Mahfam Malek is the Program Manager for the Green For All Academy.
On the eve of the last day of COP 15, the mix of emotions that has been building up all week seems to be taking a slight turn. I don’t know if it’s the people I’ve happened to be surrounded with, but the desperation and frustration so present earlier in the week seem to have subsided. Perhaps it is the hush that falls over a city covered in snow. Or perhaps it is the realization that tomorrow is the final day of the climate negotiations, and regardless of the outcome, we know what our next steps are.
This is not resignation. The protests in the streets and outside the Bella Center, the candlelight vigils, and all the innumerable actions people have taken all around the city of Copenhagen, and in solidarity all around the world, show that resignation will never be an option or a desire. Instead, this shift in attitude is about renewed determination.
Whatever the result of tomorrow’s negotiations, we know that our job now is to take what we’ve learned back home and be bolder, stronger, and more determined than we’ve ever known ourselves to be. Our job is to educate, organize, and pressure our leaders to act on our behalf and on behalf of vulnerable people all around the world. Our job is to remember how powerful we can be, and get back to work growing a movement that our elected officials can’t ignore, whether they’re facing a Climate Bill inching through the Senate or the challenge of co-creating a global climate treaty strong enough to protect the most vulnerable communities on our planet.
Tonight I attended a candlelight “Vigil for Survival” organized by Avaaz. People came together to light candles, listen to inspiring climate justice speakers, sing songs, and tell their leaders that now is the time for a real deal. Many in the audience were participating in a 24-hour fast in solidarity with those affected by hunger due to climate change. They all reminded me that the time for action is always now, and that we won’t be stopped or slowed down, no matter what happens tomorrow.