As we sit in Oksnehallen Hall, we are keenly aware that, unless a miracle happens within the next several hours, the talks at Bella Center have all but failed.  I don’t care if I’m being too negative–that’s the truth, and everyone here can sense it.   

We have tried to protest–which is not always easy to do when you are denied access to your own leaders and delegates.  We formed a giant crowd dressed as our heads of state (I was Angela Merckl for some reason)–a giant wall of shame.

 

Others of us protested by shaving their heads–to shock the world with “sudden change”, show the ugliness of the UN negotiations, or show the level of committment and a willingness to sacrifice needed to avert global catastrophe, depending on who you ask.

We were also planning on having a candle-light vigil in front of Oksnehallen, arially spelling out the words “CLIMATE SHAME”.  The police, who have been generally awful to NGOs and protestors over the last two weeks, have refused.  No reason was given.  I am truly disgusted.

I can now hear the sound of many rotors.  Fact–helicopters have been circling KlimaForum for the last several days…criminalizing the folks who just want to make the world a better place.  Maybe they should be circling the Bella Center instead, seeing that that’s where the criminals are.

No Food

Yesterday I fasted in solidarity with the Climate Justice fasters and those who will go hungry as a result of climate change.

Maybe it was because I didn’t eat that my day seemed to be a lot worse than it actually was; I don’t know, but I won’t bore you with the details. I will, however, bore you with my discussion of the candle-light vigil.

Since we have been effectively booted from the Bella Center and whole UN process at this point, we have commandeered a hall at a the University that is hosting KlimaForum. It’s almost as good–there is a reasonably-priced food venue, chairs, internet service, and giant screens with the ongoing negotiations projected on them. This was where we held the candle-light vigil last night. It was from 5-7, but I showed up quite late due to some of the drama that happened earlier in the day.

Anna, who has been fasting for 43 days, said a few remarks as did a representative from an AOSIS state. We lit candles and formed the words “Climate Justice” out of them. There were candles everywhere. They filled the dark room with light and warmth. It was beautiful.

It was a time for quiet contemplation, but I didn’t have much time to reflect. Call me a wimp, but the lack of food made me feel perpetually awful yesterday, culminating with a throbbing headache, nausea, fever, and chills by the end of the day. I felt like I was about 100 pounds heavier than I am, and could hardly stand up by 10:00 pm (I’m better now). I habitually don’t eat on some days, but this was by far the worst. My admiration to those who, like Anna, have been fasting since early November. I guess that is sort of a physical type of contemplation, though; people the world over feel perpetually hungry and rotten like this…maybe one day there will be a global crop failure and I too will go through the same. Maybe everyone should be required to fast and then be told that if they don’t change their ways, they’re not likely to have a choice next time.

The solidarity fasters were certainly not alone. Many prominent people chose to support us as well, including Naomi Klein, the many delegates from AOSIS and African nations, and of course my heroes Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben and President Mohamed Nasheed. To participate in something when your heroes are right there next to you really makes you feel like a part of something larger, and even though it sucked at the time, I am glad we went through with it.

Go us!!

 

There are a series of high-level meetings taking place this Friday with 115 heads of state, and I guess they don’t want us riffraff getting in their way. So, the UN has set up a system.

  • 7000 NGOs are allowed in tomorrow. This is 7000 out of the 35 000 who have applied for accreditation.
  • 1000 are allowed in on Thursday.
  • 90 are allowed in on Friday during the head-of-state meetings.

I wholeheartedly disapprove! This is contrary to the principles of the UN and the UNFCCC as a transparent forum for staging events, networking, expressing grievances, and trying to urge our leaders to take civil society into account as they make decisions.

A system of double badges will be put into place in addition to the usual badge check and security line. The secondary badges will be distributed to 33% of the NGO delegation in question. The other 2/3 just do without. What this means for the youth constituency, and SustainUS specifically, is that (in addition to destroying our sole line of wireless communication) we each receive a number each day, which we must strategically divide among our extended delegation of 99. This means we go in pre-scheduled shifts, and youth must shift our headquarters to outside the Bella Center. The worst part is that they didn’t even give SustainUS 33%–they gave us 24 badges.

The youth movement has been working diligently throughout the last several years to gain recognition as a serious stakeholder in this process. It has all been eradicated with the stroke of a pen. We are most displeased. This is exactly the sort of thing the UN needs not to be doing at this point.

No surprise, but–when you consider that the youth have been called the moral voice of the UN, I guess this shows what role morality plays in the real world.

In other news, someone died in our hostel this morning.

Yesterday was the Dec 12 Day of Solidarity, in which citizens in over 3000 cities worldwide held candlelight vigils supporting action in Copenhagen.  I, too, took part in the actions and marched 6 km from Parliament Square to the Bella Center.  

The PowerShift Story

I’ve been in plenty of marches and protests before.  They generally seem to be in the winter under adverse conditions.  There was that one time when I protested the Iraq war, and it was so cold that I got hypothermia.  Then there was the demonstration I took part in for PowerShift.  It was about the coldest day in the history of Washington DC, and there had been a terrible blizzard the night before.  I hadn’t packed any warm clothes.  I never seem to protest on nice warm days, and yesterday was no exception.  It was cold, but at least the sky was clear.  This was the first time I have ever participated in an international march, and there were apparently 100 000 of us. 

