In France and across the world, organisations and citizens mobilised to show that civil society is preparing for COP21, with the ambition of building a solid and long-lasting movement for Climate Justice.
Environmental organisations mobilised many people around important initiatives, notably in Rennes, Lille, Aix en Provence and Strasbourg - where an original and playful demonstration showed its mobilising potential: the egotistical anti-ecological protest.
Other organisations made the most of pre-arranged events that weekend (France Libertés at the Zero Hour Festival in the Val de Marne, debate at the European Forum for Alternatives ...) to tackle climate issues.
May 30th and 31st were also an opportunity for many organisations to protest against pointless large-scale projects: the Farmworkers Confederation (Confédération Paysanne) organised large rallies around the 1,000-cow dairy factory and the 25,000-piglet farm. Others mobilised against the industrialisation of farming in the Limousin region.
The Toxic Tour, organised in the Paris region over the weekend, set out to denounce the area's pollution hot-spots, and the Europacity project in northern Paris. Some groups, like the TACA collective in Bordeaux, decided to meet at a symbolic landmark: the Signal building, threatened by rising sea levels.
To denounce those reponsible for climate change, ATTAC and Friends of the Earth, criss-crossed France initiating non-violent actions in Total petrol stations.
There were Vélorution cycling demos in Nancy and Bayonne. In Rouen the Collective for Free Transport collected signatures for its cause, in a convivial atmosphere with much fanfare.
Alternatiba Givors was a significant event on the weekend, which brought together a huge amount of people and encouraged the formation of a Rhone Climate Coalition which, although it existed before, was made official at this event.
Significantly, there was widespread participation of faith groups: marches for the climate in Paris and Lyon were organised by United Christians of France and Youth for the Climate, among others. In Paris there was also MEDMOB, a meditation session organised in a public space.
The weekend was a chance to promote numerous citizen initiatives, and to suggest alternatives in the face of climate change: inauguration of a compost maker, visits to an ecological building site, development of farmers' solutions.
In Paris CCFD Terre Solidaire organised a rally outside its headquarters to raise awareness of the populations affected by climate change, and 'environmental migrants'.
Artistic and festive events, such as the Aliens Parade (Parade Métèque) in Paris and Dance Workshops in the south of France, were equally a chance to get people's attention and to mobilise in other ways around the climate issue. The Petits Débrouillards (literally, the Resourceful Kids) organised numerous 'Science Tour' workshops across France to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.
The mobilisation had an international dimension, notably in Africa with rallies in Senegal (Dakar bouge pour le Climat - Dakar Moves for the Climate), Tunisia (Kool Climat), and the "Let's Get Wet for the Climate" march in Geneva.
Some of these initiatives will be on show during the weekend event, organised by the Coalition, at Nanterre on June 13th and 14th. Incubator workshops will allow discussions around these types of mobilisation, in order to multiply their number in the run-up to December.
Here are some of the photos of that weekend:
Translation : Steve Browjohn
Proofreading : Louise Peltier
And vidéos !
Why the 30th and 31st May?
The last May weekend was falling in the middle of an extraordinary period of international mobilisation, including among other things: a series of events across the USA marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; demonstrations on the fringes of the G7 summit in Germany; while in France on World Environment Day (5 June) riders on a 4-seater bicycle were to set out on a journey as an Alternatiba initiative (180 stages over 5000 kilometres to raise awareness of climate concerns). The Coalition has made this weekend the occasion for hundreds of new and existing campaigns to take place. Through these two days of initiatives, we have highlighted our determination to act as one against the crisis facing the climate, both in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) and beyond, in order to become a real movement for climate justice.
In large communities or small, whether organized or informal, people have joined organizations' or taken indivual initiatives to go a step further towards a world of climate justice.
*Alternatiba is a movement for climate justice which showcases alternatives to climate change and the energy crisis.