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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.

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.


  1. Moey-- Michael Funke here, using Tristan's name via the KPOV Google site (the only way I know to post here). I understand your feelings, but you have absolutely not failed. The people who control multinational corporations are the cause of the failures in Copenhagen. Their money influences the larger developed nations, and they use their money (or more accurately the threat of withholding it) to force smaller nations into line. I realize you know this, and I recognize that staring corporate power in the face can overwhelm. But, what we lack in money we more than make up for with people power. Organizing and mobilizing, just as you are doing in Copenhagen and here in the U.S., will increase the power of people. And increased power brings more justice, pure and simple. If you have no power, you get no justice. If you have a little power, you get a ittle justice. If you have great power, you get great justice. We've seen this throughout history. Mass movements for change can and have triumphed over corporate power and abuse. It is incredibly difficult and we fight against huge odds. Power, as Frederick Douglass said, concedes nothing without struggle. It never has and it never will. It was a mass movement that won womens' right to vote, the civil rights struggles of the sixties and ultimately ended the Vietnam war. Don't give up the fight. In solidarity, Michael


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