Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Conference Paris

Today world leaders are meeting in Paris at the beginning of a conference on climate. You may have seen this called COP and in case you haven't had time to look it up, I did yesterday and found out that stands for Conference of Parties. Indeed. Not quite a "does exactly what it says on the tin" moment when I read that. I felt like the "c" must surely stand for climate - surely the most important conference on the most important topic in the world might mention that topic in its name? Oh well, I suppose COP is just one of the names.

Anyway, I helped out at the event held in Dusseldorf yesterday. This year, instead of a demonstration and/or march, it was more of an information event and it was held inside. And a good thing, too, as the weather was miserable and I suspect that lots of people wouldn't have ventured out to stand in the cold and rain for three hours.

There were lots of different things on offer, with lots of information on reducing your carbon footprint. And we had a couple of giant "postcards", so that people could take photos and post them to whatever social media services they use (under the #EarthToParis label). And interesting speakers, none of whom spoke for so long that anyone got bored. All in all, it was a pretty good event.

There was an article about it today in the Westdeutsche Zeitung (that's the postcard I made in that picture - I'm famous!). And now there's a short video of the event on youtube, too. Article and video in German, which very few of those who read this blog can understand but what the hell. I'm posting them for posterity. Or something.

It was great to help out at this event - part of what I wanted to do "when I have time" was to try and become a bit more active in supporting causes I believe in. And the kind of help I'm best at offering is the turn up before everyone else and set up chairs and stay after everyone else and clean up kind.

It is, however, somewhat disheartening to realise that so many people are so new to the idea of climate change or of doing anything in their own lives to change their impact on the environment. It just seems like such a long time since I became aware of things like carbon footprints (ten years ago now, because it was around the same time as I discovered blogging and in fact, blogging is the reason I found out so much at the beginning). And even before that environmental friendliness was something I thought really important and had done since I was in school. A whole lot more than ten years ago now.

I know that every individual person who makes even one small change is good. Any progress is progress. But it all feels a bit hopeless again at the moment. Our event did inspire me to try and redouble my own personal efforts, some of which I have been more lax about in the past few years. But still, it seems like we should have moved on by now from "turn off devices that are on stand-by" - how can it be that there are people who aren't aware of that? So, perhaps it's just the way of things when it comes to big crowds and humanity in general, I suppose: you end up inspired and defeatist in equal parts. Which means I'll try to forget about the defeatist clamouring in my head and go for a walk now to try and glory a bit in a nature (even if it's already dark) to swing the scales more heavily to the inspired side of things.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Unfortunately, the text link doesn't work for me tonight. Don't know if that's a regional thing, or just my hinky internet. Well done on the assistance you provided!

We are trying to take baby-steps forward, with the installation of solar power at home last month. But we still over-consume and waste so much. Much work still to be done.