My photo
Eugene, Oregon, United States
I believe my generation has the unique opportunity to save the world. If no action is taken, the world will see catastrophic climate change within the next half century, the cost of which will be measured in human lives. But at this pivotal moment, we have a window of opportunity. We can create the just, sustainable and prosperous future that we seek. I am a Vassar student spending my junior year at the University of Oregon, and I am going to Copenhagen this December to do everything I can to ensure that a mutual survival pact is agreed upon, not a suicide pact.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Future Lies within Each and Every One of Us




I’m sitting at the Copenhagen airport looking out onto the snowy sunrise outside (its 8:45am, and I’ve been up for hours, but the sun is just beginning to peek through the clouds in this perpetually dark country).  This airport is probably the most incredible airport I’ve ever been to. Its like a mix between an upscale resort, a luxury shopping mall and a fine art museum.  Everything runs smoothly, police officers joke with you as you whisk through security, carolers in santa hats stroll randomly through the halls singing Christmas carols (no kidding), and there are more high-end shops than boarding gates.






Just in case you want to buy a car on your way out



I decided to use my last few Kroners on my first real Danish, and as I enjoy it I realize  that there are a lot of things I didn’t get to do in Copenhagen.  I did not get a chance to see my dad’s favorite church in the world, I didn’t see the famous little mermaid in the Copenhagen harbor, I didn’t go to any museums or historic sites, I didn’t ride the amusements or stroll through the gardens in Tivoli, I didn’t go shopping at the magical Christmas markets (please don’t expect any Scandanavian Christmas presents, friends!), I didn’t even make it to Christiania, the (ex) ‘free town’ where people lived outside the jurisdiction of the government for years.


What I did get from Copenhagen, though, was the chance to witness the very best and worst of humanity all at once.  I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who sacrificed so much to come here to fight for the survival of vulnerable nations and future generations they will never meet, witness brave leaders of small island nations standing up to the most powerful countries in the world and demanding to be heard, and I was able to march with people from every demographic, generation and corner of the world in the freezing cold with a shared vision for a better future.  Then, all at once, I was made to feel helpless as we were pushed out of the conversation and forced to stand back and watch as a few politicians put their own political well-being before the lives of millions.  Experiencing this jarring dichotomy firsthand on such a large scale is something that I know will have a profound impact on many of us, and though I am still processing this experience, I’m sure I am not the same as when I first landed in Denmark.

I have always been one to work ‘within the existing system;’ I have always believed in lobbying and the political process.  But thousands of youth and other stakeholders came to Copenhagen to make our voices heard: We Want a Safe Future!  One hundred thousand people marched in the cold! Candlelight vigils for survival were held all over the world!  Twelve million people worldwide signed  a petition for a fair, ambitious and binding deal!  And yet, world leaders talked and talked and did nothing.  They ‘took note of’ a document which puts the world on a path to 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100.  This means that millions of people will die, and thousands will continue to die every day.  Coming to Copenhagen, I feel the burden of those peoples’ lives now more than ever.  Why doesn’t Obama feel this same burden?  

The snow outside is so peaceful, and the thought that life is just going to go on, blanketed by this very thin veil of a false sense of security, is hard to swallow.  I have had a glimpse of what lies beneath this white gild, and I know its grotesqueness.  But I also know that nobody is giving up.  With hardly a glance backwards at this tragedy, the international youth climate movement is moving forward.  Our movement has had a chance to coalesce here in Copenhagen, and we are now stronger than ever.  Representative Jay Inslee said that we should be prepared to be frustrated for the rest of our lives, and I think that is certainly something I have learned in Copenhagen: I have made a lifelong commitment, and it isn’t going to end when the Senate Bill passes, at COP16, or even at carbon neutral.



Fortunately, I am not alone.  We have all made this commitment, and the connections I have made here are more valuable than any souvenir I could have brought home.  The road will be rough, we will have many more disappointments and crushing defeats, but as long as we have each other, we will succeed.


"The future lies within each and every one of us" -Peter Roquemore

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We wanted just action, not "just" action: COP15 Failure

As you've heard, the negotiations have ended in an accord drafted by Obama with a select few countries (can you say UNDEMOCRATIC?) that has been "acknowledged" by the parties.  From what I understand, basically everyone has just put on the table what they are already doing and 'acknowledged' that they will continue to do it.  This is highly disappointing, and it remains to be seen whether it is even better than a complete failure.  I'm not sure that it is because Obama and other leaders are already touting this accord as a major accomplishment, which it is not.  Please read my friend Amira's analysis of the outcome.  I think that it is very thorough and accurate.


