An activist’s guide to Copenhagen
What’s on, who’s there and where to stay. Click here for a calendar of actions during the conference
Oxfam members wearing masks of world leaders offer a Copenhagen menu to other members representing poor countries last month in Barcelona. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
Never mind the boring old delegates at next month’s climate talks in Copenhagen. Nearby at the “alternative people’s summit” Klimaforum09 and at events and actions around the city, the largest ever gathering of climate activists will take place which aims to create a global network that will take the environment movement forward for the next year and beyond.
“We’re expecting more than 10,000 people a day,” says Richard Steed, one of the organisers of Klimaforum09, which has been funded by the Danish government. “This is about creating a people’s network which will carry on communicating and working together long after the conference is finished. I don’t think Klimaforum is about smashing the state, but we don’t want to see business as usual any more, that isn’t going to solve anything. We’re looking at radical solutions.”
Naomi Klein, George Monbiot and Vandana Shiva have all committed to speak during the two weeks of meetings and workshops on subjects like climate justice, transition towns, capitalism, ecological debt. Groups including Friends of the Earth, Campaign against Climate Change, and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance all piling in.
Apart from meetings and more meetings, what else is happening during the climate talks? Well, Friends of the Earth International is organising the Flood on Saturday 12 December: this will be a good old traditional march starting at the Klimaforum and ending in Christiansborg Slotsplads, the big square in front of the Danish parliament.
Two less formal actions are being organized by Climate Justice Action (CJA), the umbrella group for an international network that includes Climate Camp, Focus on the Global South, and the Indian Social Action Forum, among others. On Sunday 13 December the Hit the Production action will attempt to shut down Copenhagen harbour. And on 16 December, CJA will lead an attempt to take over the conference and turn it into a People’s Summit for Climate Justice.
There will also be assorted actions organised by independent groups taking place all over Copenhagen. Never Trust a COP are calling for “social war”, and on 11 December a group called Not Your Business will be protesting against the corporations who are taking part in the COP15 process. It’s going to be the sort of fortnight where everywhere you look people are chained to railings with slogans written on their faces.
Where to stay
There’s a frantic scramble for accommodation, and many hotels and hostels are now fairly booked up, although there are still some places available through the NHG website. But a website called New Life Copenhagen is pairing up visitors with private hosts (they’ve so far found beds for over 3,000 people), and the Climate Collective is trying to set up as much accommodation as possible.
The Climate Collective are also negotiating for the use of some public halls, but this is still in discussion. They’re setting up a soup kitchen (“for 20,000 people” squeaked one Danish activist over the phone – she sounded a little bit stressed) and looking into organising other food points. This too is still in development.
How to travel
And if you haven’t booked your coach/train/boat/plane yet then you should probably get on with it. Climate Camp has made it easy for activist by booking coaches which will pick up from Leeds and London.
Eurolines Coaches go to Copenhagen, or you can get a ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg with DFDS Seaways and then travel by train (DSB is the state railway) to Copenhagen. You can take the Eurostar to Brussels and then travel on by overnight sleeper train, or you can fly with Easyjet, British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines (“Europe’s most punctual airline”) and a few others.
If you do fly, reader Steve Glass recommends avoiding expensive taxis and airport transfers by taking the local bus from the airport to the Bella Centre, where the climate conference is based (he says “Get on the 5A outside the airport and change to the 4A at Syndbyvester Plads. The minimum charge is 21.5 kroner, about £2.60″).
Alternatively, try to win tickets to Copenhagen through competitions such as the one running on the World Climate Community site. Or, of course, you could take a truly radical approach and walk or cycle.
What you should know before you go
Climate Justice Action has a thorough list of how you should prepare before you leave for on its protester guide to Copenhagen, including medics and trauma support, your legal rights and freedom to travel through Europe under the Schengen agreement.
Source Guardian UK
Posted: November 19th, 2009 under Climate Change, Foundation News, Interviews with Activists, Negotiations.
Tags: activism, activist, activists, Climate Change, climate negotiations, Copenhagen, global warming, International negotiations, stop climate change
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