Peace, Justice, Development and Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen

by Diana Pei Wu, December 16, 2009

i am here in copenhagen. this morning – it is 7 am in CPH, 10 pm back home in Oakland … missing you all. it snowed yesterday, wet snow that did not accumulate much; snow is expected for the rest of this week and weekend. i’m on the first half of a cup of coffee so forgive the disjointed order of words and thoughts as they come through ..

i read a facebook posting on peace, justice and development by a friend who is referencing and juxtaposing Amartya Sen’s piece, “Development as freedom,” MLK, and the Dalai Lama.

we are preparing this morning to take to the streets in a massive non violent civil disobedience.

this is the largest conference / international event that they have hosted here in Denmark. ever.

100,000 people took to the streets on Saturday to demand climate agreements that were just, equitable, and of sufficient scale to meet the need of environmental crisis that we anticipate.

After the collapse of the WTO between Seattle and Hong Kong, in their dying throes, the WTO ministerial said that they hoped that the UNFCCC could figure out global economic governance.

A crew of us who went to protest the WTO in Hong Kong in 2005 dubbed WTO “World Take Over.”

So I guess .. in thinking about .. different meaning of development, economic security, peace; why are we here in a cold Nordic country, a dark morning, house buzzing with energy slowly in a crescendo …

The movements from the Global South with whom my crew this time around (movementgeneration.org) – whose experience here in CPH i have had the honor of observing, building and documenting – have the experience, desire and dream that development is not about simple economic measures. It is about the freedom and opportunity to make our own destinies, collectively.

One delegate from Via Campesina reminded us that our communities already have the knowledges and practices that will lead the way to sustainability.

Another reminded us that this is not just a struggle for economic, historical, cultural, social well-being of communities, but also a struggle for memory.

Eduardo Galeano, Laura Pulido, Robin Kelley, Gloria Anzaldua would say it is also a struggle of the imagination, of the dreams we have for ourselves and the future, the struggle for the places we call home.

So here we are, thousands of people from the Global South and the South in the North, protesting an undemocratic process – of the more than 22,000 delegates, observers and UN parties who registered and were accredited to be inside the COP15 negotiations in the Bella Centre, less than 1,000 – including official government delegations will be allowed inside today, less than 90 on the days of High Level Sessions Thursday and Friday.

More than 25,000 additional people were planning on attending the more Social Forum like atmosphere of the Klimaforum, the climate justice oriented civil society consrtucted space a few miles from the Bella Centre, from the official COP 15 negotiations.

Protesting an undemocratic process that is threatening, yet again, to curtail the ability of ourselves, our ancestors, our brothers and sisters, our future generations, not only to breathe clean air, to grow food on good earth and in healthy oceans rivers and creeks; to swim, clean and bather in water that sustains life, but also the abilities of our future generations to dream their own dreams, and imagine futures that are similar to a present that would be good enough to be celebrated instead of spurned for a “better” future dream.

so here’s to real democratic, public access for public negotiations that affect the entire global population, and disproportionately those who are being and have been excluded.

as the youth delegations (with the notable exception of the US “officially sponsored” youth delegation sponsored by the Big Environmental NGOs) have said, no decisions about us without us.

and here’s to our dreams.

xiangwangzhengyi!