COP17 Day 2: Finding a Way Forward

Its been a hectic time here in Durban, and its only day 2. Everyone I see or meet is already exhausted from their commute or preparations and the COP hasn’t even hit its stride. There’s chaos around as many people are amidst figuring out where they’re supposed to be and how to get there. Yet I hear, “we are facing a massive and monumental challenge, but we have to work together to change this.”

But where is the united voice? With no consolidated front from civil society, or any proposal about an alternatives.

Even better, over lunch, trying to throw my plastic bottle (the only type available!) away in a recycling bin was a monumental battle of unprecedented level. I had been driving (the irony!) around all morning trying to sort out an Internet connection issue and had finally found parking and space to enter the ‘official’ COP space around the International Conference Centre. Finding ones way was marginally difficult and the fact that air conditioning in fancy, plastic prefab tents is everywhere with very few people visiting them to make the need to create cool air worth the effort, was marginally disturbing.

Entering the exhibition space, a space I in which several people I had met at COP had invited me to, was completely blocked. It was ‘Us versus over 100 security guards blocked.’ Along with xray scanners, long queuing lines, and batons separated.

After explaining to many people that I had organizational observer status and so on and such, I was rather blankly told “no, there is no one way.”

Exclusion, being removed and completely out of the loop. It was a bizarre feeling, wanting to be a part of something, wanting to participate, trying oh so hard to do so and yet, denial and exclusion. So, closed from access to the official space, I moved to the free space, the external environment of the elite negotiation space. In this we gowned more plastic, more power plugs and fake walls than ever before. Buying food with paper tokens, eating with plastic forks, while sitting under plastic!? Completely removed from climate change realities and utterly removed from the grassroots people and organizations who face the realities of climate change each and every day.

The conversations about climate change have been the same every day, and the same we have heard for the last 3-10 years! Come on people! Shake it up! It’s no longer about the 1.5 or 2 degree changes, it’s no longer about the percent of emissions reduction, it’s also no longer just about the Kyoto protocol and whether we have another period or not. I think its about time we get angry about what this bloated negotiation is all about – nothing essentially, so lets move on.

What is “a balanced package”?! What will this green economy or new negotiations look like?!

It’s a ridiculous fallacy to continue as we are and stop the questioning, pushing or fighting for a serious alternative. Thats the way forward – complete change of the norm. Otherwise, its just business as usual. So me and the anorexic polar bears will be swimming together in the Indian ocean within about two years, as we watch things disappear.

Best regards,
Megan

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