As we walked, the Danish people turned out on the streets and waved to us from apartment buildings lining the streets.  Several of our number got recorded on BBC news (FUN!!  I never seem to get any press hits), and it culminated in a candelight vigil with candles and actual torches outside the Bella Center.  I was very cold and tired at that point, and all alone, so I headed over to the Bella Center to check my email. 

When I got into the Bella Center, a lot of people were asking me whether I got arrested, or if it had been really crazy.  No, it was not; although, apparently a few bozos among us started throwing cobbles at police.  They were rightly arrested, but so were 900 other peaceful demonstrators.  I cannot independently verify this at this time, but that’s pretty lame of the police it’s true. 

No sooner had I got to the Bella Center, when someone from the Will Steger delegation grabbed me and asked me to telecast in to a group in Lansing, Michigan with some other midwestern delegates to describe the Copenhagen experience.  I’m not sure how they knew I was from the midwest, but ok.  I told them about the AOSIS show of support I went to (in an earlier entry). 

After that, I went to the infamous NGO party.  Now, I am of the mind that when people say “party”, it ought to mean that I put on a frilly pink party dress, Mom serves cake, ice cream, and fruit punch, we play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and ride little ponies.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green.  The NGO party was not that way. 

First, you had to stand outside for hours just to hang up your coat, there was nowhere you could go just to chill out and talk to people, and I had a real issue with a certain Nigerian official.  I don’t understand people sometimes, I really don’t.  Finally, at 2 am, I just got really sick of it and left.  And THAT was the legendary NGO party. 

I don’t know what’s happening next week.  They’ve restricted our delegation by 75% due to the overflow of people trying to attend COP15.  I may or may not be going back to the Bella Center.  Till we get that worked out, I’m heading into the city to get some overpriced food.

I just got back from a show of support for AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States.  We, the Youth, stand with them on most issues regarding climate change–their survival as low-lying islands is at stake, and so is ours.  Survival is not negotiable. 

We stood there for about an hour holding placards saying “Survival is Not Negotiable”, “We Stand With AOSIS”, and “350” and surrounded their ambassadors as they gave a media appearance.  I threw out my left shoulder doing this.

Also, if you would like to stand up for me and my co-delegates, please click here.  You will find CO2sequence’s message to CEOs saying that I (and the people I came to Copenhagen with) are not Hitler Youth.  We can really use your support on this issue.

The flu (H1N1?) has hit our delegation and is wreaking havoc on our hostel today.  I’m already sick with a cold (I hope that’s what it is, and that it’s not going to develop into something worse), and we still have another 10 days to get through.  This might very easily suck, particularly if one of us dies.  The city of Cincinnati would not vaccinate me before I left and the nurse insisted that “you have the same chance as anyone else” of catching H1N1–more lies spawned from the failure that we call the American health care system.

Check back on my previous entries.  I’m adding photos to them.

Just as I was not privileged to be called a “Hitler Youth” by Lord Monckton last night, so was I not able to stand out in sub-freezing temperatures this morning in my bathing suit telling our policymakers not to Leave Us Out in the Cold.

Maybe you’d like to read about those of us who did.  It was published in the Guardian (!).

  • Article in the Guardian
  • The Copenhagen Insider’s take on it.  This is a newspaper dedicated to COP15.
  • We put it on our YouTube channel:

We rock!!  Ok, well these guys rock, I don’t rock–I sit inside the warm Bella Center all day and eat food.

I just got out of a press conference with the Administrator Lisa Jackson and the head of our negotiating team, Dr. Jonathan Pershing.  It was a frank discussion, and strictly off the record, so I’m not sure how much I am supposed to repeat here.  Actually, I didn’t find anything especially noteworthy to report, except that the US youth delegation went in early, and we filled the room with our presence.  We asked a lot of questions, and they explained their stances very clearly and, I hope, honestly.  I wound up liking both Lisa Jackson and Dr. Pershing immensely.

I just wish I had gotten my picture with them.

This came at the end of a day spent at the Bella Center, mostly doing my own thing.  The one gripe I have–and I was told this would happen–is that I am so lost and confused all the time.  I never seem to know what’s going on, I’m always the last to know about things, and I’ve missed out on several events I really wanted to go to already!  It really makes me sad!  I think it’s a technology problem–I wanted a laptop soooo badly, but what I really should have gotten is a blackberry.  Everyone else has one, and that’s how they keep up to date.  Why am I always so backward?  I guess they’ll have to give me a Fossil of the Day Award.

Well, maybe I need to get some sleep.  I’ve got to be in like at 7 am tomorrow…which sucks.  I came in extra late today because of an unfortunate incident with a zinc vitamin.  I missed my mitigation meeting, and I get the sense they need my guidance…for instance, many in the group didn’t realize “emissions targets” are part of mitigation, and I get the sense that a couple of others would hijack the group to promote some radical agenda.  Others “get it”, but want youth to issue declarations on things about which the IPCC has no science.  The Youth are the moral conscience of the UN…and it is our job to hold the UN to its own standards.  How can we hold them to their own standards, if we use some other standard?  That’s what I ask. 

Sorry to bore you with my statesman talk.  It’s bedtime, Liz.