It’s 3AM and my second day here in Copenhagen is just about to finish. In case you have had your head buried in the sand this past month, the world’s leaders, NGOs, religious groups, activists, indigenous peoples and present (and future) climate refugees have gathered to strike a new FAB deal to get us out of the greenhouse mess we have got our planet into. FAB meaning fair, ambitious and (legally) binding. Well, the world’s leaders will have to aim for the FAB deal, the rest of us will aim for the (also fab) grassroots deals, forged with passion, compassion and commitment to ending this habitat destruction non-sense, unique to our species.
Anyway, I have had little sleep but gone through lot of insights, amazing events and a weird array of encounters that give serendipity its good name.
There are three main events on the fringe of the big UN climate change summit. Klima Forum, organised by the Danish government, but with a people’s feel to it; Hopenhagen (gotta love the name) in the main city square and Climate Bottom (another inspired name) in the free town Christiania. The latter is the main hippie joint, where ecovillages, eco-communities, spiritual groups and colourful punters meet to discuss social ecology, education, activism and the new societies.
I’ve been hopping between the Klima Forum and the Christiania meetings, getting conference-stress as there’s just too much to see and not enough time.
I arrived a day earlier with no place to stay and, after a few offers, ended up sleeping in a library! They’ve kitted a large room with about 40 beds, fluffy duvets, soft pillows and a scouts’ feel to it. It’s free and there are only a few of us here, so really a luxury. I feel like I’m in the army, but it’s the rainbow army of eco-soldiers.
It’s difficult to describe the melting pot of feelings that you come across in a day: hope, fear, faith, inspiration, profound sadness, connection, urgency and place. I’ve had tears in my eyes from all of the above emotions brought about by declarations of love, images of the kids in the Maldives and Tuvalu (two islands that have been slowly encroached by the sea and whose population will have to find a new place to live.), a passionate presentation from a Buddhist monk, beautiful people and profound dialogues. When you experience this gamut of emotions and engage on such a personal level with people you’ve never met before, you get a sense of the privilege of being human.
It’s this power of togetherness, of seeing yourself in others, of finding common ground between a marine scientist, a native Brazilian, a Cuban urban gardner and a UK activist, which holds the key to solving this serious planetary crisis. I had never come into such a close contact of the social dimension of climate change.
Here are the highlights so far:
- Went for a Finnish sauna, built from scratch in four weeks in Christiania, with this incredible Finnish forest being, accompanied by Paulo, Mona – a friend I hadn’t seen in years and Aili;
- Chatted to a Brazilian senator for the Para state (where part of the Amazon is) about (not) eating meat, brazil-nut nutloaf and keeping communities living in the forest;
- Got told off by Dutch Buddhist healer for my fear of commitment, even though I had never met her before;
- Met old Brazilian friends and activists and remembered how much energy Brazilian people can have – singing went well into the night;
- Had long and interesting chat with sustainable fisheries expert about ocean acidification as well as using fishing quotas trials and errors as useful wisdom for a climate market solution;
- Met sukhi kundalini yoga teacher from Chile and had amazing private yoga class in the morning at the library;
- Found out that thick socks and flip-flops keep my feet warmer than boots – so have been seen in pink socks and flip-flops running around the conference;
- Discovered that using steam cream as a hair balm in the sauna makes the hair incredibly soft;
- Had great chats with permaculture practicioners from India and Cuba, discovered the Kepper motor, learned about new projects and possibilities.
- Rekindled my love for Brazilian people and started dreaming about all the possibilities of restoring that corner of the Earth (maybe that's a side effect from being too cold!).
I realised that I know enough about the Science. For me it’s time to develop bonds and the spiritual and the social responsibility that cannot be separated from the numbers, models and graphs. I just hope the politicians on the other side of Copenhagen will find the courage to tune into our music.
To follow... The Geekie Post and The Punk Post.
Escrevo a versão em Português amanhã!