World Social Forum 2021: Climate, Ecology and the Environment

Thematic day on Climate, Ecology and the Environment at the World Social Forum (WSF)

29 January 2021

UTC 13 - 14:45

UTC 15 - 16:45

UTC 17 - 18

(See programme details below)
(Zoom links will be provided soon)

Facebook event:

The purpose of the Environmental Thematic Day common program is to exchange experiences from different parts of the world to see how the environmental struggles can be part of a system change.

It begins with an intercontinental dialogue in which the two current issues of climate emergency and species extinction are discussed together. This is followed by four parallel sessions where the first deepens the issue of the current situation in the struggle for system change and not climate change with only young speakers and moderators. Two others sessions ask the question of how the environmental struggle in the countryside and in the city with their different social, ecological and economic conditions can contribute to system change. The fourth session raises the question of how the local and global struggle can be linked to save a planet where humanity can live a fruitful life. These sessions end with a subsequent self-organized assembly where the results of the various sessions during the day and a pre-started declaration process lead to proposals for a joint action plan for continued cooperation between popular movements to change the system and stop environmental destruction.

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UTC 13- 14:45
Climate emergency and species extinction, Resist! Construct!, Celebrate!

Intercontinental dialogue from a systems change perspective

Translation into English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish


Arci Pasanen, Sweden, Transition Network
Franco Agusto, Argentina, Global Tapestry of Alternatives


Ariel Saleh, Australia, Ecofeminist and Global Tapestry of Alternatives
Lau Khi Chi, China, Global University for Sustainability
Soumya Dutta, India, South Asian People's Action on Climate Crisis, SAPACC
Patrick Bond, South Africa, Activist and Professor
Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, President of Friends of the Earth International 2008 - 2012
Blanca Chanchosa, Ecuador, the indigenous organization CONAIE
three more people have been invited.

How should society act in a time of acute danger to the world environment? We live in a time where wildlife is dwindling. They are concentrated in smaller areas by industrialized agriculture and forestry expansion. This reduces biodiversity with the risk of recurring pandemics. This is happening at the same time as global warming of the climate, which has led to an emergency. It could have been prevented with the right action when the issue came up on the international agenda thirty years ago. Instead, we got conventions both on climate and biodiversity, which were decided during the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, which postponed the problems to the future. How can popular movements that want to do something about the climate emergency and species extinction work together locally and internationally to turn the tide?


UTC 15 - 16:45

Parallel session 1:
System change not climate change!

Translation: will be later announced

Amos Wallgren, Finland, Extinction Rebellion
NN, UK, COP26 Coalition tbc

Archana Soreng, India, National Adivasi Alliance
Thomas Mourey, Belgium, Young Friends of the Earth Europe
Ayakha Melithafa, South Africa, African Climate Alliance
Varshini Prakash, USA, Sunrise Movement tbc
Vanessa Nakate, Uganda, Fridays for Future tbc
NN, Philippines, Climate Justice Cluster - Asia People's Forum tbc

The climate movement is facing a crossroads. After great successes with school strikes in all parts of the world and disruptive actions to draw attention to the climate emergency, the question is how to proceed? In Europe, the climate movement has begun to take action against EU agricultural policy while demanding the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement. The Covid19 pandemic highlights the importance of stopping species extinction posed worldwide by climate activists. More and more people are also beginning to question the military rearmament that takes resources from the social and ecological transformation of society that is needed. How do young climate activists view the current situation and continued work for system change not climate change? How can cooperation with other popular movements be developed?

Parallel session 2:
The environmental struggle in rural areas and system change

UTC 15 - 16:45
Translation: will be later announced

Ellie Cijvat, Sweden, Friends of the Earth
NN Via Campesina tbc


Ulka Mahajan, India, leading force in the ongoing peasant protests
Vasna Ramasar, South Africa, Global Tapestry of Alternatives
György Droppa, Hungary, Danube Circle and Prague Spring 2
David Bennet, Sweden, Byakademin (Village Academy) tbc
Elizabeth Mpofu, Zimbabwe, Via Campesina tbc
NN Chiapas tbc

