Friday, December 05, 2008

Dispatch from Poland

December 4, Poznan -- That's what the world needs to do. Look at the problem with two eyes.

The picture here is from this morning - the fourth day of the climate talks in Poznan, Poland. The morning was cold and when the Forum delegation got off bus C26, and we walked right into a beautiful peaceful action by Oxfam International.

That's Maya and myself having a funny moment, wearing OI's groovy glasses. One lens says "Stop harming!" Another says "Start helping!". We need both. In the incredibly complex world of the climate negotiations, the words "harm" and "help" seem so simplistic. But our world is so riven in terribly fundamental ways. The failures of our governments - and our failures as well - are so basic.

Solidarity is the only debt that people should owe one another, and unfortunately too few seem willing to understand this.

Here in the climate negotiations, it seems "Shared Vision" mostly means the big people's sense of sharing: "This is mine and that tiny thing is yours, and tomorrow I'll take some more of what you have." Ironic that it's all taking place under one sky, a cloudy one. A disfigured canopy.

At a session called "Adhoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action" a resource person referred to an interesting figure -- over the last decade, at least $600 billion is the cost incurred due to damage from natural disasters (which are often human-induced), adversely affecting 2.6 billion people. You need not have a colleage degree to know that most of the billions come from developing countries - the peoples who did not create the problem.

In Poznan, official delegates are talking about a real, equitable deal that can bring all players into one single agreement. It's hard to see any agreement deserving the title "equitable" if this conference avoids the word "reparations". Those responsible for damaging countless lives and the planet's ecosystems must pay. And our task - those who say they stand on the side of the oppressed - must be to continue to bring closer and closer those who harm and those who suffer. To stop the harm. And to help the marginalized not just by standing clearly on their side but also by taking action to achieve real wins. We have two eyes and we need to use them. #

That's part of the Forum team in Poland by the way: Kalia (hidden, from the left), Svetlana, Boris, Redster, Farjana and Maya. Circa took the photo... haha.

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