I was in Nantes, northwest France on the 26th of September 2016, for the first day of “Climate Chance 2016” conference. Over 2500 participants, and already a demonstration, political preparations and agendas being formed.
The opening remarks were sober, to say the least. There was of course the optimism and the nice talk (“paroles, paroles, paroles…”) of “we have to get together to fight against…” what already seems to be, in reality, the inevitable: Climate change is already happening. Ergo, the alarming speeches, with some hint of sentiment and panic, were more intense then you would expect in such higher-policy sessions.
Nevertheless, hundreds of actors, came together, from all parlors of society and sectors, related to the environment, but beyond that too. You see, you can’t differentiate and distinguish the social, the political and the community from the environmental changes and anything having to do with the environmental aspects – although actors and decision makers are sometimes acting like an island, instead of the interconnected that really is.
Environmental policies, awareness and action cannot be seen as isolated from the bigger picture: Democracy, participation and community involvement is must. Having said that, one cannot ignore the poor and those who simply do not yield enough power to have a say and to influence the decisions being taken about the environment and the climate.
We saw the abuse on Native Americans and the media blackout in regards to the protests on the construction of the South Dakotan pipeline. We recently saw news of islands already disappearing, of desperate measures to pump out and save fresh water from contamination caused by the rising sea levels… all these due to the exploitation of the “big guys”. Those affected nations’ voices, cries and pleas even at the highest UN levels are largely being ignored and silenced.
“Where I am now you shall be in the future” (“Ne ekersen onu biçersin”, “Εκεί που είσαι ήμουνα και δω που είμαι θα ‘ρθεις”), as the saying somehow goes. Think about it and remember the scene from the Anerican cheesy movie “The Day after Tomorrow”, where the American climate refugees (yes, that’s already a thing, unfortunately) ary trying to cross the Mexican border to escape the sudden deep freeze, and the Mexican government eventually agrees to open its borders to the fleeing Americans, just after persuaded by the U.S. president’s pledge to forgive all Latin American debt. It goes, already it’s going, as simple as that.
Long story cut short, I don’t think we should be focusing on, supposedly, the (last) “chance” we shall be giving to the climate from changing (actually, last chance – to ourselves). Climate change is already happening. We see the party of individualism and entitled exploitation coming to an end: No more one (or two) cars for each of the 1% can be sustained, no more access to fresh and clean water can be guaranteed even to the, until recently, the relatively privileged . And you can forget about buying and throwing away all that voluminous packaging (already the Rep. of Cyprus is face to face with the consequences from the EU, regarding its dumpsters).
The party is coming to an end and we already starting to see and experience of what seems to be a long and bad hangover. So the question should already be, how do we handle the hangover, or else, we won’t even be able to see the (bad) end of it.
Oh, and about all those climate change denying lobbies (mainly from the rich countries) that have blocked many international efforts to put a stop in the deterioration of the situation? You may not hear them much with their mouthpieces nowadays, but they are surely still acting in the background. Even in Cyprus, with our own village levents and efes. What will you do about it? Start by saying something about it. Join2Media can help. And Monsieur Doumani, too.