The Leap Manifesto in Paris
Highlights from a December 2 workshop on The Leap Manifesto, towards a justice-based energy transition.
- The TCE team was fortunate to be in Paris this month to participate in civil society organizing around the COP21 climate talks. One of the highlights was being joined by about 500 people for a workshop event on December 2 about the Leap Manifesto (leapmanifesto.org), a call for a justice-based transition to a renewable energy economy in Canada.
- The Leap Manifesto was initiated by leaders from Canada’s Indigenous rights, social justice, environmental, food, faith-based and labour movements. At the Paris workshop, Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis joined several key Leap participants to discuss the project and the lessons learned. The event sought to engage with people interested in setting the public agenda post-Paris; creating an irresistible, popular vision of the economy and society we want; breaking down silos between our movements; and working with artists to engage the public.
- There was some great coverage of the workshop from the journalists and bloggers who attended. Avi served as the moderator of the event, and Australia's The Conversation reported on his introduction: "Lewis opened proceedings by noting, 'there is a huge gap between what we are offered by political leaders and what we are ready for in terms of bold and radical change.'"
- In her remarks setting the scene, Naomi outlined why any agreement out of Paris would not be up to the task of confronting the climate crisis, and talked about the kind of deep, systemic change to our political and economic systems that we need instead. "We have left our messianic fantasies at home," she said, as reported in Canada's National Observer. "We've done the math. We know politicians have come to the table with emissions reduction targets that will lead us to an extremely dangerous future, three to four degrees. This is not ambition."
- After Naomi's comments, the event speakers did a joint reading of parts of the Leap Manifesto. Pictured (from left) are Avi Lewis; Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation; Bianca Mugyenyi, outreach coordinator on the TCE team; Christian Poll (Member of Danish Parliament for The Alternative; Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress; Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians; Katie McKenna, engagement lead on the TCE team; investigative journalist Martin Lukacs; and Naomi Klein.
- Next, Martin Lukacs and Katie McKenna talked about the origins of the manifesto, including an initial, 2-day convening in Toronto that brought together 60 leaders from Canada’s Indigenous rights, social, migrant and food justice, environmental, faith-based, and labour movements.
- Bianca Mugyenyi laid out the launch plans and media response. (Here's The Conversation again: "Canada’s newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, described the ideas as 'madness', although at the time of writing the manifesto has attracted more than 31,000 pledges of support, not to mention being well supported by scientific evidence.") Martin, Katie, and Bianca all shared some of the central lessons that emerged from the process.
- The key allies present who were involved in the Leap process -- Crystal, Christian, Hassan, and Maude -- responded with reflections on what the manifesto meant for their work.
- The workshop ended with a spirited Q&A.
- The New Republic also reported from the workshop, and talked with Naomi about where the project is headed next. "The pamphlet is named for Leap Day, as in February 29 (and not, the group’s FAQ stresses, Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward), when more events are planned. With the official [climate] talks scheduled to end in mid-December, 'February 29 is enough time to have a good cry, brush yourself off, and do something,' Klein said with a laugh."