Here in Copenhagen, as we prepare to leave, we have not really even been paying attention to this final day of negotiations.  We know that we are not going to get what is needed to ensure the survival of all nations, and so we are looking forward.  Although we are all emotionally and physically drained after many sleepless nights and bitingly cold days, the amount of determination I see in all my new (and newer) friends' faces as I look around inspires me and shows me that COP15, outside the halls of the Bella Center, was not a failure.  This conference brought together thousands of representatives of the International Youth Climate Movement, and showed us our own strength.  We made connections that will last a lifetime, and we all know that we will not give up.  


A Meeting With Some Real Leaders

Yesterday, climate champion and US Representative Jay Inslee invited US youth to meet with him at the Hard Rock Cafe in Copenhagen.  About ten other youth and I attended this informal meeting.  The incredible thing was that Rep. Inslee reached out to us, and not the other way around.  Not only that, but he recruited his colleagues House Majority Leader Hoyer and Congressman Tim Ryan to join us!  This shows the real power that youth have - our Congresspeople understand our importance and our seeking meetings with us!

It was actually very insightful to hear from these true leaders about how we can best get the Senate Climate Bill passed.  We need to show the Senators who come from states like Ohio that have been ravaged by the economic downturn that a climate bill will create millions of green jobs!  We need to engage the agricultural sector, we need to continue to reach out to religious communities.  The most wonderful thing about this movement, and an unexpected positive aspect to this crisis is its vast applicability.  This problem is not only geographically borderless, but it also affects every subgroup within every community, and the solutions have the possibility to be positive for everyone in our society.


climate_denier_cartoon.jpg

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anatomy of a Meltdown



This title has two meanings.  One refers to COP15 and one refers to myself.  There is no way to describe what this week has been like.  It has been an absolute emotional roller coaster, and since yesterday I have felt like I have failed.  So many of you have believed in me, and it seems like this conference is going to end with nothing, and since I am here I can't help feeling like that is partially my fault.  I know this is absolutely ridiculous, and I guess I just had unrealistic expectations for what could happen at this conference and what I could do at this conference, but I now feel completely jaded about the entire political process.

Today the CCN met with Jeremiah Baumann, Senator Merkley's legislative aid for energy and the environment at a hotel one metro stop past the Bella Center.  (He was amazing, by the way!!  And I am one hundred percent glad that Senator Merkley represents Oregon!) We met at this kind of posh hotel that was bustling with people who were there for the conference, including official delegations.  In the lobby there was this sign for side events for the Carbon Trading Exchange (or something, I'm not sure), and it had the logos of all of its sponsors: Chevron, BP, Shell, Goldman Sachs.  And it hit me.  We have been focusing our efforts in the wrong place.  The Bella Center is not where the negotiations go down.  It is at these hotels where delegates are schmoozed by business leaders.  I guess coming from the US, I should have known this already, but it just kind of solidified for me what is happening here.

I'm sorry that this blog post is so depressing... Unfortunately, it is probably less depressing than it could be.  But there is one thing that gives me strength, and I'm so thankful to my new friends for reminding me of this: the climate movement is not giving up.  The youth and the environmental NGOs aren't going to stop until we achieve climate justice, even if it takes 6 months or 6 years.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Muting of Civil Society

Civil society has begun to be shut out of the conversation.  Just when we realize that we have only five days to push countries to act, our access is limited.  Yesterday, sometime during the afternoon the Bella Center stopped letting people in.  Today and tomorrow, only 30% of observer organizations will be let in.  On Thursday, 1,000 people total out of 35,000 registered will be allowed in, and on Friday, just 90 people will be let in to the negotiations.  

We are angry, but this shut out comes as a catalyst for even more action.  As activists, we realize that WE are the ones who are here in Copenhagen, and thus the duty to act falls on our shoulders.  Unfortunately, as Americans, my friends and I are dually burdened.  It is imperative that Americans understand that the United States’ inaction on climate change is dooming millions of people and full nations to death.  The rest of the world is looking to us go join the debate in a meaningful way.

If something isn’t done about climate change, the reality is that people will continue to die in greater and greater numbers.  Yes, at first it will be small island nations and countries prone to drought and floods, but soon all of us will be affected.  To ensure the survival of all nations, we must pass a treaty that is based on science: one that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350ppm or less, with a global temperature rise of no more than 1 degree Celsius. Our futures are intrinsically bound together, and we must stand together in an unequivocal call to action.  

