Green Left Weekly caught up with some of the Climate Change — Social Change conference participants. Here's what they had to say.
Roberto Perez, Cuban ecologist
We are a planet with a population of 6 billion people and almost 200 countries. What is happening is that a few people in a few countries are stealing from the rest of humanity the right to use energy for good. And there is a total waste of materials. They have been doing that for a long time, which is very sad. But to try to continue doing that in the emergency situation we face is totally criminal, unfair and it needs to be stopped.
It is very important to see that the awareness about climate change includes the social inequities in this problem. It is very important to see how people are waking up, especially in Australia, whose position towards climate change until the last year has been very improper in my opinion. I am very glad to see people pressure the government while trying to find solutions at the community level, the government level and the legal framework level.
This means that different groups of people that are doing progressive work in food production and sustainable agriculture, people who are doing great work on conservation and environmental awareness, and people who are doing work on social justice and fairness need to unite in order to face this problem. Because this problem affects all humans, it is the time, right now, to bring groups together for the common good.
Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth International Climate Change Team
What I have been able to witness being a part of an international climate change team is that when you think you have got it hard in Australia, and the forces of evil seem insurmountable, the things that people in other parts of the world live through and still have the spirit to rise up against is absolutely phenomenal.
I've worked very closely with a couple of campaigners in Colombia and they get death threats, they get firebombed. It is just amazing what people work through, and people get to a point when their wish to live in a different world is greater than the fear that they feel and the enormity of the task. The promise of how fantastic the alternative world could be is also amazing.