I arrived in Copenhagen Tuesday afternoon, excited about engaging in the historic UN Climate Conference. While you know me as the editor of Undercurrent, I’m here in my new capacity to organize the International Court for the Environment Coalition in the U.S. Quite simply, a movement is underway to create such a court to hold nations and multinational coporations to account for environmental disasters. As it is, there is no accountability and no sanctions. The movement is modeled on the effort that created the International Criminal Court in the 90s.
A few steps after I emerged from my flight at 4 pm in the Copenhagen airport, I was greeted with a large sign stating:
Price of a dive vacation in 2050. 350ppm in CO2. Protect our oceans from acidification, which threatens corals reefs as well as fish and shellfish stock. Find out how you can make a difference www.oceana.org
I was amazed and delighted. How better to bring the message on reef destruction to divers than tying it directly to the target atmospheric target load of 350 ppm. If you want to know what global warming means to the reefs, acidification is one of many destructive causes.
That evening, I joined a gathering of the Danish United Nations Society. One of the staff members handed me a delicious Danish pastry and as she turned away her shoulder bumped my arm and I splashed drops of red wine on her yellow sweater. “Shit happens,” she said with a smile. A past president of the society told me “We’re all happy Obama is coming. We’re counting on him. We Europeans understand what’s happening to or planet, we live with it every day. But not enough Americans do. Are they listening yet?” he asked.
“Some,” I said, ‘but not many. We have a long ways to go.”
“But not much time,” he added. Americans don’t seem to understand that. They haven’t got enough of a history. They think one generation at a time. They must think about the future, not just about themselves and the present. We Europeans are counting on Obama to change that.”
December 9, 2009