Call Obama and your senators to demand action on climate change today.  
-White House Comment Line Number: 202-456-1111
-Senators’ Numbers: www.senate.gov

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet me by the Giant Purple Balloon next to the Pandas with Flames on their Heads and After the Dragon

It is hard to describe for you what it is like to be a part of a 100,000 person event.  I can only give my small 1/100,000 of a perspective.  Jette, Ebbe, Katherine and I rode into the city together, and had to get off early because it wasn’t running its full route due to the march. People were streaming from all different directions to the starting point - Parliament Square. Once we met up with some of the people from our group (which was no easy task), we grabbed a bite to eat at a bakery that was so busy it was giving numbers out like it was the DMV, and watched a creative street performance of some guys who could play entire songs on half full beer bottles.  We began to walk with the march.  The crowd went on for days (or, rather ~4 miles I am told), and the general attitude was one of collective joy and determination. 

My group was kind of moving through the crowd because we were trying to find the ‘youth’ section,’ so we saw the variety of the people involved.  There were people with communist flags, a party bus that was blaring techno music and shooting gold confetti, about 20 humans dressed as panda bears, a campfire on wheels (this was great because it was freezing out!), a group of people wearing green construction hats who every few minutes would stop then run forward, a life-sized marionette with people acting out the roles of world leaders being played by big business, several sails, an ark, and so much more.  It was very easy to get separated from each other, and once we were separated, it was very hard to find each other again, but the instructions for how to meet were something like “meet me by the giant purple balloon next to the pandas with flames on their heads and after the dragon.” 

There were police present, but I did not see any conflict between demonstrators and the police whatsoever.  In fact, people were taking pictures with the riot cops, and one cop even held a sign for a picture.  As far as I know, the entirety of the march was completely peaceful, except for the 900 or so outrageous detainments at the end of the demo.  

As the sun went down, we all began to gather in the streets outside of the Bella Center. We bought big candles for the candlelight vigil and joined the thousands of people from around the world in dancing and listening to inspiring speakers. I think this has to be one of the largest and most international events ever.  There were literally people from every corner of the globe represented, and we are all calling on our leaders to pass a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal in Copenhagen to ensure a safe future.

Read more here

Saturday, December 12, 2009

KPOV in Copenhagen

I'm doing some reporting for my favorite radio station KPOV!  Listen to my first two reports here!

Sunbreak

Today is the day of the big march, and I've got my mermaid outfit on.  No, really - I'm going as a mermaid (pictures to come)!  There is a certain amount of trepidation in the air.  We are all hoping for a peaceful protest, but you can never be sure.  I was talking with a Danish woman at a bar last night, and she said she had a five year old son and his school advised them to stay inside today.  But this morning is the first time I've seen sunshine since I left Oregon, so I am taking that as a sign.  I think people from all over the world are going to come together to show our so-called 'leaders' that we want a fair, ambitious and binding deal in Copenhagen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Feel of Hopenhagen

Jeremy, one of the organizers of Powershift West, and one of my friends who is also here with the CCN, is also a much better blogger than I am.  Here is his overview of Copenhagen and COP15 made up of good pictures and their captions.  I think he does a really good job of giving the feel of the city and the conference.  Read his post here.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

I'm sitting in a room in the Bella Center called Leonora Christina waiting for the COP 15 president (Connie Hedegaard)'s briefing for civil society.  I arrived at the Bella Center not too long ago after some much needed sleep!

Apparently one of the big stories in the US is about Bella Center security - which I think is kind of funny because it took me like 7 minutes to get through security this morning, lines and all.  Next week, though, is when the (more than 100!) heads of state will begin to arrive, and I'm sure that security will begin to ramp up soon in preparation for that.

Yesterday was exhausting.  After our Cascade Climate Network meeting (follow us here!), I met with the international youth adaptation policy group.  We spent four hours reading the actual text being negotiated and picking out areas we want to support.  In UN negotiations, you will have the text of the treaty, and any portion of the text that is still in contention will be [bracketed].  Based on the policy principles we had already agreed to support, we chose about ten portions of the text that we are going to advocate to be unbracketed.  We sent our recommendations to the YOUNGO Spokescouncil meeting to be approved by representatives from all the youth groups who are here.

After snagging a free dinner (a fairly foul hummus & zucchini sandwich at a reception... I am the worst vegetarian ever, I know), I went to this awesome event between Chinese and American youth.  There are about 40 young people from China here, and we had a shared visioning session together.  It was really powerful to talk about our governments' roles in these negotiations and how we can work together to build a relationship of trust and mutual understanding between our two countries.

