Friday, June 11, 2010

Clean, Green.


Two good mates S & N returned from Bolivia recently, in a trip that saw them attend the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. They held a meeting last night in Sydney to report back to us on what they learned.

Click to read more on "Clean, Green"

In response to the failure of Copenhagen, the Bolivian government called this People's Conference, which ran over four days and was attended by over 35 thousand people. People came together from all over the world to discuss real action on the climate crisis. The end result was The World People's Agreement, a formal document being discussed at the Bonn UN climate negotiations right now, providing new hope for people fighting for global climate justice.

This isn't the first climate event I have attended, and it wont be the last. I always come away from them learning many things that I would never have had the chance to. A few points that I took away from S & N's experience was:

  • The people in Bolivia have been so adversely affected by the climate crisis that it has brought communities together in big conferences like the World People's Conference. Climate change is the topic of conversation daily in these people's lives.  
  • Glaciers are the life-force of many in South America and around the world. In Bolivia they have been worshipped for thousands of years and soon this will not be possible. In the last 40 years climate change has reduced these Glaciers by over 50%. Some have completely melted away during that time. For thousands of years the people in communities surrounding the Glaciers have lived off the melt in the dry seasons, and watched as the glaciers restored themselves yearly during the wet season. Now they watch helplessly as their remaining glaciers melt away rapidly with little or no hope of restoration.
  • Coal exports are Australia's biggest contribution to the climate crisis. The greenhouse pollution from our coal exports exceeds all of our domestic pollution combined. Every power station, every landclearing operation, every car, truck, train, and bus, every source of greenhouse pollution in Australia combined is eclipsed by the pollution from our coal exports. Burning a tonne of black coal produces 2.4 tonnes of greenhouse gases, and the mining, processing and transportation of coal contributes enormously to greenhouse gas production.

As Australians it is easy to be ignorant about climate change. It's hard to appreciate the perils of those whose lives are being so severely affected by the climate crisis when in the comfort of our homes we can control our environment. The majority of the world get to see the changes first-hand. My hope is the developed world change to a greener way of living before it's too late.

It's so inspiring to see that after the complete failure of Copenhagen people haven't lost hope. Through everyone sharing their knowledge and experiences we can build up more awareness and help us better handle this issue which will eventually affect our lives a great deal.

To read more about S & N's insights go here.

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