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Climate Change: Communities Battle To Save, Planet, Humanity

Climate Change: Communities Battle To Save, Planet, Humanity

WHILE failure ensued at the latest UNFCCC CoP held in Doha, Qatar, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, groundWork, Friends of the Earth Ghana, and Nigeria's Environmental Rights Action, representing Oilwatch Africa undertook a solidarity visit to the community of Kaiso Tonya in the Hoima District, in Uganda to bear witness to the effects of big oil on small communities and their environments.

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Oilwatch Africa, told AkanimoReports on Thursday that they are also exchanging ways in which communities advocate on direct action to stop climate change by challenging big oil.

Currently, oil companies, including Tallow Oil, Total and Chinese National Oil Company have drilled 75 exploration oil wells, three of which are off shore.

In 2006, Tallow Oil, an Irish multinational corporation struck oil in Lake Albert, which is the source of the River Nile. Communities and non-government organisations have been threatened by the state for challenging the development and have even been restricted from traveling to and in the area.

The Buseruka sub-county of Hoima district is earmarked for an oil refinery that is expected to begin construction in the near future.

The area is home to 13 villages and about 8 000 people, and contains large tracts of virgin grazing land for cattle and goats, which will be displaced if the refinery is built. In the same sub-county, a 9.0 MW mini-hydroelectric power station has been built to supply the oil companies and labour camps with electricity while the community remains in darkness.

The people here are apprehensive of the proposed oil refinery and have already been visited with massive landgrabs and restricted access to natural resources.

In the name of economic “development” and “growth”, oil companies threaten pristine environments, displace local people and plunge communities into poverty, with lack of access to food and water, and with the increasing fear of state violence and oppression.

The community of Kaiso Tonya engage with these issues through their song, dance, plays and discussion. They are community advocates, fighting for the protection of their communities against the oil companies.

This is their direct action to resist big oil and climate change, which contrasts another failed attempt at the UNFCCC, this year in Doha – which built upon the previous 17 years of failed negotiations – to bring meaningful change to the way the government and corporations are dealing with climate change.

Like most of the CoPs before it, Doha provided a reactionary space where the primary purpose of all parties – North and South – is to defend their interests in capital accumulation and economic growth – the real impacts of climate change are treated as a secondary non-issue.

There has been no commitment to real reductions in greenhouse gasses, no commitment to keeping temperature increase to below 1.5°C or even 4°C and no evidence of real money in the green climate fund. It is an agreement that is not worth signing for it will lock the global government into inaction for the foreseeable future.

Rather than trust our governments to do the “right thing” for their people, Oilwatch Africa together with Friends of the Earth Africa is taking real action on climate change by supporting resistance to big oil on the ground in a real and meaningful way.


© Scoop Media

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