November 9, 2017

U.S. People’s Delegation Share Stories of Global Resistance at COP23

On Thursday, November 9th, community and grassroots leaders from the United States who make up the “U.S. People’s Delegation”, joined by activists from the Pacific Islands known as the Pacific Climate Warriors and Germany’s Ende Gelaende activists, participated in a speak out and shared personal stories of how their communities are being impacted by unjust policies, governmental unaccountability, the fossil fuel industry, and ever-present climate disasters.

For photos of the event, please click here. For the recorded livestream, click here.

The organizations represented in the U.S. People’s Delegation include:  SustainUS, Sunrise Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Grassroots Justice Alliance, and the Climate Justice Alliance as part of It Takes Roots, U.S Human Rights Network, Climate Generation, Our Children’s Trust, NextGen America, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and

Quote Sheet:

“Throughout my experience of running bilingual workshops and doing door-to-door outreach on environmental issues in low-income neighborhoods of my hometown of Hayward, CA, I’ve noticed people are more willing to try something new and listen when they’re approached by someone they can connect with. This is why we should have officials who come from the same backgrounds as the citizens —people able to speak the truth about their experiences and what they can do to improve their actions to help fight climate change. As a delegate with’s People’s Delegation to COP23 in Bonn, I want the world to know what’s working in neighborhoods like mine.” – Daisy Guadalupe Romero, with the ICLEI delegation and a U.S People’s Delegation participant

“We are on fire in my home state of California. This year has been one climate disaster after another – it is clearer than ever what we’re fighting to protect. Meanwhile, President Trump and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s ‘America First’ policies of climate denial will only benefit them and their friends in the oil industry. Their growing wealth comes at the cost of real lives and livelihoods destroyed by fires, storms and rising seas.” – Kyle Lemle, a U.S People’s Delegation participant with SustainUS

“Puerto Rico has been the victim of a perfect storm of natural weather extremes, fiscal austerity measures, bad management and planning, combined with a colonial situation that prevents us from trading and learning from our sister islands in the Caribbean region.  Along with the Caribbean, Puerto Rico was hit by two of the largest hurricanes in recorded history within two weeks of each other in the month of September.  Organización Boricuá has been working on the frontlines under the most dire conditions of colonialism, corruption, and climate change. We demand a Just Transition.” – Katia R. Avilés Vázquez of Organización Boricuá, representing the It Takes Roots delegation and a U.S People’s Delegation participant

“By saving our islands, we can save the world — and this requires ending the fossil fuel industry. We’re standing with the U.S. Pacific Climate Delegation as part of a global climate movement to say now is the time, and we cannot wait any longer.”  –  Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Pacific Climate Warriors

“We need to take climate justice in our own hands and shut down fossil fuel infrastructure, with our own bodies if necessary. When Ende Gelände stands up against the huge open-cast coal mines in the West Germany with mass actions of civil disobedience, we feel as a part of a global movement for climate justice, and we stand in solidarity with all people who are fighting to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Like-minded movements in North America such as Standing Rock have been an inspiration to all of us.” – Dorothee  Häussermann, Ende Gelaende in Germany

“We need environmental justice policy, especially in communities inundated with refineries and chemical plants.   In Houston, we just a major flood and this was not the first time.  But this one, Hurricane Harvey, did a lot of damage displacing 40,000 – 60,000 people.  On the west side where I live, we were flooded with toxins that were being released by a 52 mile stretch of refineries and chemical plants.  We are here to demand that we address chemical security policy in order to protect communities, workers and everybody near those facilities during intensifying extreme weather events.” – Juan Parras, T.E.J.A.S. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services), representing the It Takes Roots delegation

“Indigenous voices have been systematically left out of these decision-making processes, while our treaties are broken for profit and power. I’m going to COP23 to uplift the voices and values that I learned from indigenous communities, including the mandate to protect the voices of all those yet to come – the seventh generation.” – Michael Charles, a U.S People’s Delegation participant with SustainUS

“As a New Orleans native, I witnessed how devastating dirty energy like oil, gas, and coal is on entire communities. They obliterate entire ecosystems, erasing species and threatening the existence of countless more. Tragic events like  Hurricane Katrina and the BP Drilling Disaster have left my communities traumatized. As climate change continues to intensify with no long term climate plans in place, so will the destruction of black, brown, and indigenous communities in the Gulf South. Furthermore, as the Trump Administration continues to roll back climate protections, the Gulf Coast community will become more prone to catastrophic events like Hurricanes Maria and Irma. I’m headed to COP23 with the U.S People’s Delegation to paint a vivid picture of those impacted by climate disasters, to amplify the grassroots actions we are taking to support our communities, and stand in our power by resistance the Trump Administration’s dangerous and destructive negligence of our communities.” – Troy Robertson, a U.S People’s Delegation participant with SustainUS

After the 2016 election happened, I wanted to build a bigger coalition across Jefferson County in Colorado, a county of about 600,000 people, almost evenly split politically between Democrat, Republican, and Independent. So I started the Jeffco Climate Action Team, a coalition including architects, energy engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, moms, and healthcare workers. Our group works across the county, attending city council meetings, researching local issues and candidates, showing up at the state legislature, writing letters to the editor and interacting with members of other environmental groups. I want other small towns to know it’s possible, with the right coalition, to make change happen. It’s worth doing, even in places that aren’t known for environmental action. We are excited to share the stories and successes of Jefferson County as part of the People’s Delegation to COP 23.” – Rhiannon Gallagher, with the ICLEI delegation and a U.S People’s Delegation participant

“We’re going to COP23 to show the rest of the world that while #45 is in denial about the climate crisis but we are not, we see climate impacts in our communities and we are not turning a blind eye to this reality. We are going to Bonn to uphold the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to demand that governments implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples within their climate agendas.” – Kandi Mossett, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network, It Takes Roots delegation and a U.S People’s Delegation participant

“After graduating, I wanted to start my professional career with direct climate action experience. So, I moved to California for a CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellowship with the city of El Cerrito. As a CivicSpark Fellow, I managed various municipal projects surrounding climate action plan implementation. In my service year, I’ve seen that no matter the direction of policymakers at the federal level, local governments continue to lead the fight against climate change. I know that local governments can be decisive, action-oriented, and responsive to the community they serve, and that’s needed now more than ever when it comes to taking meaningful climate action. I join ICLEI and 350’s U.S. People’s Delegation in Bonn to show the world what meaningful local government leadership looks like.” – Justin Marquez, with the ICLEI delegation and a U.S People’s Delegation participant

“The U.S. People’s Delegation is at COP23 to share loud and clear the message that communities back home demand a fast and fair transition to a world free of fossil fuels with 100% renewable energy for all. is proud to be supporting the work of organizations who were already bringing delegations to COP23. Our work collectively as part of the U.S. People’s Delegation is aimed at amplifying the urgency of climate action, holding accountable elected officials who have said they will step up against the Trump Administration to ensure they turn their words into action, and sharing our stories and solutions from diverse communities. We do not have time to waste, we need real climate action now.” – Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S. Communications Manager and coordination of the U.S. People’s Delegation


To view this press release, go here:


Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S Communications Manager,
[email protected]; whatsapp: +1-413-687-5160; German # +49-0175-666-8608

Jade Begay, Media/Communications Coordinator, Indigenous Rising Media-Indigenous Environmental Network, [email protected]; whatsapp +1 505 699 4791

Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Director,

[email protected]; whatsapp: 20-100-184-0990; German # +49-175-665-6970