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On #COP15, Copenhagen, and the climate movement: Where I'm at on the eve of my return home

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i'm sitting in our (moldy, filthy) hostel, my last night before heading back to canada and i thought it'd be nice to let you know where i'm at.

as i'm sure you've heard, no legally binding treaty came out of this conference. nor did anything all that fair and certainly not ambitious, either. it was terribly deflating and heart breaking to be in the NGO convergence space last night (where civil society folk have been working out of since we were kicked out of the bella centre) and to hear obama's speech.

i don't know if you saw it but this leader who usually inspires with his eloquence, kept mispeaking, hesitating, and considering his words for far too long. he looked uneasy and unsure. (it was like pinnochio but instead of the old nose trick, his speech faltered.. because he knew he was wrong--i'm convinced). he spoke of the u.s.'s clean slate (as though not signing kyoto means there's ever a clean slate), of us doing the "best we can", and other saddening stories.

we've worked so hard these past two weeks. it hasn't stopped. and it's been good learning but it's also been so trying.

(because there's something inherently unjust about this decision-making structure and process ; because if no deal came out of this it's because those whose lives are at stake and on the line are from the global south and indigenous communities ; because these conferences are about money more than about the environment ; because we need a paradigm shift and that wasn't on the table in the least ; because if the climate movement is to make inroads, we're going to have to start working pretty seriously on electoral reform and democratic renewal (and making that link for folks is going to be a hard sell) ; because being here as "youth" presents so many challenges, because we're going to have to make this movement pretty irresistable if we're going to get a critical mass of people onboard (and sleep deprivation, sickness, expensive out-of-pocket, time-consuming and depressing conferences are the very definition of all things resistable) .. and so many others becauses)

that being said, i'm so so grateful to have had this opportunity, to have had the honour of working with such a solid and stellar, passionate and dedicated group of people. i have been awe-struck. and i hate having to leave them. we learned so much together.

it's been a whirlwind and i really thank you for your words and support along the way. reading your kind words at the end of the day turned sad tears into touched tears more often than i care to admit.


i'll be back in ottawa tomorrow. and i'll definitely take a break from this work long enough to catch up on sleep and read terrible young adult fiction, but there's so much work to do still, so if you're down for a good brainstorm about how to go about saving the planet, let's make it happen.

with gratitude and love,

j.madéia. xx


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