By Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier, Truthout | News Analysis
September 10, 2014
When the political system fails to provide necessary reforms, mass movements arise to force political change. The latest climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of irreversible climate impacts, and paints a dire forecast for future generations. Climate activists have come to the conclusion that when our governments are bought and sold, policy shifts must begin in the streets. Compromised politicians will not willingly act to save the ecological balance of the planet.
On September 21, a mass rally will be held in New York and other cities worldwide to spotlight the dearth of progress toward mitigating climate disaster. The event is predicted to be one of the largest protest demonstrations since the 1960s. Hundreds of diverse social justice and environmental groups have pledged to join the rally, or take direct action, in the form of nonviolent civil disobedience, in the week prior to the UN Climate Change Summit on September 23. Other mass actions in multiple cities and countries will precede or run parallel with the New York City protests.
Seventeen critical years have passed since 184 countries signed the Kyoto protocol, yet the tightening grip over US environmental policy by climate change "deniers" has completely derailed all institutional attempts at containing the crisis, both at home and internationally. The key impasse is the Republican Party, hijacked by campaign financing from Koch Industries' empire of Astroturf organizations like Americans for Prosperity and the Donors Trust, a funnel for dark money which, like an iceberg, operates mainly below the surface, shielding a vast network of right-wing corporate donors who raised $400 million in the 2012 elections alone.