Pam Tau Lee
** Statement **
From Our Homelands to Our Frontlines,
Asians Rise for Climate Justice
We, members of the Asian Contingent, are united under the banner “From Our Homelands to Our Frontlines.” The crisis of climate change has inflicted environmental disaster across our homelands in Asia ranging from rising sea levels, air, soil and water pollution, dams bursting, typhoons, extreme temperatures, drought, major threats to food security and a host of other assaults, resulting in deaths, illness and displacement of millions of people. The tragedy of Fukushima is proof that nuclear energy cannot be safely harnessed. Our homelands have been plundered for their natural resources such as coal and oil by multi-national corporations. US military intervention in Asia is used to secure access to these resources. As a result, US military bases, war, and the use of horrific weapons, such as the atomic bomb and Agent Orange have secured a US neocolonial presence in Asia. Environmental defenders of the land and rain forests are being intimidated, imprisoned and killed. All of this has devastated countless numbers of our people and destroyed local ecosystems.
In our local communities in the US, environmental racism, the disproportionate exposure to harmful environmental exposure, can also be traced to white supremacy and economic exploitation that has resulted in our families living near toxic facilities such as refineries, chemical plants, landfills, freeways, or in urban areas such as the Tenderloin and Chinatown. It is in these spaces where we live, work, go to school, socialize, worship that we are exposed to toxics and pollution that harm our bodies. It is in these spaces where our streets have become militarized, and where prison, detention and deportation have become normalized. A toxic environment is also present when our humanity is denied, when our cultures, genders and ways of being are not embraced.
But where there is oppression there is resistance. For example, when the US was waging war in Southeast Asia, escalating military presence in Korea, Philippines, and Okinawa, anti-war Asian contingents and coalitions sprang up in cities across the US. Internationally and locally our environmental defenders who are targeted by state and local authorities for their commitment, courage and determination. We are inspired and uplifted by their resistance and are committed to turn this into concrete acts of solidarity. Today, it is in this same vein that we come together as Asians Rise for Climate Justice Contingent.
We come together with the thousands of environmental defenders and indigenous who have traveled here to San Francisco to confront the climate profiteers and Jerry Brown, who are here to promote carbon/ pollution trading as a solution to addressing climate change while protecting their ability to reap profits and pollute in our communities. We come as an Asian contingent to challenge their solutions. We come with solutions of our own that unite and uplift the voices of those most impacted by the climate crisis, experiences and solutions from our communities, the indigenous people, communities of color, workers, and youth. Our solutions are community based and focused on a just transition away from reliance on dirty energy economy to a regenerative and sustainable way of living and towards a return of the biodiversity of a healthy ecosystem.
Together we are Asians Rise for Climate Justice
No War, No Warming
Keep fossil fuels and uranium in the ground
Be and live in balance with Mother Earth – Honor our interconnectedness
Decolonize and De-Militarize
Stand with community not climate profiteers