Looting of nature and land grabbing from the local population threatens the cohesion of our societies and the future of the world. The transfer of rural wealth to a few large companies and banks in the big cities takes from those who work on the fields, in the forest and on the sea and gives to the already rich. Conflicts escalate as the state is used against resistence to the looting. By various means, companies and authorities try to silence opinion, which has increasingly happened with open violence in many countries. A system change is needed that can create power for the rural population over the resources that are the material basis for their lives. What is needed is an equal social, cultural and economic relationship with the urban population. Alternatives such as local forest management, agroecology and food sovereignty can unite urban and rural residents in the protection of healthy food and biological diversity. How can environmental struggle in various issues in rural areas contribute to a system change that leads to a sustainable society?


Parallel session 3:
The environmental struggle in the city and system change

UTC at 15 - 16:45
Translation: English, Spanish, addtional might be later announced

Miguel Valencia, Mexico, System Change Not Climate Change and Ecomunidades
Eva Nikell, Sweden, Citizens' Corona Commission

Gustavo Romero, Mexico, Habitat International
Akriti Bhatia, India, People's Association of Grassroot Action
Mariam Nordmark, Sweden, Tensta Green Iniative tbc
Sean Sweeney, USA, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, TUED tbc
Sherelee Odayar, South Africa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance tbc

Privatization of urban life accelerates segregation that makes it difficult for a just transition to a sustainable society. Common public spaces that give everyone access to a dignified life will be closed down and replaced by policing and other authoritarian methods. Therefore, the right to the city needs to be recaptured, healthy workplaces and residential areas where everyone can get housing defended and access to energy and water democratized. Short-term profit interests cannot be allowed to poison those who work in the factories or the surroundings. Public space and urban planning must put human interests at the center and safeguard local civil society and local producers and shops against global monopoly companies. An escalation of authoritarian exercise of power and generous support to large corporations has taken place during the Covid19 pandemic. Small businesses and employees on temporary contracts are disadvantaged. Urban life risks being further impoverished in favor of a culture where people become consumers instead of citizens. Centralization is increasing, and with it the need for transport when what is needed are cities with town districts where everything can be reached within walking and cycling distance and public transport displaces the need for a private car in urban areas. How can this urban environmental struggle in various issues contribute to a system change that leads to a sustainable society?


Parallel session 4:
Local and global struggle to save the planet

UTC at 15 - 16:45
Translation: English and Portuguese, additional might be later announced

Marcela Escribano, Canada, Alternatives
Dorothy Guerrero, UK, Global Justice Now! Tbc

Juliana Grosa, Brazil, Nature's Popular Forum - Núcleo Bahia
Tord Björk, Sweden, Friends of the Earth
Meera Sanghamitra, India, National Alliance of People's Movement
Renier Braun, Germany, International Peace Bureau IPB tbc
Lidy Nacpil, Philippines, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development tbc

Awareness of the link between emissions in nature and human health arose when the anti-atom bomb movement investigated the presence of strontium 90 in baby teeth. Shortly afterwards, Rachel Carson highlighted how emissions of toxins in nature silenced bird life and through metabolism also reached humans. The modern concept of environment thus arose through an interconnection between nature and health. This at the same time as humanity, for the first time in its history, faced the possibility of extinction. Today, a nuclear war remains the most immediate threat to human survival, while an accelerating species extinction and global warming have emerged. How should these seemingly abstract global threats be connected to the daily lives of human beings around the world? The environmental struggle must ultimately rest on the interest of those who work with people, machines, in the field, in the forest and with fishing. How can we connect the common interest in safeguarding a planet that enables future generations to live a good life with the interests we have in our daily life as common human beings in solidarity?

UTC 17 - 18
Assembly for Social, Peace and Environmental Movements

self-organized activity during the environmental thematic day organized by System change not climate change, Mexico, Prague Spring 2, Siemenpuu, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Translation: English, Spanish, additional might be later announced


Marko Ulvila, Finland, Finland Social Forum, Siemenpuu and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
Neringa Tumenaite, Lithuania, Network United againts racism

Reports from the environmental theme day's various sessions

Report from the declaration process Just transitiont to stop the environmental emergency!


Decisions on main points in action programs and follow-up