Blog by Leah
Posted by Young Friends of the Earth on December 17, 2009 at 10:34 AM
With all the money being thrown around here you would think they could do something about the bloody heating. Maybe its a subconscious corporate lobbying tactic - keep the room temperature in the COP 15 UN Conference centre low, and all those pesky environmental activists wont be so adamant about preventing global warming after all! If the FoEI delegation need something to get hot headed about, however, they need not look any farther than yesterdays announcement by a number of developed countries that have made proposals to merge the two tracks of negotiations going on, the Kyoto Protocol track and the Working Group on Long term Cooperative Action - there is a fear that this will mean a suspension of the only legally binding agreement on a reduction in carbon emissions for developed countries, while merging the two tracks may mean reducing the involvement of developing countries, for whom climate change will have the most devastating effects.
Yesterday, the Friends of the Earth Ireland delegation, with whom I am attending the COP15 in Copenhagen are making their voices heard by speaking as one voice with Friends of the Earth International, at a flash mob demonstration today in the Main Hall of the Bella Center in the south of the city, where thousands of participants from governments, businesses and civil society, bustle about from meeting to meeting. It was a great reminder of how effective a short, loud demonstration can be, without requiring extensive planning or materials. At 12.30 we started to fill the hall, keeping enough space between each other to take up as much space as possible. I dont know everyone at Friends of the Earth International, but I quickly learned to identify them by looking for the people shifting about uncertainly trying to keep an over-sized blue anorak balled inconspicuously into their pockets, in their hands or down their trousers. We all looked like we had stolen something and were unsure what to do about it. At 12.45 Nick signaled the start of the flash-mob by standing on a chair, donning a blue poncho and clapping. To the surprise of many confused onlookers, this triggered a wave of activists lumbering into their blue ponchos and clapping, before breaking into a "We stand with Africa! Kyoto targets now!" chant. And it was so successful (it even made the BBC news!) that we decided to go and do it all over again a couple of hours later.
And we are not the only ones looking to make a scene on behalf of civil society. Other activists dressed as polar bears form a line and do the can-can in the bustling main thoroughfare of the centre, eager for the suits on their way to the plenary sessions to consider the messages on their placards, which read "Poor people cant bear this injustice!". A choir sings Christmas carols, the usual festive lyrics changed to ones urging the cutting of carbon emissions and keeping the Kyoto Protocol alive, while a group of Canadian activists urge their leaders to "Lead, Follow, or Go home!", and form a chain by joining hands in the main hall. The importance of the active participation of civil society is made more important is that we now must represent not only the many interested parties who for financial and other reasons could not attend the conference, but for the hundreds of people (including Irish scientists and government delegation members) some of whom queued for as long as 11 hours outside the Bella Centre yesterday only to be denied access. Even people with accreditation have had to acquire a second card today to be granted access to the centre, which means the exclusion of thousands of participants. So the pressure is on! And now off to today's action meeting to plan the next event!