When you travel forward in time (zones), it’s hard to tell when the “day” really begins. Not too long ago, I was hanging out in Boston with four other members of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice — I had just arrived from Dallas, Texas, and some of them had only been back for a few hours from a direct action protest against Spectra’s new fracked gas pipeline pipeline in Rhode Island (in which 8 folks were arrested, and have all been released) organized by FANG: Fighting Against Natural Gas (check out their photo album: “Burriville Mobilization: Where’s Our Restitution?

UUYACJ GROW:Climate Justice (August 2015) mini-reunion in Boston!
[From left to right:] Lee Stewart, Shelby Meyerhoff, Aly Tharp, Jimmy Betts, Evan Seitz
I knew I would be seeing Evan because he would be hosting me for a night — and I knew he was hosting a party (partially in recognition of moving out of his current apartment and to the Lucy Stone Cooperative), but it was a joyous surprise to run into Jimmy and Lee and Shelby. We all met at the GROW: Climate Justice training held by the UU College of Social Justice last August.

By the following evening I was on my way to Paris. Half my time flying over the Atlantic Ocean was spent sleeping and the other half reading “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States”.

The rights of Indigenous people are a major climate justice issue, and it is currently up in the air as to whether or not the #COP21 climate protocol being negotiated in Paris will recognize this connection and these rights. I don’t see how the UU faith contingent could call this a fair and just climate agreement if the clauses about Indigenous and Human rights in article 2.2 of the document is removed.

Yesterday, Indigenous climate justice leaders led a historic kayak action on the Seine River. Many Indigenous nations have coordinated to bring kayaks and canoes here for a #PaddletoParis action, including the Lummi Nation, with whom the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has developed a direct relationship of solidarity and support.

Coverage of the Indigenous Kayak protest on Democracy Now, December 7, 2015


Advertisements in the Subway system advocating representation and rights for Indigenous people.
Photos by Aly Tharp
I hope that as negotiations continue, there will be some happy updates about  these important clauses about human and Indigenous nations’ rights from the more-legally-binding portions of the document NOT being removed.

My first full day out in the city is about to begin. I am staying in a house rental with a bunch of other organizers, and have heard some amazing stories of direct actions taking place. Here are some highlights from the past few days:

1. This “toxic tour” of the “Solutions 21” corporate expo event that was covered on Democracy Now yesterday:

Video from Democracy Now, published December 7, 2015
2. The climate denial group The Heartland Institute is having a conference and a “documentary” launch here in Paris, and activists interrupted both of these events yesterday (Monday). Some of this can be seen in the video stream they published on their own website at about 15 minutes in:

3. Youth climate movements are united in calling for ZERO emissions by 2050. You can join in these actions remotely by tweeting #Zeroby2050 to world leaders negotiating at #Cop21 and painting a zero around your right eye and adding your photo to the pool of people advocating #Zeroby2050.
Coverage by Democracy Now, December 7th
4. The UUA was represented by Rev. Peggy Clark and Dr. Jan Dash in a panel side event at COP21: “Examination of How Nations Have and Should Consider Equity and Justice in Setting INDCs“.

I’m excited to get going for my first full day in Paris — and will do my best to post regular updates. Thanks for reading!