Well, Connie never showed up for the briefing (that's the way things go here - the schedule is always being changed) so now I am eating a carrot cake (what is it with the Danes and carrot cake??) and drinking a coffee at one of the many busy cafes throughout the Bella Center, prepping for the next meeting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Official UNFCCC Video of Adaptation Intervention

For the official UNFCCC video of our adaptation intervention, Click Here and go to 2:42:00.

US Youth ROCKED the State Department Policy Briefing!

This is a blog post my friend Ethan (he is a freshman at Vassar!) wrote about the US State Department briefing on Tuesday.  Pretty awesome!


http://sscinternational.org/2009/12/09/its-a-victory-us-youth-overwhelms-state-department-briefing/





At 6:30 PM this past evening, the US State Department held a closed policy briefing with all US Environmental NGOs- including the US Youth Delegation. Heading the proceedings was the Chief Administrator of the EPA  (and youth climate movement supporter!) Lisa Jackson along with the US Deputy Special Envoy on Climate Change Jonathan Pershing. In light of the US's transformed role as a constructive actor in the international negotiating process as well as the recent EPA announcement regarding the Obama Administration's mandate to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act, this briefing presented an extroardinary opportunity for civil society delegates to hear from the head honchos about the emerging political dynamics of COP15 and how the US plans to assert its position. About an hour prior to the briefing, I huddled up with other members of the US Youth Delegation Policy Working Group and helped hash out tough questions about US roles and policy positions in context to COP15. Our plan was simple: strategically prioritize a few questions for both Administrator Jackson and Negotiator Pershing and distribute them to all US Youth in attendance to ensure that the most critical issues were addressed. Depending on the number of youth in the room, we figured we'd at best get one or two questions answered.
How wrong we were. As participants filed into their seats and the proceedings began, I quickly realized that youth constituted an overwhelming majority (the-numbers-that-let-you-block-filibusters-in-the-Senate-kind-of-majority) of NGO members present! As EPA Chief Jackson took her seat at the panel, a standing ovation marked the beginning of an amazing evening. Although I cannot disseminate exact details of the briefing, the atmosphere was positive and buzzing with energy. After an interesting brief on the US policy position by Pershing and a brief speech by Jackson, the floor was opened for questions. In the row in front of me, a US Youth Delegate donning a PowerShift t-shirt was called on. As she began her question, she announced that she was in attendance along with over 500 American Youth. She turned around, and about 80% of the room waved to our negotiators. Now that is an illustration of power. From there, 6 of the 9 questions during the session were posed by youth leaders. Although there are undoubtedly critical issues to be addressed by the US negotiating team and much work to be done by our movement to ensure that our leaders are behind a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty, the momentum is moving in a positive direction. At the end of the session, the moderator of the briefing- an administrator under Secretary of Energy Steven Chu- gave a wholesome shout out to the youth delegates in attendance. This is what we need- US Youth at COP15 will continue to show our leaders that we are paying attention- and that our future is in their hands.

--
Ethan Buckner
Youth Organizer
Sierra Student Coalition -- www.ssc.org
Vassar College Class of 2013






Listen to my Report from Copenhagen on KPOV at 5pm!

KPOV 106.7, Bend's Community Radio Station is airing reports on Copenhagen from me during these next two weeks!  Listen in at 5pm on Wednesday and Friday of this week and Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week!


www.kpov.org.jpg  

Speaking to the UN


I'm sitting at a table in the Bella Center next to SustainUS's booth with some members of the CCN and other Americans.   We are all on our laptops watching and rewatching the amazing video we just posted on youtube of a bunch of my friends crashing the Americans for Prosperity climate deniers live webcast event.  We are all writing our blogs while we drink the free wine from the various side events (yes!) and unwind from a very eventful day.









Today I had the amazing opportunity to speak on behalf of the youth at an official UN session.  All of the countries who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol were present, and I was given the floor by COP 15 President Connie Hedegaard.  While I delivered my speech (video to come!), I tried not to look at the huge video screens that broadcast my 40 foot face back to me.  Connie Hedegaard responded, “thank you for that very clear call for adaptation funding” and the room applauded, even though there were almost no youth delegates present because NGOs were blocked from the room as a result of the awesome Tuvalu disruption (definitely the biggest thing that happened here today).  


After just 90 seconds, it was over, but I hope that our message, that the countries who caused this problem must pay for its effects, will resonate.

The most gratifying part of my day was when two members of the Nepalese delegation rushed to thank me and gave me two postcards of Nepalese mountains and said “this is what is melting.  this is where we held our cabinet meeting.”  I can’t believe that the delegates from Nepal thanked me.  




