Global Exchange’s Carleen Pickard & other delegation members join fellow climate justice campaigners, environmentalists and social justice advocates from around the world for the COP16 in Cancun. They’re traveling with La Via Campesina organized caravans . En route to COP 16, the caravans are visiting communities in struggle and resistance, learning about the local effects of climate change and adding their voices of solidarity to communities working to construct a better future.

Ride along with Carleen and other caravan members as they share stories from the caravan to COP16. Next stop: Mexico City:

The first leg(s) of the Via Campesina caravans are over – the three delegations arrived from Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi and Acapulco. We’ve now posted report backs from Guadalajara (thanks to GX volunteers Ryan and Irene) and Acapulco (see my previous posts) and to read about the travels of the caravan from San Luis Potosi, check out the blogs by the Council of Canadians. Also be sure to see the growing stock of photos that are being posted.

After navigating the streets of Mexico City by bus, my caravan arrived at the the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME) compound and joined hundreds at the International Forum about the Climate Crisis – an educational forum with expert speakers drawing links between climate change, the need for economic reform and social justice and recognition of climate justice solutions to the crisis. You can read a great interview with Paul Nicholson from the European delegation of Via Campesina on their website.

Hundreds started to gather at the Ángel de la Independencia at 5pm. It’s a familiar and favourite place to begin marches in this massive city. By 6 and the start of the International March For Life and Social and Environmental Justice we had grown to 2500. Marching fiercely through the streets to the main square – the Zócalo – we chant and meet other caravan participants and campesinos that have come to join the caravan leaving tomorrow (Dec 1) onwards to Cancun. I’m thrilled to see that friends who rode bikes on a ‘climate reality tour‘ from West Virginia to Mexico City (and on to Cancun) have arrived safely and even claim to enjoy riding in the City.

It is dark once we reach the Zócalo and we hear from leaders from Via Campesina, the SME, the Assembly of those Affected by the Environment and National Liberation Movement. To see how urgent the need is for action in the next 10 days, check here. Great analysis and updates are already being posted from activists already in Cancun, Via Campasina has posted the program for the Alternative International Forum for Live and Environmental & Social Justice (Program English), and the mega caravan leave early tomorrow morning!

Check back here on our Climate Justice blog to continue following Carleen’s journey. If you’re on Twitter, follow @globalexchange for related COP16 updates from Global Exchange, and use hashtag #COP16 for general COP16 tweets.