Dear Forest & Climate Activists and Agitators, community members and others,
Below please find an invitation and guidelines to participate in the Strategic Action Sessions of the 2019 North American Forest & Climate Movement Convergence.
THIS IS NOT A CONFERENCE.
We are not going to share information and go home. We are facing deep planetary crises that threaten millions of species and even the future of the human race. Accordingly, this event is organized into Strategic Action Sessions under seven broad themes* addressing the intersections of forests and climate with the intent to facilitate development of new “outside the box” ideas, strategies, and action plans. This will ensure the Convergence leads to concrete outcomes and next steps that begin to address the root causes of these deep crises.
Each of the following Strategic Action Sessions identifies the conflicts with preserving the world’s remaining natural forests and their interconnections to the climate crisis.
Forests provide the natural circular mechanisms for a stable climate as they absorb, store, release and maintain the dynamic processes of life, death, and renewal. They control the hydrology of the world’s finite water resources, take in carbon and return life giving oxygen, and maintain a delicate balance of biodiversity. Within this enclosed system every element is connected to the next and damaging, removing or altering any one or more of these elements threatens all life by destabilizing global climate processes.
The Strategic Action Sessions were intentionally designed to bring together diverse groups including activists, organizers, grassroots and Indigenous community leaders, scientists, experts, indigenous and non-indigenous youth and others. We will come together to strategize actions to stop the destruction of our forests, defend the rights of nature, resist greed and corporate control of nature, protect and renew biodiversity utilizing both ancient and modern knowledge in a consensus-based community structure that is just, equitable, and adaptable.
Diversifying and strengthening our efforts means bringing together people and groups who may not already be connected. To enable folks to work together more effectively, we will help facilitate conversations in advance of the actual event in order to begin the process of organizing these Strategic Action Sessions before we gather. This will help ensure The Convergence goals are met.
Through your responses to this invitation, the Convergence Committee will help link you and/or your group together with others who are interested in the same theme. As with forest ecosystems, the more diverse and interconnected our movements are, the more focused on the roots, the stronger and more resilient we will be.
This process will commence as soon as soon as possible based on the number of responses. NOTE: This does not eliminate others from joining these sessions either before or at The Convergence.
• Contact information gathered and organized from all who indicated their preferred Strategic Action Sessions.• An email listserv for each of the Strategic Action Sessions will be created accordingly. o An initial group message will be sent to each of the seven groups to begin the process of strategic dialog and planning.• Each group will be self-organizing with one or more members of the agenda working group assisting. • Self-organization will be guided by the Strategic Action Sessions goals outlined below. • Calls will be facilitated, notes taken, and links to notes shared among participants.
We understand that some of the issues identified in the Strategic Action Sessions are similar and/or overlapping. This is unavoidable. Therefore, during The Convergence there is time set aside for coming together to share information/ progress/ outcomes from the Strategic Action Sessions.
An after-action report of conclusions, transferable action models, and other key outcomes is planned that will facilitate ongoing collaboration, networking and next steps.
This process is designed to support The Convergence goal of building concrete outcomes toward the transition of the power structure from corporate and government control to community-led building of truly regenerative, sustainable, and equitable self-reliance and resilience.
The Themes of the Strategic Action Sessions and examples of sub-areas are as follows.
Please select the theme(s) you are most interested in working on at The Convergence below on this form, identified by the title of each from below. Please select at least one and no more than two.
1. Industrial Infrastructure & Development• Fossil fuel extraction and by products/petrochemicals & infrastructure (pipelines/refineries/etc.)• Urban/rural development for housing/commercial & manufacturing expansion• Copper/uranium/rare earth minerals mining – for new tech gadgets/wind/solar/AI• Industrial agriculture (food/biomass) & feed-lots/meat production• New roads thru wild forests & public lands for recreation & extraction infrastructure/development 2. False “renewable energy” solutions that impact forests• Hydroelectric dams and nuclear power• Industrial wind and solar farms• Geoengineering schemes (biochar, carbon capture & storage - continuing)• Biomass and biofuels (sourced from forests, or causing forest clearing for biofuel plantations; driving global transport of forest-killing pests and pathogens)
3. Greenwash Capitalism schemes threatening forests and climate adaptation• Bioeconomy (using wood to replace fossil fuels for manufacture of “green” plastics, chemicals, textiles)• Carbon markets, forest carbon offsets including REDD• Commodification of forests/payment for environmental services/exploitation 4. Extreme Technologies for Climate Change• Genetic engineering schemes for climate adaptation (including CRISPR, gene editing, etc)• Geoengineering schemes for climate mitigation (biochar, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage)• Synthetic biology (developing synthetic enzymes to transform cellulose into industrial products)• Gene drives/Genetic Extinction• “Purpose-grown” GE trees for industrial applications.• Artificial Intelligence & 5G
5. Forest health” schemes threatening forests• Using GE trees and biotechnology for 'forest restoration'• Industrial logging (salvage, habitat “restoration”, disease control, etc)• Wildfire control-for biomass resource• Precipitous controlled burns• Herbicide/pesticide spraying 6. Real solutions – How do we:• PROMOTE/Facilitate reducing overconsumption• END use of fossil fuels: Keep the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, the gas … (while avoiding the temptation of false solutions)• PROTECT standing forests• RESTORE tree plantations back to wild forests• ESTABLISH legal rights of nature/ biocentrism• ENSURE forest and Indigenous Peoples’ rights of Free, Prior and Informed Consent• DECENTRALIZE, establish, ensure community control (Economy, energy, etc)• BUILD, Expand, Support small-scale bioregional food, energy production 7. Building and Supporting Youth Movements• Organization and activities - Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth coming together to determine their path toward future work together will be facilitated. The Convergence coordinating and agenda committees will assist as requested and stand ready to provide guidance and resources TBD
* We created the concept for The Convergence and the list of themes for these Strategic Action Sessions after 2 years of meetings and lengthy conversations with many people in various movements. If you feel there is a theme vital to forest and climate work that is missing, please let us know.
With Respect and Solidarity in the Struggle, The Convergence Coordinating Committee and Working Group Members