The End of COP15, and the end of the Fast. So how do we all feel?

Cross-posted from


Distress, confusion, hurt, anger? Hope, passion, energy?

Emotion! Let it all out, people!

Personally, I am feeling a very strange and beautiful feeling today, as we concluded the fast, after 43 days entirely without food, coinciding with the disappointing end of COP15. It is a mix of feelings – disappointment at politics mixed with hope for the future, met expectations (regarding the politicians’ lacklustre performances) mixed with passion and love, excitement and inspiration (for the peoples’ climate movement), and finally, a very strange sensation of taste in my mouth and nutrition in my belly once more.

For COP15, the tension and the expectations were high. A ‘fair, ambitious and binding’ deal was called for by 12 million people across the world. We got none of it. Instead we got a huge disappointment. COP15 will not go down in history as the moment when the world, humanity, people of all nations and creeds, came together and united for the common good of all future generations.

What a pity. It is actually pitiful. A complete shame.

So what the hell happened, and what do we do now?

Deepa Gupta, one of the founders of the Indian Youth Climate Network, who has been solidarity-fasting with us on one meal a day throughout the COP, summarised it well: “For those of you who don’t yet know, last night 5 countries – US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa brokered a deal – the Copenhagen Accord, and then proposed it to the rest of the world to accept. It has no legal committments, it aims to target 2 degrees (but their actions are setting them to 3 degrees rise) [ed: while the most vulnerable nations are calling for 1.5 degrees, because 2 degrees is a death-sentence for them, and 3 degrees is runaway global warming, a death-sentence for all of us], and the money on the table is not only lacking, but it has many strings attached. Essentially it’s an easy way for countries who didn’t want to make strong committments, to get away with it. It has completely disregarded the UN framework that attempts to far more democratically put all countries on an equal footing, and shut out the voices of majority of the world.”

The best blow-by-blow that I’ve seen of what happened in the plenary sessions after Obama left Denmark, somewhere around 2am, after signing this weird ‘Copenhagen Accord’ is here and here and here. Pretty much everything that comes out on is awesome anyway, and it will offer a variety of insights from a number of different perspectives. It covers some of the things that were said in plenary between 3am and 7am on Saturday morning. The whole conference wrapped up a few hours after that. What a god-damn mess.

In the time since the summit concluded, I’ve received these messages (these are just a selection) via facebook, twitter, email, and blog-comments etc:

“I am sad and I am angry.”

“Why are we always waiting on Obama?”

“I just cannot believe what came out of the talks, in a state of shock and disbelief that it has come to nothing. Prevention demands foresight and our sorry excuses for leaders suffer a dire lack of foresight.”

“Obviously deeply distressed and disappointed about what happened in Copenhagen yesterday/over the past fortnight.”

There is obviously a whole lot of emotion flying around at the moment. But I urge everyone not to slip into despair – because the movement is growing, it is powerful, and because we will win.

Instead of despairing and feeling frustrated, use your frustrations and your despair and express it to create change. If you are emotional, use it in a constructive way, channel it to where you feel it will have most effect. Make your emotion felt. Rock somebody’s core.

Whether it is your family, a friend, or a politician, and whatever type of action it is – a phone call, a protest, a letter, I have learnt from the Climate Justice Fast that our emotions, our heart-actions, are some of the most powerful actions that we can take.

Another comment:

“US Senate just approved $626 billion defense bill; 3.4% pay raise 4 military; just like that, but drag feet on planet survival & health bill at Copenhagen. Says it all!”

This last point is right on – this is pretty much the 3rd ~US$600 bn bailout for the US military alone since 2008. The total amount required for climate adaptation and sustainable energy/mitigation in developing countries every year is US$400bn annually, maximum, worldwide.

Personally, despite all of this crap that has come out the end of COP15, I am feeling more hopeful and more powerful than ever, because in spite of political failure and inaction, I can see the wheels off change turning and greater public dicontent churning up everywhere.

Political turmoil is what we need right now.

The world needed a shake-up and it got one with the failure of COP15.

This stuff – the ‘Divided Nations’ instead of the ‘United Nations’ – is way better than some nice-looking political declaration that makes people across the world believe that politicians are going to save them. If we’d had that sort of outcome, it would have given the world’s population false hope. Maybe now the general public will start to find this interesting, and will start to pay attention.

Even better, maybe they will start to get really pissed off and actually get off the couch and do something about it. Maybe now we will start to activate our ‘participatory democracies’ again – and beyond just the usual activist core. Maybe now people will participate and realise that if their global democracies aren’t functioning, it is up to them as citizens to hold their governments accountable.

Ultimately, this is why I have decided to come off the fast – because I have a whole lot more to give to the climate change movement yet. There is a whole lot of work to be done. And I need to get stuck into doing it – as does each and every one of us.

So what do we do from here?

Do we give up? Do we take a break post-Copenhagen and come back to campaigning in 6 months time? No! We regroup, we refresh our souls, strong in the knowledge that we have a powerful movement that will not give up – a movement that will keep fighting until we win.

So what do we do? We ACT, of course!

I wanted to share these other messages that I have received in the last day. They demonstrate our call to action now, and are a pointed reminder that in times of despair, the only path to hope is THROUGH action:

“If you hold love for me, your child, friend, sibling or your future, you will need to participate in this fight for freedom. … Please work with me – each one of you – to secure it.”

“The fight continues and somehow we will, all of us together, make the changes necessary. It was incredible to have taken part in the worldwide fast that began on the 17th. It proved (again) that the world wants to change asap.”

“I have also come to the conclusion that the idea our elders are wise, is false. In fact you and your (younger) generation are the “elders” with a deeper wisdom and compassion that must be heeded!”

And while it is poor practice for a blogger (me) to reference a blog (Ted’s) that references another blog by the original blogger (me), I wanted to post a link to from Ted Glick – evidently someone who feels the exact same way that I do! Check it out:

About Anna

Anna C Keenan is a climate activist, thinker and organiser working to create the paradigm-shift that we all so desperately need. She is currently working as an independent volunteer activist and is a key organiser behind Climate Justice Fast , a long-term hunger-strike in the lead-up to the Copenhagen Climate summit. Originally from Australia, Anna attended the COP13 in Bali in 2007 with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and in 2008, together with four other young Australians, travelled overland - without flying - from Singapore to Poland for the COP14, taking one month to do so. She has remained in Europe since, coordinating the 'AVAAZ Action Factory' in Europe during the summer, and working extensively with the international youth community who engages with the UNFCCC process. Her diverse activist experiences span non-violent direct action at Climate Camp in Australia to NGO campaigns with trade unions, and she has been a presenter as part of Al Gore's Climate Project since 2006. Anna is characterised by her firm resolve, strong commitment to her principles, and endlessly bouncy hyperactivity.

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