Here is the text of my speech (video to come):

“Thank you for the floor, Madame President. 
Vulnerable people world-wide are already suffering the impacts of a warming planet: the World Health Organization estimates that climate change contributes to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses annually. These effects will only increase in their severity and universality. In addition to ambitious and binding emissions reductions, you must commit to adequate adaptation funding for affected communities now; here, in Copenhagen.  
People around the world are already taking steps to preserve their lives and livelihoods. Farmers develop high yield grains to address food shortages,  women plant trees to mitigate drought, and coastal communities organize to prepare for the next storm. I too am willing to adapt. This is my adaptation promise:   
As a youth from an Annex 1 country, I will gladly give 25 cents a day for climate resilience. With 25 cents a day, my friends in the Maldives can retain their national sovereignty. With 25 cents a day, my sisters in Bangladesh can implement rapid response systems to save their families in flash floods. With just 25 cents a day, my peers in Nepal can develop water resource management for when their glaciers melt. 
I call on wealthy governments to give at least $100 billion dollars per year to an adaptation fund that is accessible, democratically-run and accountable to the UN treaty. These grants must be additional to existing ODA and commensurate with the immense scale of our countries’ historical contributions to this global crisis. This is not a question of aid, but of just compensation. Only 25 cents a day per Annex 1 citizen is all it would take.”


Thank you to Amira Karim, Katherine Phillipson, Jess LeClair and Marielle Remillard for being such a great speech-writing and support team!



Some awesome members of our adaptation group: Kartik (India), Beth (Australia), and Amira (Singapore)

Working working working!



A relatively small crowd inside the Bella Center


John Ashe, Chair of the AWG-LCA before a special briefing for the youth



Some new friends (and Zach)



Ethan in the hizzouse!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You Might be Able to Catch My Intervention LIVE....

There is a live webcast at this website: http://www3.cop15.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop15/templ/ovw.php?id_kongressmain=1&theme=unfccc

I am presenting during agenda item 3 at the Conference of Meeting Parties (CMP) which will be sometime between 3pm-6pm here (+9 hours from west coast time)... You might be able to catch it here!

New Danish (Lebara) #52 69 69 78

My Danish Cell Phone # (Lebara): +45 52 69 69 78

If you are calling from an international number, please let me know beforehand and I will switch to my UK sim card (free incoming).
_________________________________
Moey Newbold
moeyoldbold@gmail.com • 845.489.2017
University of Oregon '11 • Vassar College '11
www.moeyincph.blogspot.com

I will be in Copenhagen for the COP15 International Climate Negotiations from Dec. 2nd-20th;
here is my contact info:
UK Cell Phone:
• +44-7924-297-031 •
Danish Cell Phone (Lebara):
• +45-52-6969-78 •
Skype/Jabber:
• moeyoldbold •

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm Doing an Intervention at CMP!

BIG NEWS! That I am too tired to relay properly....

During plenary sessions, civil society has the opportunity to intervene with a short (90sec) speech.  Tomorrow at the Conference of Meeting Parties (countries who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol), I am doing an Intervention on behalf of the International Youth's Adaptation Policy Group!  I will be speaking in front of most of the world.  Incredible.  This will take place sometime between 3pm and 6pm CPH time.  We just finished drafting the speech.  Here it is:

Thank you for the floor, Mr. Chairman. 

Vulnerable people world-wide are already suffering the impacts of a warming planet: the World Health Organization estimates that climate change contributes to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses annually. These effects will only increase in their severity and universality. In addition to ambitious and binding emissions reductions, you must commit to adequate adaptation funding for affected communities now; here, in Copenhagen.  

People around the world are already taking steps to preserve their lives and livelihoods. Farmers develop high yield grains to address food shortages,  women plant trees to mitigate drought and coastal communities organize to prepare for the next storm. I too am willing to adapt. This is my adaptation promise:   

As a youth from an Annex 1 country, I will give 25 cents a day for climate resilience. With 25 cents a day, my friends in the Maldives can retain their national sovereignty. With 25 cents a day, my sisters in Bangladesh can implement rapid response systems to save their families in flash floods. With just 25 cents a day, my peers in Nepal can develop water resource management for when their glaciers melt. 

I call on wealthy governments to give at least $100 billion dollars per year to an adaptation fund that is accessible, democratically-run and accountable to the UN treaty. These grants must be in addition to existing ODA and commensurate with the immense scale of our countries' historical contributions to this global crisis. This is not a question of aid, but of just compensation. 25 cents a day per Annex 1 citizen is all it would take. 


