It's Going to Be Beautiful

There are reasons to be encouraged about the negotiations in Copenhagen, and ways to get involved in your own backyard.

I know many of you are busy preparing for this weekend's vigils, and I know you're all hearing a lot about the climate talks in Copenhagen.

But since we're all working on the same team, I wanted to give you
an inside/outside sense of all that's happening in one of the more
important weeks in the history of this ball of rock and water we call
the earth.

From inside Copenhagen, our crew (which at exactly 350 mostly young
souls is reportedly the largest accredited delegation to the talks!)
reports the following:

  • It's cold and gray and the sun sets at 3:30 pm, but exciting to
    be in a world where everyone is focused on the climate. Sometimes,
    amongst all the wonderful activists from every corner of the world, you can really sense how the planet might come together.
  • As
    of Wednesday evening, the 350 target is still in the treaty's
    "negotiating text." Our movement's lobbying efforts-both in the UN and
    around the world-might end up bearing fruit. Few negotiators have
    managed to avoid our briefing papers on the science of 350, and many of
    them are showing their support in style with 350 ties and lapel pins.
    But the most persuasive lobbying tool has proven to be the photos-your photos-from
    the 350 events around the world. Amidst all the compromises and
    politicking, seeing 350 as a possible element of a global climate
    treaty is a refreshing acknowledgment of the reality of physics and
    chemistry-and a crucial reminder of the bottom line for this whole
    elaborate process.
  • More and more countries and leaders are
    using the 350 figure publicly. Bolivia stepped up to the plate and made
    the 350 target a main point of their opening statement; then Al Gore
    gave a remarkable speech saying no matter what happens we have to keep
    working till we get to 350. Yesterday in the New York Times,
    Thomas Lovejoy, one of the planet's great biologists, put it bluntly:
    "350 ppm--that is the upper limit for dangerous interference with
    ecosystems." And it's sinking in. Countries on the front lines of
    climate change-like small Pacific islands and many drought-inflicted African countries-are
    taking stronger stances and refusing to accept the limp compromises
    currently on the negotiating table. There is a growing understanding
    that simply getting a deal in Copenhagen is not the point-that any deal
    that does not point us towards 350 is, in a very real sense, a failure.

And a few updates from outside Copenhagen, where people all over the world are getting ready for this weekend's vigils:

  • In the Netherlands alone, 447 churches will be ringing their
    bells 350 times this Sunday (here in Denmark there will be a huge
    church service at the main cathedral, with the Archbishop of Canterbury
    in attendance and with the bell tolling 350 times). These are just a
    portion of the many "sounds of 350" events that people are registering
    for this weekend.
  • We're hearing about really beautiful vigils
    planned almost everywhere: bicycle caravans converging on the US
    embassy in Hanoi; concerts in Bolivia and Caracas; a bridge of lights
    across the river in Portland, Oregon; women and girls gathering in Fiji
    to make "climate art" from recycled materials. And everywhere people
    will be shining light and hope into this troubled world: candles and
    high-efficiency LEDs in Cali and Wellington, Guadalajara and Sydney, on
    and on. In Hawai'i, surfers will paddle out into the ocean with candles
    on their boards, and the sacred mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea
    framed in the background. And here in Copenhagen, we're working with
    our allies to help coordinate a candlelight vigil with Desmond Tutu and
    other prominent global leaders. In no uncertain terms-and in visually
    striking ways-we'll demand a real deal from our leaders. It's going to
    be beautiful.

Don't get too excited, or too despairing, at any of the news reports
coming out from the conference-remember, this is one stop on a long
journey towards a just and working planet.

You are the people leading that journey, and we're profoundly grateful for it.

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps.

M. (2009, December 11). Kumi Naidoo on How We\'ll Win at Copenhagen.
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