Archive for Climate Change

BLUEPEACE JOINS EARTH DAY CELEBRATIONS IN NEW DELHI WITH IYCN

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” Dr Vandana Shiva, the world-renowned environmental activist and author from India quoted the famous writer Milan Kundera, as she addressed a gathering of youth activists and civil society groups at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, stressing how the youth of today symbolizes hope for the global climate movement. In the event organized by Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) in association with Indian Law Institute to mark the Earth Day, Dr Shiva expressed hope for the future of the climate movement, noting the positive vibes generated by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that is about to conclude in Cochabamba, Bolivia; the climate negotiations in Bonn; and the COP16 conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico in December this year. Reflecting on the failure of the COP15 conference held in Copenhagen in December 2009, Dr Shiva painted a positive picture for the future, and noted Mahatma Gandhi as one of the key inspirations that has set her going in the path of activism for over 40 years.


Dr Vandana Shiva addressing an event organised by IYCN to mark Earth Day 2010

Bluepeace joined the Earth Day celebrations organized by IYCN in New Delhi, by making a presentation on the vulnerability of the Maldives to climate change and highlighting possible adaptation measures the country could introduce. In addition, Bluepeace emphasized the importance of protecting the coral reefs and coastal vegetation to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Bluepeace also noted the significance of India in combating climate change as India is an emerging global economic power and how India stands to gain by transforming into a green economy. A digital version of Bluepeace’s photo exhibition Vulnerable was presented at the event as well.

IYCN’s Earth Day event also included the screening of the documentary Eco Dharma, which showcases the Bishnois community in Rajasthan, which holds the belief that they should sacrifice their lives for protection of animals, trees and the natural environment.

Bluepeace’s recent activities in the Indian capital includes participating in a symposium on the Maldives, hosted by Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP) held from the 14th-15th of April 2010. Two representatives from Bluepeace participated in the conference titled Exploring the Contours of Democracy in the Maldives. Key figures from the Maldivian government, media and civil society were joined by influential politicians, academics, journalists and activists from India. The symposium provided a platform for Maldivians to share their concerns about the emerging democracy in the country. Lessons learned from the Indian democratic experience, and the outcomes of the environment and economic policies over the past 50 or so years in India were also shared.

Issues of concern raised from the Maldives include climate change, distribution of Tsunami aid, decentralization, human rights, security and religious extremism. At the conference, Bluepeace highlighted the threats to Maldives arising from climate change. A selection of photos from the Vulnerable exhibition was exhibited at the WISCOMP symposium while a digital version of the whole exhibition was presented.

The collection of 17 photos from the Vulnerable exhibition – a photo by each of the 17 photographers who participated in the exhibition – is now on display at Intermezzo Café & Restaurant in Defence Colony, New Delhi.

IYCN, which is assisting Bluepeace in promoting the Vulnerable exhibition in New Delhi, is a youth-driven organisation working on various projects across India. For example, IYCN, in association with Loop Solutions, is launching a project to turn the 500 kg of daily food waste generated in Khan Market of New Delhi into compost. The project will also involve encouraging students to build their own gardens and supporting community members to grow herbs needed for the restaurants in Khan Market.

Coinciding with the Earth Day, IYCN also held a fund-raising event at The Living Room Cafe at Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. Music bands which performed at the event included Manzil, which consisted of former street children who learned music.

By collaborating with organisations such as IYCN, Bluepeace hopes to create a common vision for combating climate change in South Asia and increase the cooperation and participation of the youth in the global south in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.

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COP15 NOT A VICTORY FOR MALDIVES

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15), which was held in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18, was a huge disappointment for millions of people who hoped a fair and binding treaty aiming to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions would be reached to succeed the flawed Kyoto Protocol. Instead, world leaders produced a non-binding accord, and failed to agree to contain global temperatures at 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This means world leaders did not agree to limit the global CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million. The Maldives, which hosted a number of events coinciding with the International Day of Climate Action on October 24, including a headline-grabbing underwater cabinet meeting, has gained nothing to celebrate from COP15.

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350.org, which has been pivotal in building a global movement around the number 350 and the science behind it, reflects on the failure of COP15:

You’ll likely hear the Copenhagen drama spun in a thousand different ways, but here’s our honest take on the outcome: our leaders have been a disappointment, and the talks have ended without any kind of fair, ambitious, or legally binding global agreement. It’s unclear whether the weak “accord” which emerged early this morning will provide a platform strong enough to deliver the kind of action we’ll need in 2010 and beyond.

TckTckTck, the campaign initiated by several international organisations and which has mobilised unprecedented numbers of people behind a new global climate movement, writes on the failure of COP15:

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, and massive popular support from citizens in countries North and South, world leaders chose national political self-interest over the fate of future generations and failed to resolve the issues blocking the road towards a just outcome.

Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, expresses disappointment over how COP15 ended in an anti-climax:

Not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding. The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.

The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through.

We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis.

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The only refreshing thing to emerge is a new global movement of citizens, spread across the globe. Avaaz.org, which is a partner organisation of TckTckTck campaign and has mobilised thousands of people through Internet, stresses the significance of this new movement and the hope it symbolises:

In Copenhagen, leaders didn’t make history—but the world’s people did. A year of unprecedented action on climate change reached unimagined heights in the last two weeks: thousands upon thousands of vigils, rallies, and protests; floods of phone calls and messages sent; millions of petition signatures—all calling for the fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty we still need and still will win.

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PRESIDENT NASHEED VISITS ‘VULNERABLE’ EXHIBITION

President Mohamed Nasheed visited VULNERABLE, the exhibition on climate change organised by Bluepeace, at the alternate climate summit Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen on Tuesday. The exhibition showcases the vulnerability of the Maldives to climate change, using images from talented photographers from the Maldives.

A day earlier President Nasheed visited Klimaforum09 for a Talk along with Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org. McKibben explained the science behind the number 350 and its significance in the climate change debate and stressed the significance of building a global movement to combat climate change.

“My message to you is to continue the protests. Continue after Copenhagen. Continue despite the odds. And eventually, together, we will reached that crucial number: Three-five-oh,” Nasheed said addressing environmental justice activists and members of civil society organisations representing various countries, gathered at Klimaforum09.

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