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Friday, December 9, 2011

Whose process is this?

Captions: Bobby Peek of groundWork addresses the last remaining activists on 9 December; Africa will be hardest hit; some youngsters joined the all-night vigil, under tarpaulin due to the rain.

The Conference of the Parties is winding to a close. We've seen a document which suggests that the result will be the launching of "a process in order to develop a legal framework applicable to all" (this, of course, means developed and developing countries), a framework agreement committing countries to new targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, "after 2020". Yippee. This puts us on course to (at least) hit a global increase of 4 degrees, which means 8 for us in southern Africa.
As one woman said at the traditional all-night vigil which started at 7:00 pm (she's been to three COPs and attended vigils at each one), "If this isn't working" - as plainly, after 17 years, it isn't - "then what do we do?"
I doffed my journalist's hat and made an activist's plea. Let's take it away from them, I said. Let's mobilise people to put pressure on them - the governments and corporates inside the UN precinct. They live, breathe and make money off us, so we do have power over them. Civil disobedience campaigns, boycotts, persistent picketting, we've used them before with success. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)
We just have to get the message through to people that this is not a political cause, this is about things that do and will matter to them where they live: food, water, air, health, life. Understand that, and massive mobilisation is possible. It's time to tell those who are delaying and backing and filling that we have withdrawn their permits, their rights to act against our common interests. Panzi! Vamos!

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