The climate crisis is the time of our lives. While companies and governments repeat exhaustive formulas for insufficient policies, climate degradation destroys our collective future. Floods, droughts, out of season storms, rising sea levels, their acidification and the alteration of complex sea currents, forest fires, methane release by melting arctic regions, irreversible loss of biodiversity and degradation of air, soils and water masses are the direct consequence of deliberate choices made in recent decades by the productive apparatus and political power at a global level. Faced with this state of affairs, we have not been and will not stand still. In April 2022, in Portugal and around the world, we will hit the road, traveling hundreds of kilometers on foot in several countries to point out some of those responsible for this crisis and to speak directly with the communities most affected by it.
Why are we hitting the road?
Because we don’t accept the absurd repetition of the irresponsibility, manipulation, denialism, the game of make-believe. Life is not a game and we are not willing to become pawns.
Because we do not accept that COP after COP the world is left in suspension to witness the shameful outcome of the custom in the end,: convergence in the agreement on the necessity to go further to face the climate emergency, whose evidence is, year after year, clearer and more serious than the predictions made by the scientific community; you negotiate and, when all seems lost, you change the commas that guarantee that nothing changes. Institutions will not save us.
Because we do not accept to wait for the non-believers who “want to see more, to believe the worst”. Whether we like it or not, the limits of the Planet are already pushing and will continue to push systemic changes for better or worse. We want the possible transition not to take place in violence, but in a collective choice for peace. For that to change collective and individual behavior, it will have to go through a new vision of the world based on ways of feeling, thinking and acting in line with social justice and the ecology of the planet.
Because no country in the world is making or planning the necessary and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Nor will it do so if it jeopardizes the current model of production and accumulation of wealth. So they won’t change, their strategy is to collapse.
For the current strategy to continue, governments and companies rely on people who believe that the system is watching (or moving), despite all evidence to the contrary. They rely on passivity and resignation to the choice of major decisions made by governments and companies, proliferating opportunistic projects, camouflaged in green washing and which supposedly contribute to food and industrial sufficiency.
They have a people held hostage to sordid interests, yielding to the demands of a handful of unworthy people who parasitize the strengths and weaknesses of our lives, even knowing that the aberrations of this savage, mining and destructive capitalism are aggravating the crises of climate, water, air, soils, forest, biodiversity and, therefore, human communities.
They count on indifference and create all the difficulties for the people to be able to view the dramatic situation we are in as a necessary evil, thus justifying support for the huge infrastructures that spew millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day (the refineries, gas plants, paper mills, cement plants, biomass plants, among others) contributing to an even greater worsening of the climate and social crisis. They rely on the confusion of a false opposition between saving the planet and saving jobs or the economy. There is no opposition: we want to save ourselves. There is no job or economy in the ecological and social collapse.
We will not let our lives just collapse. We will travel a great part of this country on foot, directly contacting the communities most affected by this crisis, from Pedrógão Grande to Oleiros, the front lines of the climate crisis and passing through some of the infrastructures that are the origin of this climate crisis, from Figueira from Foz to Vila Velha de Ródão, from Pego to Alhandra.
What those responsible for this crisis, the powerful of the system, want is to remain comfortably installed while they invite us to imitate them, hammering out that “the sky is the limit” and that “all dreams are possible”, if only “let’s fight” for them. Meanwhile, reality forces us to fulfill the social function of “fishing with our tails in our mouths” – working to consume and consuming to work – lulled by the propaganda that installs the dictatorship of convictions that takes us along the path of a single thought to achieve a better future – that of exploration and infinite economic growth.
Let’s Build Our Way
The climate crisis is more the consequence than the cause of our biggest problems. The knowledge we have today about the causes is more than enough to move towards a new vision of the world leveraged by a realistic optimism, based on solidarity, knowledge, information, justice and practices that will allow us individually and collectively to evaluate and implement the solutions that already exist and find other, new and better solutions.
It is about responding to the challenge of meeting a new dream that will only happen if it is shared by many people, motivated by the energy that gives us the satisfaction of doing our part and doing the right thing, actively participating, dignifying intelligence and human solidarity, making our history.
In order to stop the global climate crisis and the global ecological crisis, we need a bigger movement than the world has ever seen. We therefore appeal to all movements and organizations that see themselves in this manifesto to join us, transforming the Caravan for Climate Justice into a historic moment that, through the strength of the populations, rises up against irresponsibility, impunity, manipulation and the greed of a capitalist system that responsible for the degradation of the ecological cycles that sustain life and are sustained by it.