_________________________________
Moey Newbold
moeyoldbold@gmail.com • 845.489.2017
University of Oregon '11 • Vassar College '11
www.moeyincph.blogspot.com

I will be in Copenhagen for the COP15 International Climate Negotiations from Dec. 2nd-20th; 
here is my contact info:
UK Cell Phone:
• +44-7924-297-031 •
Skype/Jabber:
• moeyoldbold •








New Number in Copenhagen

I temporarily have a new number in Copenhagen!  My rental cell phone company messed up so they sent me a new sim card with the number 
+44-7924-297-031, 
but I am trying to get a lepara number so that I can make cheap calls locally so my number may change again.

_________________________________
Moey Newbold
moeyoldbold@gmail.com • 845.489.2017
University of Oregon '11 • Vassar College '11
www.moeyincph.blogspot.com

I will be in Copenhagen for the COP15 International Climate Negotiations from Dec. 2nd-20th; 
here is my contact info:
UK Cell Phone:
• +44-7924-297-031 •
Skype/Jabber:
• moeyoldbold •








Thank You

I want to thank you for reading my blog, commenting, forwarding it to your contacts, and for supporting the global movement for a just future.

I would love to hear more from you!  What aspects of my experience would you like to know more about?  Is my blog too dry?  does it need more pictures, less text? more text, fewer pictures?  Do you have specific questions?


Thanks!
Moey.

Word of the day: Overwhelming

Hey, that's me!  After arriving at the Bella Center this morning, I met with the Tck Tck Tck campaign and waited around holding my box that said 'people' for hours!!  But it was so awesome because I got to be on stage at this press conference when we delivered the petition for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding deal to Connie Hedegard (COP 15 President, former Denmark Climate Change Minister) and Ivo Boer (UNFCCC Secretary), which was amazing.  What was more amazing was the speech Leah gave.  She is from Fiji, and she broke down in tears when she talked about how she hoped her children would be able to live in her beautiful home country. She demanded that the talking end and the action begin, and Ivo Boer's response was kind of funny because he said, "I know you want less talking and more action, but I ask you to be patient and give us just two more weeks to talk, then I promise that we will act." It was cute, and although I'm sure he means it, politicians' promises don't mean much these days (or ever, I suppose)!


"10,000,000 people want a fair, ambitious and binding deal"

I am on the left holding the box with the word people on it, and that is Connie Hedegard in lilac.

We are actually at 10.5 million people now, but the higher the number the better so sign the petition now!







The word of the day is: OVERWHELMING.

There is so much going on at the Bella Center, I think you could probably stretch every hour into a day and still not have enough time to attend or check out everything going on at the Bella Center (hundreds of booths, actions, side events, meetings, cool media presentations, etc, etc), and then you haven't even gotten to everything that is happening in the rest of the city!  The alternative climate summit KlimaForum, for instance.  That is why I am trying to narrow my focus... I think I can be most effective if I choose something that I feel I can make substantive headway on as one individual amongst all of this madness, and then do everything I can to move that issue along.

My pet issue within the vast, broad, globe-encompassing topic of climate change is adaptation policy.  Today some members of the US youth delegation met up to start to organize our policy efforts, and we have decided that we will consolidate a US policy statement so that when we run into key negotiators, we can talk to them about the issues.  Also, the US State Department will hold a briefing every other day, and we want to try to pack the meeting, and ask pointed questions of our delegation.  I am excited about this effort, because as a US citizen, I have an added responsibility to pressure my government to do the right thing since what the US does has the ability to make or break what the rest of the world does.

We have seen this concept in action recently.  Before Obama changed his plans to attend COP15, the general view was that Copenhagen couldn't produce any sort of substantial deal.  Since Obama has planned to attend the end of the conference, the number of Heads of State has increased from about 60 to over 100, and now everyone expects a deal to come out of Copenhagen.




Flash mob that I unfortunately didn't get to join in on because I was delivering the tck tck tck petition

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quick Update

WOW!!  There is so much going on here.. I wish I had time to tell you about it all right now, but I just quickly want to say that:

1) I MET AMY GOODMAN!!! (Radio host of Democracy Now), and might be on her show.
2) I helped deliver the Tck Tck Tck petition to COP15 President (former Denmark Minister of Climate Change) Connie Hedegard and UNFCCC Secretary Ivo Deboer!  Over 10 million people want a fair, ambitious and binding treaty.  Sign the petition here.

Registering for COP15

This morning I took the metro to the Bella Center to get my security badge for COP15!!!





Arriving at the Bella Center





There is fairly high security at the Bella Center (shoes stay on), and I had to wait in line for almost an hour to go through security then check in with my passport to get my badge.  One negotiator lady was yelling at the security guard that she had to wait in line because she was going to miss her meeting and was 'demanding to speak with his boss'... he replied that his boss was the UN Secretary of Security.









