Today, people from various parts of the globe will be holding dozens of actions on the eve of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 climate talks in Paris to express the ever-growing consensus that a systemic shift through ambitious commitments to collective climate action is the only way to avert a looming global climate catastrophe.

These global people-led actions, including today’s March for Climate Justice Pilipinas and several others happening all over the country, have acquired an even greater importance following the banning of the civil society march in Paris during the climate negotiations. The big march and other related actions organized by civil society aim to ventillate the civil society’s and the global climate justice movements’ counter-narratives and demands to be heard during the Paris climate talks. That people’s massive protests will be severely curtailed in COP 21 means that it will be up to actions outside of Paris and before the start of the Conference to ensure that the alternative voices are not silenced in the name of security and other alibi.

This is all the more important given the critical nature of the coming climate negotiations, which many view as humanity’s last chance to prevent irreversible climate change and where decisions will be taken which could mean the life or death for the planet and humanity.

The polluters and the perpetrators, including the governments and leaders of the developed world, the bankers, heads of giant corporations who represent interests that bear the brunt of responsibility for the climate crisis, continue to deny their culpability. They obstruct just and durable solutions to the global crisis, as their insatiable drive for super-profits and greed continue to fuel the burning of our planet. We are here to expose their lies. For too long they have played deaf to the clamor for accountability. We are here to hold them accountable and force their hands to act, and with urgency--- not only in the name of climate justice, but for our very own survival.

This is all the more necessary given the deliberate effort on the part of international financial institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to whitewash their culpability in the climate crisis by pretending to come to the rescue of climate-ravaged countries. And to peddle false solutions and cash in on their growing menu of so-called climate change adaptation and mitigation programs and strategies, as well as financing and technology that impacted and vulnerable peoples direly need. Never mind that for decades they funded and promoted dirty energy projects that greatly contributed to the problem. Never mind that what help they offer almost invariably comes in the form of loans which add to the debt burden of the client country while bringing income for the banks.

And as always, the corporations, ever-quick to spot opportunities in the midst of misery, are never far behind. Under the guise of “building back better” they scramble to carve up disaster-torn areas like the empires of old carved up their conquests. The result is the displacement and disenfranchisement of the very people recovery and rehabilitation efforts are supposed to help.

Nowhere are these realities more evident than here in the Philippines where the term “disaster capitalism” is no mere concept, but a living, breathing, three-headed monster that includes the banks the corporations and our very own government.

Despite the two years that have elapsed and over hundred billion-peso loans that were contracted in Yolanda/Haiyan’s name, very little recovery is evident save for what the people themselves have managed to accomplish on their own. And yet, the Aquino government promotes the post-Yolanda effort as a model for the rest of the world. Adding insult to injury, “trapos” are scrambling to exploit what little connection they have to the recovery and rehabilitation to boost their electoral chances.

In the din of this disinformation, the legitimate complaints of the survivors are drowned out, either ignored or worse, branded as ignorant if not malicious. Tragically, it is they, who have experienced the worst impacts of climate change-induced disasters who are often shut out of the decisions that will affect not only them but the generations after them.

Indeed, from Tacloban to Paris, the people who know what is really at stake in the Paris talks–our livelihoods, our communities, our lives, our planet–are being silenced. They are being systematically excluded, their calls swept under the rug.

And so today we are out in the streets to protest not only for those who cannot. Today, with greater urgency and resolve, we march for ourselves, for climate justice and for our own survival.

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