Press Release: Earthlife Africa Jhb Opposes French Crackdown on Climate Action

Earthlife Africa Jhb

The French government has banned large-scale mobilisations at this year’s UNFCCC COP21 in Paris. Earthlife Africa Jhb opposes this move, which we see as a strike against global citizens’ right to protest over the impending climate disaster.

As an organisation founded in the anti-apartheid struggle, we understand how fundamental the right to assembly and protest is. This right is at the core of South Africa’s democratic liberation, and we, as individuals, have this right not by virtue of it being granted to us, but as fundamental part of our status as human beings.

Simply put, we have this right independent of what any government says, and the South African Constitution recognises this right, rather than granting it to us.

While terrorism is a significant political and social problem in the world today, so is climate change. We are in the middle of a drought exacerbated by minor climate change. Unless there is a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, millions across our continent will die. Africa’s poverty eradication measures will not be successful in a two degree plus world, and the continent’s economic slavery, bound to the cruel yoke of poverty and conflict, will continue.

By banning marches at COP21, the French government has turned its back on freedom (the struggle for which does not come without risk) and is letting the Islamic State undermine the ideal of a free people able to gather and congregate as they wish. In effect, the West’s response to terrorism has been to abandon progressive morality and the Enlightenment: they are becoming a mirror-image of criminal fundamentalism.

Earthlife Africa Jhb’s climate change march on the 28th of November 2015 will go ahead.

Start: 10am, West Gate Taxi Rank, Marshalltown, Johannesburg
Finish: 1pm, Eskom Regional offices, Smit Street, Braamfontein

Along with allied organisations, Earthlife Africa Jhb is marching to demand that the South African government reduces its emissions drastically—the first step is stop planned new coal-fired power stations such as Exxaro’s 1200MW Thabametsi station—and that COP21 results in a legally binding agreement that actually keeps global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius. We view our action as part of our global duty to prevent a threat to our common welfare across the globe. We will not bow to attempts by the Islamic State or the French government to take us away from the common goal of saving the planet for all of humanity.

For more information, please contact:

Makoma Lekalakala
Senior Programme Officer
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 82 682 9177

Lerato Maregele
Programme Officer
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 72 157 2155

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