Climate Change

Hopenhagen: A Pivotal Step

By Peter Ormond
Published December 09, 2009

My apartment in Copenhagen is six floors up, and there's no elevator in sight. My legs felt it the first time, fresh off the plane, but not since. Climbing steps are now part of my daily routine.

To the Danes, this is normal, as is cycling during the winter months. Over 50 percent of Danes here cycle regularly!

This low-carbon philosophy carries over into the higher levels of government. By 2025, Copenhagen will be a carbon neutral city. No wonder that the Danes look healthy and feel great.

Unlike pavement, the cobblestone roads here don't require replacement every few years, and when lifted, construction materials can be reused continuously, like the turning wind turbine blades above the Climate Change Conference site.

The signs are all here: this community is thinking of tomorrow, today.

The gathering of tens of thousands in Copenhagen signals the preparation for an exciting adventure ahead. It involves every aspect of our world today and the diversity of delegates trumpet that overture.

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University stresses the importance of meditation, love and inward balance. Other groups represent indigenous peoples, rainforest networks, continents, nations, faith groups, global non government organizations, and technologies.

Transport, energy, organic food, poverty, education and health are just a few of the specific categories. Strategies target reduction of emissions (mitigation) and preparation for climate change impacts (adaptation).

10 Million Signatures Presented to UNFCCC Executive demanding action on Climate Change
10 Million Signatures Presented to UNFCCC Executive demanding action on Climate Change

A Lot of Intricate Ground

In other words, Hopenhagen covers a lot of intricate ground. Urgent action is required to stop deforestation (which is related to poverty), and start deploying carbon-cutting technologies on the ground in developing countries.

However, corporations holding patent rights want royalties for intellectual property, or have operations in these countries, and thus stall the process. (Likely you have shares in these companies.)

Ironically, basic solutions have been around for decades, with many 'brilliant' concepts mere re-inventions of our grandparents' lifestyle in small towns and tight communities. Think of rainbarrels, heritage crops, shared heated spaces, and community facilities.

Others argue that all of the technology in the world doesn't matter. The bottom line is that too many humans populate the earth, especially in the poor countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. Do we limit reproduction rates, or will the population take care of itself - like an army of fruit flies in a test tube?

Here at this conference, tens of thousands march as groups and individuals, each armed with computer, camera, cell phone and more, feeding back to their respective networks. Some call technology the saviour of all; others wonder.

If the global internet system crashed right now, it would be mayhem for a few days. Then, consciousness would shake off technological shackles, we'd release a breath, look around, and calmly embrace the opportunity at hand: peace, love and harmony dude!?

Bingo! Many computer-plunking non-value-added virtual service jobs would be history! A refocus on the here and now within our own communities would be mandatory. Tweeting of birds would replace the furious megabytes of truly irrelevant details from lands afar. Pop!

The Cost in Context

Here's the reality check. In order to get this project moving, the UNFCCC is seeking $10 billion from the industrialized nations to get the wheels of this process in motion. Down the road, another $200 billion will be required annually to build a better world for tomorrow.

Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Not really, if you consider that the recent bailout of the world's banks totaled a staggering $8.4 trillion; or that the United States has paid over $800 billion on the Afghan and Iraq invasions this year alone, and over $2 trillion since the 9-11 terror.

Canada has budgeted over $18 billion for the Afghan mission itself! Ontario's past nuclear fiascos have cost Ontarians over $20 billion, and Ontario's recently canceled nuclear plants were estimated to cost upward of $30 billion!

The redirection of military expenditures has been discussed at the press sessions here in Denmark. Can you only imagine?

Copenhagen represents that pivotal opportunity for mankind to step courageously on a new path. Naturally, once started, we're going to wonder why we resisted in the first place.

this essay was originally posted on Peter's blog

Peter lives near Bayfront Park in Hamilton's historic North End. He enjoys writing about sustainable possibilities and the local benefits that result. Peter is the Green Party of Ontario Candidate for Hamilton Centre.

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By frank (registered) | Posted December 09, 2009 at 16:02:56

$200 billion/year for how long? That sounds like quite a bit...

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