Renée Annan: It is this simple. #YOMarcho10D

Yesterday I attended a massive climate March on the streets of Peru's capital Lima, with over 10,000 other people. The diversity and energy was incredible, with strong indigenous representation all the way through, workers in hard hats holding the back of the line to the many different Latin American and international organisations supporting the message that we have to "change the system not the climate."

Someone asked me in the days leading up to the March what I thought of that message, what it actually means and how we articulate it. 

On the surface it is an acknowledgment that in solving this massive issue we have to look past the bandaid and false solutions and face the root causes of climate change. Which is why I like it; climate change is the accumulative result of systemic dysfunction, to address the many impacts of it we must look at that dysfunction as well. 

But how do we do that in a world where many people, especially one in positions of power, do not clearly see the links between climate change and food, human rights, poverty, indigenous sovereignty, violence against women etc ?

I don't have the answer to this, but what we talked about that night before the March was values, the values which inform decisions made internationally, nationally and in our own homes need to shift. From individualistic, short-term, status quo & colonial; to collective, long-term, equitable, power sharing and wellbeing focussed. What is best for us & the  earth collectively, what keeps us healthy and well. 

The Climate Justice movement is working hard at highlighting all of these issues and pushing for solutions that don't perpetuate these injustices (like REDD+ - 

At the March yesterday I was overwhelmed with the strength of messaging about these simple things we have to protect which look after our well-being and the earth. There was strong stuff about the COP and how it is missing some key elements, but what I mostly saw was calls for water, soil, the earth, communities, people and children to be looked after.

I have been a bit lost in the academic and international politics world at COP, sometimes wondering what I am even doing there. But it is this simple. Water, food, community, forests, life - it's our job to stand up for these things and protect them.

All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under UN Climate Talks 2014.