The other day during my videotaped interview with visual artist Frans Jacobi I was asked a rather awkward question: “So what access do you have to the decision-makers here in Copenhagen?”
I had to confess that my access, truth be told, is more on a spiritual level than on a direct level. Of course I would welcome an opportunity to have a chat with my mate Obama about our need for him to show strong leadership on a global move towards sustainability – but in the real world, it isn’t going to happen.
No doubt the decision-makers are aware that there is a multitude of NGOs, campaigners, scientists, bloggers, economists, activists, artists and random eco-adventurers assembled in Copenhagen, and all making a great deal of noise – demonstrations, exhibitions, side events, art installations and so on. But how much of this noise filters through the heavy doors and tight security of the Bella Center to the delegates within? Not so much, I suspect.
So what are we all doing here? Is there any point to all this frenzied activity (and all the tons of CO2 generated to get here) or is this just lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing? How open are the delegates to persuasion at this stage? Have their minds already been made up – possibly after extensive consultation with ministers, advisors, lobbyists, and captains of industry?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’ve been asking them for over a year now, trying to figure out what I can do to make a few waves, spread a few ripples, without being completely engulfed by the tsunami of activity around COP15. And after all this thinking I still don’t have an answer.
All I know is that I felt an irresistible compulsion to be here. I couldn’t stand on the sidelines. I had to be here, to do what I can to make a difference. And so I write and I present and I talk to cameras and journalists and bloggers.
But most of all I am contributing my energy and intention to the cause. I might be just one of many thousands, but I have to believe that the accumulated effect of our desire for a greener future will have some influence on the politicians. To use the metaphor of the million oarstrokes it takes me to get across an ocean, one stroke doesn’t get me very far, but a million strokes carries me 3,000 miles. Likewise, my voice here may be small, but when you take the combined forces of the thousands of people in Copenhagen, and millions around the world, who are all focused on this one city and this one history-making event, and maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference.
Or to take my more recent theme that “he who controls the wind, controls all the ships” – I might just be one person standing on the shore, cheeks puffed out and blowing for all I’m worth, but if there are enough of us doing the same thing, standing on the shore and huffing and puffing, maybe we can get those ships of nations pointing the same way, moving in the same direction towards the same goal, instead of meandering around slowly on collision courses with each other.
If we all pull together, we CAN save the world!
I realize here that I am veering into climate change territory – no doubt to the delight of Christopher Schmidt and the derision of the deniers. So to reassure myself, and others, that I’m standing on firm factual ground, here are 10 Facts on Climate Science – issued by the UK Government’s Act on Copenhagen team.
This afternoon I am joining in with the march from central Copenhagen to the Bella Center, followed by a candlelit vigil. I have never been on a march before – the closest I have come was the bike rally on Capitol Hill at the end of the Climate Ride in September. There have been some predictions that this afternoon could turn violent (ooh, and look –there’s a mention of my ships!) but I sincerely hope that these fears are unfounded. I am sure that most of the activists want a peaceful demonstration, and will not be happy if the event is hijacked by a small handful of troublemakers. Violence has never solved anything.
I’ll be walking with the gang from 350.org. Details of candlelight vigils around the world are on their website. It will be wonderful to imagine a global community showing solidarity with the campaigners here in Copenhagen.