The Media Co-op

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Climate Justice


The global climate crisis is being used as a weapon to entrench the existing inequalities and strengthen existing centers of power. Social movements have worked swiftly to develop ways of addressing climate change that strengthen communities struggles, confront power structures and advance a vision of self-determination and equality. A special issue on Climate Justice would profile community struggles with fossil fuel infrastructure within Canada (and some of the most inspiring examples abroad), examine Canada's climate diplomacy, critically analyse the existing ENGO approach to climate change, and look at the emergence of international movements for climate justice.


In November, the Cancun negotiations will fail to do anything about climate change. The idea that grassroots, community-based movements are the most effective way to actually stop climate-change is gaining a lot of traction, and we could spread that emerging analysis to a larger audience. A nascent climate justice movement in Canada could use the issue as an educational tool, and to increase its ranks.

Sample stories:

  • The sinking Maldives, food in Africa, and other results of 350 PPM
  • Nunavut's housing crisis: resource revenue and colonialism at work
  • The tar sands pipeline infrastructure series: Northern Gateway, Keystone XL, Trailbreaker
  • The tar sands go global: Madagascar, Trinidad
  • Hunting and fishing on a changing landscape: tales from Denendeh
  • The Canadian Boreal Carbon Hoax
  • A history of secret deals and stifled movements: Great Bear Rainforest, CBFA, Far North
  • A brief history of gender oppression and the environment
  • The Navajo nation's fight against coal
  • Grassroots movements for climate justice in Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil...
  • Infographic: secret agreements compared (GBR, CBFA, FNA, Tar Sands...)
  • Round table on movement building and solidarity
Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (87 votes)


Systems Change NOT Climate Change (is the issue)


First, I love the Media Co-op and think that it's the best thing since Noam Chomsky could be sliced and served with Michael Albert jam on top. But I'd be very disappointed if we did a whole volume of the Dominion on a single issue which is merely one symptom in the litany of endemic crises brought on by capitalism, and a lack of meaningful, un-corruptable democracy.

Climate Change is a tough nut that needs very much to be cracked, but  one which I submit is uncrackable without systemic change. If we are to listen to the voters (not to would go against what I hold most dear about my dearly beloved media co-op) and go with climate change for the issue, then I would ask we take the call of Systems Change, Not Climate Change, from Copenhagen seriously. And use the single issue of 'global warming' as a hanger to show that systemic change is the issue. Not go into the minutia of how bogus the market based schemes are, how toxic oil extraction is, and all the other things that our readers are already mostly aware of, but use those issues as yet another leak by which to show the siv  (capitalism and 'representational' democracy) that can't hold water.

If we really followed my logic for the coverage of this issue, then I think we'd do a couple of major pieces on macro decision making models which would be intelligent and uncorruptable. For corruption of the climate change discourse by a few to the detriment of all, is certainly a (if not THE) major issue.


Targets, Way of Life, INdigenous Sovereignty, and Climate Justic


Real targets, not ENGO's agenda's facilitate business as usual. CBFA, Fake Environemntalism (Forest Ethics, Pembina Institute, CBI all have silenced dollars making them only assertive when based on their agendas) presents fragmented solidarity. NO CBFA like agreements with Tar Sands Gigaproject operators and ENGO's.

Protect way of life by living it, through Indigenous Sovereignty and assertion of indigenous laws and natural laws.

Climate Justice must be principled, i.e. IEN's 4 Principles of Climate Justice, as well as Environmental Justice. Carbon Marketting and Offsets and REDD's are prime examples of unprincipled ENGO activity that do not promte true Climate Justice.

Suggested title for Dominion:
Climate Justice Sells, But Who's Buying?

suggested title

love the suggested title!!!

Climate is Fertile


My browser would not let me rate the ideas, but this gets my vote.

I agree with dru - the time is right.

I think the timing of this


I think the timing of this one could be strong, and while I agree that it is perhaps not as ahead of the curve as the Tar Sands issue, I think it is actually a lot closer to the Foreign Policy or Olympics issues. Like climate change, foreign policy and the Olympics were being heavily discussed in the media at the time, but the agenda was being set by corporate media, government officials and others.

I think this is exactly what we're seeing today, with the pushback of the petroleum producers association and the lack of initiative among a lot of the corporate media to really challenge the status quo on what needs to be done to stop climate change.

a vote for climate justice issue


I'm abroad in Scotland at uni on Glasgow for a while, and I'd like to offer the support of the climate justice group I work with, So We Stand, for the cj issue.

If you agree we could write a piece on cj in Scotland and the UK generally.  Why would this be useful?  I think the UK and Scotland in particular are the prime example of a government paying lip service- even through legislation- to climate change while their actions betray the exact opposite.

The devolved Scottish gov't in Edinburgh has adopted what they tout as the most progressive greenhouse gas reductions targets in the wetsern world- yet plans are announced monthly for new open cast coal mines, coal fired power stations, and airport expansions, while renewable projects like windfarms, wave and tidal sit stalled on planning commission's desks.  In every instance where coal and airports are to be expanded there is vociferous local opposition, always ignored and overturned.

There is a growing movement in the UK to move away from traditional activist-y approaches to carbon contestation toward a climate justice approach that puts peoples' concerns about health, housing, jobs and livelihoods first.  The efforts are imporvised and not always successful- but perhaps an article on the topic form a Scottish perspective could add to the growing field of shared expereinces, successes, fialurres, tactics and theory?

Anyway, best of luck to the Dominion whichever topic you go with.


Aaron Franks

University of Glasgow

So We Stand

This is definitely my number


This is definitely my number one pick!

Timely, super important, and there's definitely room for some really edgy, investigative journalism on climate justice. 

