Direct from Copenhagen, Denmark - 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference - (8 – 18 December '09)

Acting as the official High Tide COP15 envoy, distinguished ecological artist Aviva Rahmani will be immersing herself in the burgeoning eco-political activism in the city and sharing her experiences with us via this daily blog.

Why not get involved and join in dialogue with her? Log-on to share your views! This is the gathering storm…

Produced in association with FACT

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Day 10 Copenhagen day 9 COP15 End of a very long day

It's been snowing all day today and finally sticking. I've been out in it most of the day off & on. The final day of the workshop I led went well. I've already written about my experience of trying and failing to have a press conference.

In the evening, I went to show my films at one of several restored gas stations around the city, retrofitted for art, in this case, curated by a man from Berlin: Dede. Comments and ideas shared afterwards were inspiring and interesting, including that tomorrow, I move to another household for my remaining time in Copenhagen. This will relieve Oleg & Susanne of the stress of sharing thier newly expanded family with any more people than is essential and may be a more comfortable set-up for me. Someplace along the line of transition, I hope to get a real newspaper and finally know what is being said, in some detail about events here.

Since it was mostly the folks from my workshop at the screening, in addition to their responses, I was able to understand more about their work and have insight into ways to develop my own future work. Fabian and I discussed a film project he's beginning about migration issues. I mentioned that of all the work with Jim, that migrations were the most pressing issue that had emerged about climate change. I said it's only a symptom of the problem of climate change, but like dying as a symptom of cancer, the symptom can be quite severe.

I like an orderly society as much as anyone but not at the cost I'm experiencing here. I spoke to eyewitnesses (people known to me), who watched Danish plain clothesmen infiltrate the protestors and become provocative until the police charged, at which time the police encircled the phony agitators to bring them back into the folds of their own, while going on to beat up the rest of the crowd.

Bill McKibben of, sent out a mailing this evening enjoining us all to stick with pressing for the numbers. But I want the world to know the price being paid here by individual people who have been physically hurt, arrested and silenced. Numbers are important but some clear & balanced reporting means we don't just hear the pollyanna side of what's going on.

As furious as I am with the UN Secretariat's decision to shut out NGOs (Avaaz and Friends of the Earth had their entire delegation, a first at a COP, thrown out) and all our information, experience & insight, today was the first time in my life that I felt resentful towards protestors. Was it really necessary to storm the Bella Center this morning announcing it would be "taken over"?? I get it: people feel shut out and want to be part of the process. Who's fault is that? The lazy reporters? The conservative publishers? The ordinary ciitizens who don't ask probing questions? The employers who don't leave workers enuf time to feed their families & get a good night's sleep, let alone read a newspaper for the scant reporting that does get thru? I also resent colleagues warmly, safely inside the Bella Center with apparently no thought for the rest of us.

I admire the NGOs & delegates who walked out to join the protestors today, knowing they wouldn't get back in. I'm furious at myself for not having the foresight to have a back-up plan with a press badge. Look in the mirror and find the enemy, inc moi-meme.

From my point of view, the work of thousands has been trashed today by the combination of the UN Secretariat and the Danish police shutting down the Bella Center to NGOs, in effect, for the remainder of the conference. Which incidentally, included anything I might have said in my press conference today, about art's role in policy & science, to help people adapt to traumatic change as climate refugees. Since I too was shut out. The snow has been as wet & cold as the Danish reception here.

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