Dear readers,

It is our pleasure to share the Global TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives of AlternativesAre activities and initiatives, concepts, worldviews, or action proposals by collectives, groups, organizations, communities, or social movements challenging and replacing the dominant system that perpetuates inequality, exploitation, and unsustainabiity. In the GTA we focus primarily on what we call "radical or transformative alternatives", which we define as initiatives that are attempting to break with the dominant system and take paths towards direct and radical forms of political and economic democracy, localised self-reliance, social justice and equity, cultural and knowledge diversity, and ecological resilience. Their locus is neither the State nor the capitalist economy. They are advancing in the process of dismantling most forms of hierarchies, assuming the principles of sufficiency, autonomy, non-violence, justice and equality, solidarity, and the caring of life and the Earth. They do this in an integral way, not limited to a single aspect of life. Although such initiatives may have some kind of link with capitalist markets and the State, they prioritize their autonomy to avoid significant dependency on them and tend to reduce, as much as possible, any relationship with them.’ sixth newsletter with you. This is our second thematic newsletter on “Climate Change and Alternatives”, with the intent to critically explore various dimensions of climate change, especially from the perspective of the grassroots and other practices and concepts that provide an alternative to the capitalist-statist-patriarchal-racist system that has led to this crisis.

In the midst of this crisis, pro-system policies and false market/techno fixes are continuing to thwart real socio-environmental change. Governments can only seem to focus on vague “plans'' for the future, putting their faith in (or diverting attention by talking about) technological and other measures that are yet unproven. As the dust has settled after the conclusion of the COP26 summit, the global public now has a clearer picture of the outcomes of the Glasgow Climate Pact, which has been acknowledged as a ‘compromise deal’ which paves the way for the further colonisation of lands and forests of indigenous peoples and local communities.

In such a context, it is more than urgent to look at constructive alternatives being conceptualised, practiced and proposed by various communities as ways of building actionable responses for radical change. In this newsletter, we have wide-ranging contributions exploring the issues of COP26 and ways forward to alternative practices and articulations bringing forth radical transformations, both individual and systemic.

Kumi Naidoo, human rights and environmental activist in his contribution reflects on the recently concluded COP26 and the issues with it but also celebrates the intersectionality, more artistic expressions brought by the civil society. Hence, re-asserting the need to intensify the building of power from below to keep bringing alternative/pluriversal worldviews, knowledge systems, visions and conceptual frameworks to fight climate change. Michal Kravčík, of People and Water International, Slovakia, shares a practical example of a recovery plan being attempted in the Košice region of Slovakia that aims to increase the water retention capacity of the damaged landscape as an effective strategy to combat climate change. This piece is followed by beautiful animations from Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya, put together by Hannibal Rhodes of Gaia Foundation which illustrates the power of indigineous knowledges their earth-centred cultures in challenging climate change.

Sabina Enéa Téari of Foresta Collective writes a beautiful refectory piece exploring the dimensions of the ecological self, body and the relation with the more-than human around. She calls for a ‘Relational Space’ being nurtured at Foresta Seasonal Academy that seeks to build more earthbound, collaborative, attentive and generative ways of relating as means to tackle the climate and other ecological crises that we face. Our last contribution is a conversation between Amitav Ghosh, writer-novelist and GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives core team members (Shrishtee Bajpai and Ashish Kothari). In the conversation around Ghosh’s new book the Nutmeg’s Curse, they explore the power of storytelling & voices of more-than-human, sources of counter power, geopolitics, readings for readers especially in these times as well as the need of re-centering the stories of land.

All these contributions by activists, researchers, philosophers, writers, and community members share wide-ranging conceptions and processes to tackle the climate crises. They give suggestions for avenues for citizens/activists/social movements to organise and affect radical political change along with practical examples from the ground that need to be visibilized and shared widely. Importantly, they offer hope and solidarity when it is most desperately needed.

We invite you to engage, reflect and dialogue on these ideas. We see it as a start to a long-term process of knowing each-others' work, engaging with ideas, facilitating collaborations and initiating co-writing, co-learning and dialogical processes.

Editorial team for this issue: Shrishtee Bajpai, Upamanyu Das and Franco Augusto.

The team would like to thank Christine Dann, Ashish Kothari, Ana Cecilia Dinerstien, and Urvi Shah for supporting the production of this newsletter.

From grassroots resistance to revolutionary reconstruction: The GTA at the COP26 People’s Summit

The Global Tapestry of Alternatives recognizes climate change as one of the multiple crises that are affecting our worlds. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a global commitment to address climate change by world leaders. To date, there has been sadly little significant action coming from the Conference of Parties for the UNFCCC nor has the process been very inclusive to a plurality of voices. As a result, civil society has begun to mobilise around the annual COP events through a People’s Summit focused strongly on climate justice and creating systemic change. Aligned with the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland in November this year, a People’s Summit was held in Glasgow and online bringing together thousands of activist and civil society members from around the world. The GTA contributed to the dialogue through a session on radical alternatives from grassroots communities. The main aim of the session was gathering and promoting visions and demands of peoples from the grassroots of the world we want to create - one that is socially just, equitable, and environmentally sustainable. The session was organized collectively with the International League of People’s Struggles, the Southern People’s Action on COP26 and Adelante. Two parallel sessions were held on 09 November 2021, with one in person at the Glasgow Theatre and the other online, with approximately 80 participants joining each of the sessions. Each of the sessions included keynote addresses by Max Ajl and Ashish Kothari as well as four community leaders sharing their experiences and lessons of climate resistance and resilience. Shrishtee Bajpai moderated the session and Vasna Ramasar made closing remarks. Subsequently, a reflection session on COP26 was held on 03 December moderated by Shrishtee Bajpai and with presentations from Vasna Ramasar, Nnimmo Bassey (GTA endorser), Beverly Longid, Lia Mai Torres and Harjeet Singh. A key message that came from the discussions of all three events was the importance of grassroots voices being connected to the global discussions and the need to bring real examples of radical alternatives so that resistance can go hand in hand with reconstruction of a pluriversal world.

Some resources to know more about this:

Reflections on COP26

By Kumi Naidoo

We find ourselves in the most consequential decade in the history of humanity. The choices we make now will determine what kind of future we'll have, or whether we will have a future at all.

Reflecting on being in Glasgow recently, I think the first point is that the outcome of this COP was another reminder that our present governments and the systems they represent will not be able to deliver us from the climate crisis with the urgency and solidarity for which the situation calls for.

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How to effectively heal the climate? - An example of the recovery plan for the Košice region of Slovakia

By Michal Kravčík

A lot has been said about climate change. The scientific community perceives climate change as a consequence of human anthropogenic activity by increasing the concentration of CO2 greenhouse gases. Let’s compare the graph of average temperature growth since 1960 with the growth chart of atmospheric CO2 for the same period (Figure 1). We can see they are nearly identical, and there should be no doubt about the direct correlation of CO2 on the temperature regime of the country. Therefore, most scientists working on climate change models do not doubt anything else could cause climate change.

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Decolonizing stories from Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe

By Hannibal Rhoades

New animations explore the revival of land, water, seed, and Earth-centred cultures by Indigenous and traditional communities in Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

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Becoming a Forest: Caring for Entangled Relationships

By SabinaEnéa Téari

There's an old Turkish song, unfolding as the author is searching for what or who he is. In our humble translation the song goes…

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Interview with Amitav Ghosh

GTA core team members, Shrishtee Bajpai and Ashish Kothari speak with Amitav Ghosh, an Indian-born scholar, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His many books include The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable and The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis.

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