It is a very unique experience because the NGOs, Negotiators and Media are all mixed together.  I met a very friendly man from the Niger delegation while waiting in line for my travel pass (free public transit for all delegates!).












Although this conference is the 15th meeting of 'the parties,' it is like nothing that has ever happened before, and everyone is expecting precedents to be broken.  We are about to be witnesses to an historical moment.













My official COP15 badge!!







Inside the Bella Center... lots of lines on this last day before the conference starts.












A refugee counter with an eerie statue just outside the Bella Center.  One of the many visual representations around the city to remind delegates why they are here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Our future will not be written for us. Our future will be written by us"


Today was the first day of the Conference of Youth!  What an amazing experience.  There are over 500 young people from almost every country in the world here working together to prepare for COP15.  There is so much energy, knowledge and dedication in this group of people, I am certain that we will  make ourselves heard and our leaders will not be able to ignore our vision for the future any longer.

I went to two workshops, mingled with people and watched a mini flash dance during lunch, then there was an 'open space' discussion where we broke into groups of about twenty and discussed the youth's goals, role, and how we can be most effective at COP15.  Then, we learned about the structure of YOUNGO, which (I believe) is now an official "constituency" recognized by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).  

I went to the YOUNGO Adaptation Policy group, where we had a very productive meeting.  We identified our strategies for ensuring that funding for adaptation is included in the treaty.  We are first going to find out what the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the African Constituency and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and any other relevant groups would like to see in the treaty, then we will identify which delegates we should target for lobbying.  As a member of Youth Supporting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for a Just and Sustainable World, I am going to hopefully get sexual and reproductive health and rights in any adaptation document we create.  

In one of the workshops, we learned about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which basically allows large companies in developing countries to essentially receive money from developed countries for putting in place supposed carbon reduction projects.  After we had been discussing the intricacies of this program, a young woman from the Caribbean raised her hand in anger and asked why, if there are people who live in places like her homeland, that are going to be catastrophically affected by climate change, and peoples' homes and entire countries are going to be submerged underwater, leaving them with nothing, are we pandering to businesses?  Why aren't governments doing something to stop this thing which already is harming so many peoples' lives?  It was the first time I had heard an appeal from someone who is already being affected by climate change, and it was really powerful for me because it brought home just how high the stakes are.  This is not about politics, its not about policy, and its not even about the environment. This is about the survival of real people, and as a human race we have the choice to either let them die or to stop climate change.

End of COY, Beginning of COP15

Today is the first day of the conference!!!  In the next two weeks, sixty thousand people will converge on this city to try to influence the outcome of a treaty negotiated by the worlds’ governments that will decide the fate of the world. 

Yesterday, at the second and final day of the Conference of Youth, the focus zoomed in on ‘getting down to business,’ and unifying our amazing and unprecedented global youth movement.  Kumi Naidoo, a remarkable social justice activist, and the new president of Greenpeace whose presidency perfectly represents the necessary merging of two movements, was the keynote speaker for the conference.  

He made the point that we cannot allow leaders to simply make commitments to reduce emissions by 2050, because that essentially means nothing to them.  They will be dead, and will not be able to be held accountable for their promises, nor will they have to deal with the catastrophic effects of their broken commitments.  We must accept nothing less than a legally binding treaty that reduces emissions by 40% (of 1990 levels) by the year 2020.

And, as 1,000 youth from over 100 countries made clear last night, we won’t accept anything less. Bring It On!

COY workshop


This picture is for Phil Glover


Kumi Naidoo - so awesome!


WWF  life-sized Polar Bear sculpture made out of ice!




Friday, December 4, 2009

Incredible News! New Hope!

Obama has changed his plans!!! He has now decided to attend the last day of COP15 instead of just 'stopping through' on his way to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize on the much less crucial day of December 9th.  He decided to change his plans after learning that China and India are prepared to make commitments to reduce their emissions.

This is amazing news!!  We may have a binding treaty yet!

He also acknowledged the importance of adaptation for developing countries!!! THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, PRESIDENT OBAMA!

After organizing several campaigns to include adaptation funding for developing countries, this quote from the White House makes me so happy:
"This week, the President discussed the status of the negotiations with Prime Minister Rudd, Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy, and Prime Minister Brown and concluded that there appears to be an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilize $10 billion a year by 2012 to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could be destabilized by the impacts of climate change. The United States will pay its fair share of that amount and other countries will make substantial commitments as well. In Copenhagen, we also need to address the need for financing in the longer term to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Providing this assistance is not only a humanitarian imperative – it’s an investment in our common security, as no climate change accord can succeed if it does not help all countries reduce their emissions."

