Today I write from a room with hundreds of climate activists working in a big hall, the NGO convergence space that has been setup in the last twelve hours. If there is one thing i have learned from COP15, it is that inspired and creative people can make something from nothing in next to no time. In fact, responding properly to global negotiations on something as complex as climate change requires a lot of flexibility and passion.
So here we are. People from all around the world typing and chatting, planning and conspiring. Conspiring, by the way, i learned tonight means ‘to breathe.’ I learned this from a person represent a climate organisation who spoke at the Vigil for Survival tonight.
You may have participated, or not, in the hunger for survival - a globally coordinated twenty-four hour fast in solidarity with the people who have fasted for forty-two days as part of Climate Justice Fast. It is amazing to be here with Anna Keenan who has amazing vitality considering her situation. We decided that the fast would go ahead not at all long ago. The vigil itself was organised by a team of ten people who began at 1:30pm. Still, we did a good job getting three-hundred people here and everyone had a great experience.
The Vigil was a deeply heart-warming hour with Bill McKibbon (350.org) and speakers from the Pacific Islands, Indigenous Americans and hosted by Deepa Gupta from Indian Youth Climate Network. We had candles, listened to talks and participated in the evening by contemplating the process so far and what we want from the future.
For me, this is so important. So many activists, the vast majority, do not take the time to reflect or contemplate the situation they are working on. I appreciate the time and space to reflect because I feel that without this reflection we cannot continue to learn and grow.
When we hear “we need to be at 350ppm and we are at 380ppm” people get worried. We feel stress and anxiety and want to fix it now. When we are activists and we spend all our time working towards this target, it can be tortuous when it does not happen, especially when this extends over time.
Bill McKibbon personifies the model climate activist. He is fundamentally realistic about the world, he works extremely hard and is committed to the science. However, he takes the time for spiritual side of the movement and does work till he passes out.
As Copenhagen begins to wrap-up, i feel sad about leaving my delegation, my team of committed, hard-working friends. However, i don’t feel like this is the end. It is the beginning. Climate activism is a hard slog, and sometimes lonely. This Copenhagen experience has deepened my appreciation for a phenomenal movement of fantastic people.