Sister Joan Brown’s Reflections from Copenhagen, Part 12

Dec 15, 2009 | Copenhagen

Find previous reflections from Sr. Joan Brown.
Find out more about the religious voice in Copenhagen.

S. Joan Brown

Sr. Joan Brown, OSF, Director of NM IPL

I feel fortunate to not be one of the 1000’s who were registered to get into COP 15 today with 2 badges, but who stood in the que (line) for hours. I arrived at 7:30 and was in before 8:00 a blessing.

Fewer and fewer NGO delegates are allowed in as dignitary numbers swell. Over 45,000 in total registered for throughout the meetings and fire capacity inside is for 15,000. Thousands of civil society people are outside at the Klime Forum and in the streets protesting the unfairness of the meetings.

I have tried to remain in a position of holding the slogging process while also feeling my heart wrench from the many injustices of inequities. I as a US person am part of the developed nations causing the greater part of emissions threatening life and yet my country and others in the north hold the strongest voices stopping the process. These are described as negotiations of all voices, yet, smaller countries and those less economically large do not hold equal voice. Our US population is small compared to many of the voices here. Our corporations are large and this voice is large. This struggle is literally about life and death for many nations. They are desperate to be heard and to have a binding and effective agreement with FINANCING.

Tomorrow at 12 noon there will be a massive joining of civil society with delegates from inside COP 15, the global north and south and alliances protesting outside Bella Center 15 years of failed climate negotiations with mass non-violent civil disobedience. It is a call to unite a “People’s Assembly”. According to Mithika Mwenda of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, “Africans from inside the Bella Centre are proud to be reaching out and standing with our brothers and sisters outiside. We stand with them against a deal that will kill Africa. President Obama cannot come here and sign the death warrant of literally millions of Africans. Instead, he should come and march with us, listen to us, and commit to a just, long-term deal that stops climate change and keeps our people alive.”

I do not know what you are hearing about the conference in the US. Here the negotiations are up and down and it is amazing that the president of the COP 15 is still pushing for something. Again and again I hear, there is no other time to make an agreement but now. People here depend upon prayers and actions for justice.

While I wish I could be doing more here and wonder what I am doing many moments, I believe my presence here collectively with brothers and sisters throughout the planet speaks a voice of justice and integrity for people and earth. We do not have the money or the lobbyists of large corporations; we only have each other. Today I had a little lunch of cheese and bread with a brother who is a government delegate for Nigeria, part of the negotiating process inside. I thanked him for his courage and said that I worked with the faith community and was supporting him. He thanked me with eyes of gratitude and asked for prayers.

I attended an Oxfam session with Desmund Tutu and Mary Robinson and voices of four beautiful brothers and sisters from Tuvalu, Bangladesh, Peru, and Uganda who shared their moving stories. Afterwards, I took each of the witnesses pictures and told them I would tell their stories to people of faith in New Mexico so that they could work with them as brothers and sisters. They thanked me and said, we need you and we need your prayers.

One conversation lacking here amidst the voices directed at the negotiating parties calling for respect of human rights and earth rights is the part that corporations play in climate change. Corporations have rights and finances and strong lobbying voices. Friends of the Earth just offered a press conference announcing the Angry Mermaid Award for the worst business lobbying on climate change which journalist, Naomi Klein presented. It was a people’s award using a process with various stages and nominations through the internet.

The winner is Monsanto for promoting genetically modified crops as a solution to climate change and pushing for its crops to be used as biofuels and for contributing to deforestation and devastation of small farmers.

This blog is becoming a novela, forgive the too many words. For now, I trust you are working or making some little action for climate justice and life this day. More later tonight.

Peace and good,
Your sister,

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