Mario Di Simine

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Staged protests aplenty at COP15 — Do they matter?

December 9, 2009

CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/Not a day goes by at the Bella Center here in Copenhagen, site of the UN Climate Conference now underway, without some group or another staging a protest or demonstration.

There are staged events that we know are coming and some that seem to just spring up.

On Monday we had a youth-led Lennon-inspired bed in that was well flagged and a Pan-African march that ostensibly materialized out of thin air, coming at precisely the same time the head of the WWF delegation was giving a news conference just yards away. Today, it was a demonstration by activists supporting Tuvalu, a Polynesian Island nation that had earlier in the day demanded a legally binding agreement by the end of the conference. That action sprung into gear after activists got wind of Tuvalu’s demand and decided to rally to the cause.

The question is, do they matter? Or are they nothing more than an entertaining distraction?

2 comments so far

Will their protest matter? Not in the long term.

Because the decision of Copenhagen will be based on practical reality and economics, not protests.

Because even if we manage to cut emissions by 50% within fifty years, Tuvalu will probably sink regardless.

Because cutting emissions will not reverse or stop global warming. It will merely slow it down.

The true question is whether the activists are even aware of the above facts? Or are their actions just the usual spontaneous acts spawned from short-sighted idealism?

Perhaps they should just sit down and let the adults talk it over? After all, the adults will be making the decisions. The young will just have to live with that decision, whether they agree with it or not.

- Posted by Defcon86

As one of one of the young people who took part in many of the demonstrations at the Bella Centre, although I can entertain where Mario is coming from with this article, why should we- young people- just sit down and let the “adults” talk it over?

I’m 24, very aware of the above facts and by the time the world will see the effects of global warming hitting home, ie. 2050, I will be 65. These “adults” that were supposedly “talking” (and failed) at the conference (and will be long dead by then) were deciding MY future and your children’s future Defcon86.
Surely you wouldn’t want your children to just sit down, roll over and accept whatever these self-absorbed politicians decide?

Perhaps the actions that were organised could be construed as having been naive, interesting distractions but surely isn’t everybody sick and tired of the doom and gloom preaching?

Although I felt that some of the actions were slightly disorganised and sometimes lacking in clear messaging, as young people with no “adult responsibility” what else could we do? Well we got your attention didn’t we?
You then put us on Reuters, one of the voices that business (one of the actors that can help slow climate change) listens to and someone, somewhere must have looked at what we were doing and it might even have struck a chord?

If there is even the possibility that a CEO of a major global corporation looked at me in my silly pyjamas singing and thought, ah hold on, climate change- need to do something about that, then I’m glad I didn’t just sit down and let the adults talk.

- Posted by Willnotsitdownyouth