the same. GCAP co-chair Marta Benavides wrote a first hand account of the floods in this Open Letter about ‘natural’ calamities.
In advance of the next round of climate talks, COP 20, in Peru in December, GCAP constituents in El Salvador have also helped draft a position paper on climate change to guide both government negotiators and civil society.
The document emphasises the importance of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ among nations ‘according to their respective capabilities’. It also advises policy-makers to avoid ‘market mechanisms’ to address climate change, noting that ‘neither theory nor evidence have proven that market instruments are the most effective and least expensive (way) to achieve mitigation’ and that while carbon credits have become popular, the concentration of atmospheric gases has also increased.