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

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Evening day 2 Copenhagen

A long and exhausting but exciting day. Registered & checked out everything I could- spent 6 hrs. Walked into the Bella Center with the Avaaz folks about 10:30 AM and chattered away with people on line from Senegal. Atmosphere felt electric with energy & determination. Now have my official badge with my photo and a public transportation pass. Remarkable number of people under thirty here- maybe 30%? People from all over the world, every possible physiognomy and clothing.

Lillian Ball asked about the significance of Obama's visit. Everyone I spoke to is buzzed about Obama coming. They feel it's symbolically critical and therefore heartening. Obama's coming towards the end is esp significant because a lot of footwork will have happened first. On th other hand, any agreements that come right out of the gate will be, as someone from honeywell put it: "lipstick on a pig." The real work will happen later, incrementally and without drama. Obama's visit will be the same day (the 18th) as my press conference so I may have a very small audience but I'll have a lot to say.

Met & chatted with the friends of the Earth People and the Fossil people who will give out "fossil" awards to those most deserving of being designated a fossil starting tomorrow at 6: PM. Cased the huge complex, checked out the press rooms and the deserted upstairs design showcases. Shot the naked white mannequins in barely lit windows down empty halls and the ubiquitous press people setting up and testing their impressive equipment. Had lunch (good). By 3:PM, people, inc me, were looking a bit peaked and withdrawn into their computers and agendas. 1500 laptops set up all over the center for use= 1 for each ten people. I'll bring my own tomorrow. Came back to the Koefoed's. Had rushed out so fast this AM, I forgot to ask for a key & had left my phone inside so I checked out the neighborhood (dogs, children) till someone showed up, thanking my lucky stars that it was neither raining nor snowing & delivered the fruit I'd picked up on the way back.

Tomorrow the real events at COP15 start at 10:, The COP15 people said be there before 8:AM to get in. Translation: convince the children here to turn TV off by 9: PM and wake up about 6:30 AM.

Morning day 2 Copenhagen

Woke to sounds of Mai, the adorable three-year old, being fed breakfast by Oleg and dim Danish light and finally dagged myself out of bed at 9:AM. Oleg estimates at least 3,000 homes in Copenhagen have been opened to at least 10,000 visitors for the conference. I imagine there will be many bleary faces at reisgtartion today. An extremely pregnant Suzanne and I discussed their life here and what I could bring back from the market tonight. It feels like this conference will be quite different than conferences such as the College Art Association in the USA, where we all stay in expensive hotels in our intellectual bubbles. In awe, I pulled out my official letter from INSTAAR (Institute for Arctic & Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which I earned from my on-going collaboration with Dr. Jim White, the director, which is the golden fleece I'll take wth me to the Bella Center in just a few minutes. I'm leaving with Oleg, who is en route to a planning meeting for the Cultura 21 Nordic actions. I've invited him to blog an account later.

In the back of all our minds is a recent law passed by the Danes, which gives permission to the police to arrest anyone they consider suspicious for 12 hours and anyone they consider REALLY suspicious for 40 days without contact. Everyone I know is anxious to make clear peaceful statements but inevitably, there will be others with another agenda and I fear how innocents may be caught up in that, even myself.

Got two intersting responses from Gloria Orenstein & Lillian Ball already. To be continued later. We're leaving now.