The following is an account from Orin Langelle who is the co-founder of GJEP, a photojournalist, and the Director of Langelle Photography.
I attended UN Climate Conferences (known as COPs) from 2004 to 2011. This photo at a protest held by the Indigenous Peoples delegation after UN security forcibly excluded them from a meeting with the UN Executive Secretary. The meeting was organized to talk about the new scheme that was targeting forests on Indigenous Peoples lands for use as carbon offsets–offsets that would enable companies like Chevron to keep polluting and damaging communities and the climate.
The Indigenous delegation organized this protest spontaneously and I used my press accreditation to go into the media room to inform the media that the protest was occurring. It was covered by the media globally, including an AP photo that showed up in over 100 newspapers.
I quit going to the Climate COPs after 2011. They had, from the beginning, been nothing more than trade shows and public theater, with countries pledging to talk about reducing emissions at some point in the future. I quit when it became clear that this was never going to change and that real organizing on climate change needed to happen on the outside of these farcical events.
The upcoming UN Climate COP, incidentally, will be held this December, 2023, in the United Arab Emirates and the President of the COP will be Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC Group).
This year Global Justice Ecology Project is celebrating our 20th Anniversary. As part of this year-long celebration, we will be posting photos by co-founder Orin Langelle, Director of Langelle Photography,