Mario Di Simine's Profile
Stunts, pins and pamphlets: Getting the word out at COP15
When you’re one of thousands of people trying to get a message out at once, you need an edge.
In Copenhagen during the COP15 conference a plethora of nongovernmental organizations, environmental groups, country delegations and even businesses have gone to sometimes unusual lengths to get their word out, and hopefully into the newspapers, or onto the Web and television.
The more adventurous — and humorous — the better your chance of catching a journalist’s eye. Some have had members dressed up as aliens, holding up placards reading “Take me to your 2015 peak year”. The aliens, brought to us by the environmental action group Avaaz, have been a presence at the Bella Center for pretty much the whole conference to date.
Other dress-up stunts have included angels urging delegates not to kill the Kyoto Protocol, and Oxfam’s dancing polar bears with the line: Humans need a good deal.
Those who don’t have costumes have resorted to other means. A popular tactic this week has been lapel pins and cufflinks. Countdowntocopenhagen.org has passed out little black, red and white pins in the shape of a stopwatch with 10 minutes left on the clock. Its catchphrase? “Time for Climate Justice”.
The same group also had two “policewomen” greeting delegates at the entrance to the media center, saying: “Climate Crime Scene: Can You Help?”
The United Nations Foundation has also gotten the word out, literally. Its group Itsgettingpersonal.org came around to the media and handed us all decks of cards. Each card is emblazoned with “Stop Gambling With Our Future, Deal With Climate Change!” on one side and a quote on the face reflecting what people around the world will miss if climate change goes unchecked. One example is the eight of diamonds, which has a picture of a bunch of grapes over the quote, “I will miss French wine.” The six of clubs reads: “Going, going, gone. The Maldives are putting cash away to buy a new home, because they’ll be sunk soon.”
Of course, if you can’t get costumes or lapel pins or clever copy on a deck of cards, there’s also that old cherised fallback: the traditional pamphlet.
The entrance to the media center is overflowing with them, reams and reams of paper stacked on metal trays and pinned to the wall. Not very environmentally friendly but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.