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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Paris and Climate Justice

Air Date: Week of

Police lifted the ban on protest, and activists gathered in the streets of Paris as the climate conference wound down. (Photo: Emmett FitzGerald)

As the climate talks in Paris drew to a close, activists gathered in the streets to demand a global shift away from fossil fuels and protection of the people most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. Living on Earth’s Emmett Fitzgerald recorded an audio postcard from the protests.


CURWOOD: Young activists spoke out forcefully at the Paris Climate talks, demanding in a variety of creative ways that the world put the brakes on the present rush to the climatic abyss. In the face of a demonstration ban imposed at first during the talks by the French government, which was still reeling from the terrorist attacks, activists held a “shoe-in” that even include a pair from Pope Francis.

And when deal was finally struck and the demonstration ban lifted activists stretched huge red banners through the streets of the French capital, symbolic of the “red lines” that climate change must not cross. Living on Earth’s Emmett Fitzgerald took his microphone there.

Protesters stretched red banners through the streets to symbolize the red lines that cannot be crossed if we are to keep the planet safe. (Photo: Emmett FitzGerald)

CHANTING: Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go! Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go! Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go!

PROTESTER1: My name is Kit Bennett. I am from York in England. One of the reasons I am here is because my government says that it's acting on climate and the Paris climate change conference. That's a lie. They are supporting fracking they are cutting funds to renewable energy. We need to show that we don´t support the actions of the British government and so many of the governments of the world that have only false solutions to the problems of climate change.

PROTESTER2: It´s a worse deal than in Kyoto 18 years ago. That´s why the frontline of climate change isn´t the politicians its people like us, blockading, keeping the fossil fuels in the ground, its fracking in western England, in eastern Europe its brown coal, and that is the way forward.

Indigenous people—often on the front lines of climate impacts—led the march. (Photo: Emmett FitzGerald)

PROTESTER3: My name is Clayton Thomas Mueller and I´m a Cree from Northern Canada, Treaty Six Territory. I´m here to demonstrate that indigenous peoples we are the red line. We are hit first and worst by climate change and its associated drivers like for example Canada´s controversial tar sands development in Northern Alberta. So we are here with 35 indigenous representatives from the frontlines of the fight against the fossil fuel regime in North America to stand in solidarity with people from across the planet that are fighting for climate justice.

CHANTING: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!




Listen to Living on Earth’s original coverage at the start of the Paris climate talks

LOE’s coverage of the historic Paris Agreement

More photos from the Red Lines protest


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