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As the global response to COVID-19 strengthens, we’re seeing countless acts of compassion, community solidarity, and resilience, even as the death toll grows.
Doctors, nurses, and ordinary workers all over have been pushing ahead on the frontlines to slow the rate of transmission. Yet there’ve been some stark reminders that the climate crisis doesn’t stop amid a global pandemic.
The strongest storm of the year has just slammed into the Pacific islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. On top of that, fossil fuel companies are exploiting this moment to drive forward more climate-wrecking projects.
It’s enraging – and that’s why it’s so important that we all unite right now around the principles for a Just Recovery from COVID-19. Thousands of organisations and people across the world have already signed on.
Our coronavirus response must put people and planet – not corporations and polluting industries – first. It’s the only way we can build back better from this crisis. Please watch and share this new video about the 5 Just Recovery principles now, so that our voices are heard around the globe.
In the news below, you’ll find plenty of stories from people keeping up their campaign efforts even in these tough times, giving us all a shot at a more sustainable, just future.
Cyclone Harold: A deadly category 5 storm – the strongest of 2020 so far – slammed into the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu just as the country declared a national emergency for COVID-19. Some residents have had to ignore distancing orders and seek refuge in evacuation centers. Medical supplies are already scant. The cyclone then ravaged its way through Fiji and Tonga, having already killed 27 people in the Solomon Islands last week.
“We now face two life-threatening disasters at once – and both threaten the existence of an already disadvantaged people,” said Fenton Lutunatabua, Pacific Managing Director at 350.org. It’s a harrowing example of the injustice of the climate crisis, which hits those who did the least to cause it hardest. Read more
‘Unacceptable’: Activists are sounding the alarm as the oil industry takes advantage of this moment of crisis to push ever more fossil fuels. With talks underway in the United States for a fourth stimulus package on infrastructure, thousands are writing to Congress to make sure Big Oil doesn’t see a penny.
And the Keystone XL pipeline is trying to go forward, after some states pushed through new measures protecting pipelines as “critical infrastructure.” TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) has dispatched workers along the route despite the public health threat, putting them and vulnerable rural and Indigenous communities at risk.
We can’t let fossil fuel companies manipulate COVID-19 at the expense of our communities: sign the petition now to demand TC Energy halt their Keystone XL activity and withdraw its workers now.
Hundreds took part in a coordinated online Climate Strike hosted in Turkey last Friday.
Climate action continues: The UN announced last week that its annual climate talks – COP26 due to be held in Glasgow – will be postponed because of coronavirus. But organizers are adapting their plans and holding online actions to keep climate and a Just Recovery on the agenda.
In Turkey on Friday, a hundreds-strong digital strike and livestream concert featuring Turkish artists was broadcast on Youtube, with thousands more tuning in. Expect more #ClimateStrikeOnline actions from across the globe this Friday – and please keep posting your own solidarity snapshots on social media.
If you’re looking for actions to run from home, try these creative ideas from our Coronavirus Organizing guide. And if your climate justice group is shifting to an online format for the first time, you can request ‘hands-on’, one-to-one coaching from our group of experienced facilitators by filling out the form here.
#CutAllTies: Ahead of Rio Tinto’s annual general meeting this Wednesday, people took to social media and email to tell the mining giant to ditch Australia’s Mineral Council, one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel lobbying groups. The company has already admitted the Council is undermining the 2015 Paris Agreement by promoting coal. Take a moment to write to Rio Tinto and tell them it’s time to cut all ties with the Council. It’s a simple and effective campaign action to take, even in isolation.
Just Recovery: Amid the COVID-19 emergency response, we’re starting to see Just Recovery principles put into action. Portugal will treat migrants as residents to ensure they have access to basic health services, and Spain intends to set up a permanent basic universal income to help people recover from the economic devastation. In Ukraine, people are opposing cuts to health care and education budgets that would maintain coal subsidies, while activists in the UK are calling for strict climate conditions on airlines. And this New York landlord cancelled April rent for his tenants, urging them to stay safe and support loved ones.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you read and sign on to the Just Recovery principles. You can use the #JustRecovery hashtag to share inspiring local and national examples that embody them.
This new podcast series from HEATED looks at the relationship between coronavirus and the climate crisis. The first episode featuring 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben is available here, and you’ll find new episodes when they’re released on the HEATED site. Bonus: you get special access to extended interviews if you subscribe.
Hear from Hinako, from the 350 Japan team, as she reports back on their Moshi Moshi bank call-in campaign. Three of the world’s biggest coal financiers are Japanese banks – so the team decided to mobilize people to call customer hotlines and push them to change their policies. Read more on how they did it, and find out what’s next
That’s the news for now – stay safe, stay strong, and take care. If you want more news like this in your inbox, sign up here for Fossil Free News.