A coalition of environmental groups will gather in San Francisco today as part of an international day of action to coincide with United Nations climate negotiations taking place in Cancun, Mexico.

The event is being held at a city-owned parking lot in the Mission District that local groups have been trying to convert into a community garden and park. The lot symbolizes “the need to promote local solutions to the climate crisis,” said Konrad Fisher, spokesman for the group Mobilization for Climate Justice.

The groups are hoping the international community comes to an agreement in Cancun, Greenpeace spokeswoman Lauren Thorpe said.

“We feel the past several years, the conferences have not been listening to what science says is necessary for global warming, and not taking into account solutions that are available,” Thorpe said.

She said Greenpeace and other organizations are proposing more movement toward renewable energy and stronger prevention of deforestation, among other solutions.

Fisher said there has been “too much corporate influence” on such conferences, and hopes today’s event in San Francisco will give governments an idea about how to use public land.

The groups are trying to convert the city-owned parking lot into a garden and park with affordable housing on the property, he said.

“It’s public land already, so it should benefit the public, not just automobile owners,” Fisher said. “Our reliance upon automobiles should be challenged, and industrial agriculture is also one of the biggest contributors (to climate change), so we need to produce locally.”

The event is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the corner of 17th and Folsom streets, and will feature the planting of food on the property, as well as a variety of speakers, live music and other performances, he said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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