Thursday, December 10, 2009

We've arrived!

Well only a day or so after we intended (but minus the link-up with the Social and Climate Justice Caravan, we’ve arrived in Copenhagen. First impressions? Beyond the rain and the terrible exchange rate, the first thing that struck me was the adverts.

Every global corporation worth its salt wants to position itself as a green guardian of our collective future here, and there seems to be no escape. The first bus shelter we saw when we walked out of the station was carrying a Coca-Cola 'Hopenhagen' advert extolling you to buy ‘A bottle of hope’. I’m sure the folks at Coke Justice resisting Coca-Cola’s threats to local water supplies in India and elsewhere would have a few things to say about that. Then when we changed buses we found ourselves next to the global advertising industry’s massive outdoor Hopenhagen exhibition.

With so much hope in the air, and Obama due to jet back in next week, it’s a wonder a deal hasn’t already been reached.

One big disappointment about the bus breaking down was that we missed today’s standout session at the Klimaforum - the two-week civil society counter-conference taking place in the centre of Copenhagen - a panel discussion on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice featuring the Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Angela Navarro, Canadian author Naomi Klein, as well as Lidy Nacpil from Jubilee South, and Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El Salvador. There’s a follow-on session tomorrow, though, so I’ll see if I can catch up then.

Without the bus our accommodation plans have been somewhat scuppered. So tonight we made our way to a converted warehouse at the north end of the city centre. Converted, that is, into crashpad accommodation for the hundreds of people who have turned up in Copenhagen without a place to stay (all the hotels were booked up months ago), but featuring that most essential Copenhagen home comfort – electric heaters. After grabbing a vegan dinner from the People’s Kitchen (several have been set up by Danish activists at ‘convergence centres’ around the city) we hit the floors in preparation for our first day proper.

No comments: