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Protesting Collapse

12/13/09

Somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 protesters—depending on who tells the story—swarmed the streets of Copenhagen and marched 6 km from the Danish Parliament to the Bella Center.

What remained outside COP-15 was incredible.  The street was crowded with an indeterminable number of people who held picket signs, banners, and lit candles in honor of the climate change refugees.  Cars—tuned in to sorts of floats—blared music (I think I heard two strands of techno).  The street was completely shut down disrupting traffic and public transport (which created a problem for me getting home later).  Police stood on guard, but the people remained peaceful.

Recognizing the need for change.

The unifying voice behind the march urged for a “fair, ambitious, and binding [climate change] treaty” in Copenhagen, but what I heard was a call to prevent the eventual collapse of a civilization.  Here were people from all over the world protesting the fundamental nature of our world.  “Deforestation and soil exhaustion may have doomed previous cultures, but we will not let a weakened atmosphere destroy us,” they said.

In regards to the global warming phenomenon, we have had the fortune of recognizing the problem and its source.  Industrial operations—as they exist now—lead to an unsafe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  So far, we’ve done just about nothing to control the pollution and have shown almost no global coherence on the issue.  We seem to be continuing our current path until it’s too late to do anything.  At that point, the decline will have been too slow and dragged out to even realize the tragedy.

This is not acceptable.  To me, that is the most important message the crowd was sending.  It didn’t matter if there were differing opinions on nuclear or carbon capture because all realized that there must be “System Change, not Climate Change.”

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