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Richmond Hosts West Coast Convergence for Climate Justice




            Friday to Sunday, September 18 to 20, Richmond will host the West Coast Convergence for Climate Justice, a community forum presented by fifteen environmental and social justice organizations.  Similar successful events have been held in three other regions of the United States and many others abroad.


            The three-day camp will focus on the crisis of Global Warming. Experts in their field will discuss the causes and consequences of this environmental “meltdown” in order to provide community members with the most accurate and up-to-date scientific information.


            In breakout sessions, participants will brainstorm affordable, accessible and community-led solutions in energy, food, and green jobs.  These interactive workshops will focus on what we can do in our own lives, families and communities on a practical level that can also forestall the global crisis.  Topics will include urban gardens, composting, solar paneling, etc.


             The convergence will take place at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at 3200 Barrett Avenue.  Child-care, Spanish translation, and meals will be provided.  The event is entirely free, and Richmond residents are especially invited.  Persons can attend all or part of the three days.


            For more information and to see a complete schedule of topics and times, google West Coast Climate Convergence, or contact Margaret Jordan at mjordan00@gmail.com or 421-3673.



West Coast Convergence for Climate Justice

September 18-21, 2009


A Collaboration of


Art in Action s Asian-Pacific Environmental Network s Communities for a Better Environment

Direct Action to Stop the War s Environmental Justice & Climate Change Initiative s Headrush

Movement Generation s Rainforest Action Network s Richmond Progressive Alliance s Ruckus Society

Rising Tide North America s West County Toxics Coalition s 350.org



Climate Convergence Background

The first Climate Convergence (Camp for Climate Action) took place in the UK in 2006 where over 600 grassroots activists, concerned with government and industry inaction on tackling the looming climate crisis, set up a camp for sustainable living outside the Drax coal power plant in West Yorkshire. Since 2006, nine other climate action camps have started up around the world, spanning three continents, including three camps here in the US. The common themes of these camps have been: a) showcasing community-based solutions to the climate, food and energy crises; b) using creative direct means to support local community struggles against industrial pollution; and, c) providing a forum for the voices of socio-economic and environmental justice within the context of global warming.


Convergence for Climate Justice

This year, a coalition of Bay Area social and environmental justice groups have started planning the West Coast Convergence to be held August 12-16, 2009 in Richmond, California. These groups have agreed to partner in providing the camp direction, leadership and the critical human resources (staff time) necessary for its success. In order to demonstrate that any durable global strategy needs to be housed in a local, community-led solutions framework, these organizations have agreed that the camp will focus on supporting local initiatives with the following objectives:


Ø  Empower communities with accurate information about the causes of climate change.

Ø  Showcase affordable, accessible and community-led solutions in energy, food and green jobs as a key part of a global strategy for mitigating climate change and as a viable alternative to market-driven corporate solutions.

Ø  Initiate collaborative strategies and ongoing local projects that open pathways for ecologically sound and economically just futures.


A Big Opportunity for Local Solutions and Global Climate Justice

The greater Bay Area has one of the highest densities in the US of groups engaged in advocacy, organizing and enterprise associated with fighting global warming and developing renewable energy. This area also houses some of the world’s most prolific community-based initiatives for environmental and socio-economic justice – groups that have trail-blazed paths for communities impacted by climate-polluting industries worldwide. Such an activist-rich environment provides a unique opportunity for collaboration on local, state, national and global climate strategies that are critical for resilient solutions. 2009 being a potential watershed year for UN climate negotiations, with the new US administration poised to redefine its terms of engagement, the Climate Convergence poses a unique opportunity to amplify the Principles and Pathways of Climate Justice for US policymakers on the road to the Copenhagen Summit in November 2009.


With this in mind, the partner groups have prioritized the following activities for the camp:


1.       Workshops & trainings on Climate Change and Climate Justice; Community Organizing and Strategic Campaigning; Media & Creative Communications; Sustainability Skills such as Permaculture, Urban Gardening, Solar power installation; Political Action & Movement Creation; Building the Green Economy.


2.       Strategic Meetings of partner groups and key allies from neighboring communities, Southern California and West Coast, including meetings with labor unions and political leaders.


3.       General Public Events including Climate Justice speakers’ panels, sustainable living demonstrations, toxic industry tours, and entertainment.



If Not Now, When?

The repercussions of the Wall Street financial “meltdown” demonstrated conclusively that the economic system is globally interconnected. Even more so is the global climate system. Government reaction to the financial crisis was swift and bold.  Government reaction to the equally disastrous climate crisis has been timid when not actually hindering public awareness. Yet what could be more persuasive than the “meltdown” of the icebergs and glaciers? The threat to all life on the planet in the form of floods, droughts, famine, and massive hurricanes is real.


Climate Convergence operates on the principle “think globally, act locally.”  In the absence of government pluck, in the face of corporate obstruction, communities all over the world are becoming informed and eager participants in the creation of a better, green, sustainable, social and environmentally just world. Climate Convergence hopes to be a bridge to that future.   


Foundations and individual donors are providing funding for Climate Convergence.  Attendance at all plenary sessions and workshops will be free to participants.  The Convergence is committed to outreach to Richmond residents through neighborhood councils, civic and faith-based organizations.  Spanish language translation and childcare with be available.  Meals will be served to those attending full day.  The event will be wheel chair accessible. 



website: West Coast Climate Convergence


For more information contact:

Michael Beer

1247 S. 58th Street

Richmond, CA 94804

telephone: (510) 235-5519

email: michaelandrewbeer@yahoo.com