What a great singer!

I recorded this gem just before dozing off in a student hangout/bar...  I discovered that I am not over my jetlag yet.

Day 1: Getting to know Copenhagen




Today got off to a late start (even though I was up at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep!). I spent the morning waiting for Katherine to arrive, then trying to check in at the Bella Center (where COP15 is being held), but the SustainUS delegation has not been entered into the system yet we won't be able to check in until tomorrow or Sunday. After riding the metro back into the city center, some other members of the Sexual Health/Reproductive Health group, Kimberley, Mimi and I camped out at a cafe working on our media designs and policy statement for the Conference of Youth which starts tomorrow.


Being in Copenhagen certainly gives a different perspective about what is possible as far as living sustainable lives. It seems like sustainability is at the forefront of everyones' minds. I learned from my host Ebbe during breakfast this morning that Denmark levies an 100% tax on gasoline AND cars. No wonder there are so many bikes! I think this shows that market incentives really do make a difference - the Danish people ride their bikes everywhere and the city is incredibly bike-friendly. The United States really seems out of date when compared with the Scandanavian countries.







View from the back(/front) of the driverless metro - It doesn't seem like the sun ever breaks through this intense cloud cover!


Katherine and I at the Bella Center metro (brrrr.. its cold out here!)


Windmill near the Bella Center - my hosts Jette & Ebbe own a share of a windmill commensurate with their electricity use


Bella Center - soon over 60 world leaders will be gathering here!


Some cool apartments near the Bella Center


Tivoli! Can't wait to explore these pretty gardens.


Ferris wheel in downtown Copenhagen


Giant globe at the 'Hopenhagen' site - a square that has been transformed into a future city where people can see ways in which we can live in a sustainable world.  Sign the Hopenhagen climate petition and become a citizen of Hopenhagen here.

Jette & Ebbe's


Since my decision to go to Copenhagen was fairly last minute, and I didn't have a lot of time to apply for housing, I am fortunate enough to have a very kind friend Katherine Philipson who asked the hosts she received through New Life Copenhagen if they would be willing to put me up also.  The graciously agreed, and I am so thankful!  Their house is like a little slice of heaven.  It is adorable!  And they are so kind and generous.  Below are some pictures.  I am headed off to the Bella Center to check in!  





the dining room

the kitchen


our room downstairs

the patio/garden

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So Many Bikes!

I'm here!  What a cool city.  Haven't seen too much of it yet, just enough to know that it is entirely possible to get hit by a herd of bicyclists here.  My hosts are incredible - Katherine and I get the whole downstairs to ourselves and I had a home-cooked vegetarian meal for dinner tonight.  Too tired to write much else.  Hopefully I will have pictures for you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Successful Lobby Meeting




Maneesh Arora, Kelsey Ward, Casey Gifford, Karyn Smoot, and me outside the Eugene courthouse before delivering our photo petition!



Less than an hour ago, four other students and I met with Senator Wyden's Eugene Field Representative to ask Senator Wyden to strengthen the climate bill.  She was very receptive to our asks (Require 25% of our electricity to come from clean, renewable sources by 2025; Utilities should be required to use one third of all emission allowances allocated for investments in energy efficiency; Retain the EPA’s authority to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions; Include funding for adaptation for here and abroad) as well as candid about the type of feedback they receive in their office.  She brought up an interesting point - there are no young people who are actively mobilizing against stopping climate change.  The only people who call in to say they want things to stay the same are people from the older generations.  She said that since the climate bill has been pushed behind other reform (health care, jobs stimulus, finance) in the senate, the best time for us to come back in would be early February, and she suggested that we video conference the D.C. office.  I am looking forward to following through with this opportunity!


I leave tomorrow morning at 8am!  Now it is time to pack, meet with profs about finals, and take care of everything I need to do before I leave the states.  Copenhagen here I come!

This is what 500 supporters of a Clean Energy Economy looks like!

Today, a group of three students and I met with Senator Merkley's field rep to ask Senator Merkley to strengthen the climate bill.  We presented him with this photo petition that has over 500 pictures of students and community members posing with our wind turbine prop.  He was really excited about the photo petition and put it up in the office!  Overall, the meeting went really well, which is pretty much expected because Merkley is really great on climate change.  The rep said that he would get back to us on the four points that we brought up.  I am proud of our lobbying team - I think they did a fantastic job!


500 pictures of people with the wind turbine



Me with the photo petition


A close-up of the photo petition