I also think this one really makes sense in terms of networks that could get involved. 

I think more than any other special issue topic suggestion, if we take this one on we could really make a splash.

Boosting Movements: Setting a Tone vs Putting on the Map


I'm not "against" a Special Issue on Climate Justice per se, and I certainly agree that special issues can "set the tone for and boost movements by giving them a powerful educational tool," but...

There is already considerable attention on climate justice, in terms of mainstream attention, activist attention, and now (thanks in great part to the MediaCoop/Dominion work of Dru, Macdonald, etc) even a rise in critical attention re ENGOs, funding structures, etc.

My understanding of why the Tar Sands special issue was so effective is that it really put the issue on the map, provoking mainstream coverage, raising awareness, and boosting local & national organizing.

I think that a special issue on Migrant Justice or the North could have a similar effect, and be more effective overall than a Climate Justice issue. & I'll back up my vote by offering relatively ignorant but enthusiastic help if either of those first two choices end up being chosen.


Mainstream climate justice?

"There is already considerable attention on climate justice, in terms of mainstream attention"

Is there really considerable mainstream attention on climate justice. Or is is mainstream, and particularly the mainstream media, still focused on mainstream takes on global warming?

mainstream attention

Ok, yes, mainstream attention is probably still focused on mainstream takes on global warming / climate change, with occasional quotes, comments, etc from people involved with the climate justice movement in North America.

I just think that in general, there's a lot more discussion, as compared to, say, reporting on immigration issues involving racism, fear-mongering, etc, or reporting on important issues up North, um, well, not really at all.

But a Climate Justice issue probably would spark more discussion and involvement than any of the other subjects.


How about....

An issue about migrant and climate could call it "People are part of the environment too".


The tar sands was a huge issue that no one was talking about, and was to some extent unique in that respect. I think that on the scale of the Canadian public, CJ hasn't really broken yet, though it seems like it if you read the Media Co-op a lot.

Migrant justice could be put on the map, to some extent. But it's not an issue that's just about to break big (or maybe I missed something). A strong case can be made to feature way more coverage of migration on an ongoing basis, certainly.

With the North, I think it's a great idea to do a themed issue, but I don't think we have the contacts or the resources to do it justice, in terms of writers or distro. Something to work towards.


Maybe the tar sands issue was somewhat unique, although my favourite Dominion special issue by far was the one on Foreign Policy. If a Climate Justice special issue could be as demystifying, framework-altering and fact & analysis-filled as the foreign policy issue, then great.

I do see the importance of contributing to setting the tone for discussions about issues that are just about to break big (as in the Olympics and G8/G20 issues); however, I also think that an in-depth look at the construction, maintenance and evolution of everyday alternatives (like a Workers' Coops and Autonomous Economic/Trade Models issue) could be used on a more longterm basis for raising awareness, networking, educating about the different kinds of coops, inspiring local collectives, providing advice on getting started and not fizzling out, analyzing the plethora of local and regional autonomous economies and trade models throughout the Americas... It's probably not going to be about to break big anytime soon, but the presentation of the diverse real alternatives that people are slowly building could be a pretty sweet breath of fresh air.

& on the realistic assessment of capacity re a North-themed issue, I'm sure that at some point in the future it'll be just as big a void in terms of awareness and therefore rock just as much.

Capacity building for capacity building

Hey Sandra,

The point about the co-op issue is well taken, and I agree. However, our attempts over the last year to get people to write about co-ops have made it clear that we need to build capacity for capacity building coverage. I hope that we can get to a place where we can do an issue on rethinking economic life for fun and revolution issue.

Hear Hear Sandra!

I proposed the alternatives issue and, although it was done in haste in the last 24 hrs before the proposals were in, nothing like it showed up here. I outlined how much stuff on alternative economics and participatory political systems is already written. I also committed to helping find people to write the capacity building and alternative systemic vision stuff. 

Maybe it was my fault for submitting late, and poorly, but I find it rather disconcerting that no proposal, except for maybe the democracy proposal, fits with systems change themes... which ironically enough was the main call coming out of Copenhagen - "Systems Change NOT Climate Change".

Please read my post Systems Change NOT Climate Change post on how we might cover climate change in such a way that the issue is still about climate change.

thanks for speaking up Sandra, Until I read yours I was being a coward in calling out our myopic single issue focus.


The other end of the pipelines


This is a great proposal, and a very timely one. And there should be a least one story about where the tar sands oil is going and what needs to be done about it.

Canadian governments are spending about $10 billion every year on roadway and airport expansion.

And yes, I am up for helping to research and write this article.

I second dru's comment but


I second dru's comment but would like to add a suggestion of including specific water justice issues. In Copenhagen last year all references to water management were purposefully dropped from formal discussions, there's little movement to change this in Cancun. This is incredibly distressing at a time when water has come to play an increasing role in food and land tenure security globally, and as it also underlies some great environmental and racial injustices within Canada.

A few issues that might be interesting to address:

- The role of water in climate talks (food security, land rights and climate change)

- Bill S-11 and the government's failure to address the increasingly dire situation of water access on reserves

- The implications of the recent decision to declare water as a human right and Canada's inaction on this motion.

Sounds like we've got an enthusiastic... member of a (potential) Climate Justice issue editorial committee.

Boost the movement


One of the things that special issues do well, when the timing is right, is set the tone for and boost movements by giving them a powerful education tool.

I think that this topic could do this for an emerging climate justice movement, which is in constant danger of being taken over by foundation-funded ENGOs, by highlighting community-based struggles and featuring critical, structural analysis of the funding structures that deeply damaged the global justice movement and to some extent the anti-war movement.