It’s with mixed feelings that we’re reporting the final chapter of the Gears of Change Youth Media project. Due to the high costs of international travel to support our work, we are shutting our doors and will no longer be updating the blog or providing coverage under this name, although we will continue to be deeply engaged in the movement for climate justice.
The Gears of Change Youth Media project was launched in the buildup to the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban, South Africa, and continued to provide coverage of the international climate policy arena through the Rio pre-meetings, as well as at the UN Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in June of 2012.
During that time, we forged strong friendships with many amazing youth and civil society leaders, and deepened our analysis of the different trends and players influencing the intergovernmental frameworks on environmental governance. Much of our work focused on better understanding the UN’s market-based policies- policies which have, over the past decade, become hegemonic in the sense that they are considered the ‘normal’ course of action by participating governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and the private sector. These policies, such as carbon trading, are vigorously opposed by social movements and many civil society networks, if not for the sole reason that they have by all counts empirically failed to meet their mandate in facilitating a transition away from our current high-carbon fossil fuel based societies.
In addition to monitoring climate policy, the Gears of Change team worked to better facilitate inside/outside communication and strategy between accredited organizations participating as stakeholders at the UN, and social movement networks- especially youth networks- organizing marches, events, and awareness-raising outside of the official proceedings. We worked alongside Global Justice Ecology Project to support and amplify the work of organizations like La Via Campesina, and the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), by providing coverage of actions and events. We also split our time between the UN “Conferences of the Polluters (COP’s),” and concurrent peoples’ summits, like the Cupula dos Povos in Rio de Janiero.
Gears of Change also actively supported and participated in direct action at the United Nations- providing coverage of actions as they occurred, sharing press releases from groups who’d been removed from the proceedings, and participating in ‘unsanctioned’ actions such as the Occupy COP17 action, in which members of Gears of Change were carried out of the conference by UN security. Due to our involvement in direct action, two of our team- Lindsey and Keith- have been banned from the UNFCCC conferences until further notice. Direct action is a crucial tactic which has a history of being used at the UN climate summits, and we look forward to reports of people taking direct action at the UN COP18 climate conference to be held later this month in Doha, Qatar.
While Gears of Change may be closing its doors, our team isn’t going anywhere. We’re continuing to work with Global Justice Ecology Project, which coordinates the campaign to stop Genetically Engineered trees, and exposes false solutions like tree-derived agrofuels and biomass incineration for energy. Global Justice Ecology Project also manages a popular climate justice newsfeed, www.climate-connections.org, which we’re involved with maintaining.
A few of us are also organizing on the ground here in Burlington, with Rising Tide Vermont. Over the past year, Rising Tide Vermont- a local chapter of Rising Tide North America– has been working alongside Innu First Nation community members to oppose the expansion of Hydro Quebec’s mega-dams (which power Vermont, and are classified here as ‘green’ energy), and is currently organizing to stop the construction of a natural gas pipeline that would run under Lake Champlain, as well as a project to pipe tar sands oil through New England. We look forward to continuing to build resistance to regional infrastructure expansion projects, under the banner of “No fossil fuels. No false solutions.”
And with that, Gears of Change is evolving, and moving on. Thanks to everyone who helped make Gears of Change Youth Media a reality, and an especially big thanks to folks who supported our Kickstarter in October of 2011! Another big thanks to Anne Petermann, Orin Langelle, and Jeff Conant with Global Justice Ecology Project; also Rob Fish, the Durban Jungle House crew, our awesome advisors Brian Tokar, Pablo Bose, Janet Redmond, Kirsty Wright, Christy Rodgers, and Orin- We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without all of your generous support- Thanks!
yours in movement,
the Gears of Change team
(Lindsey, Keith, Will and Avery)