Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I am in LOVE with Bill McKibben.. And other messages of hope

Saturday evening I attended a beautiful vigil ceremony at the Bella where children, Bill McKibben, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson were all there and gave very eloquent uplifting speeches. I was three feet away from Desmond Tutu who gave a really funny and serious speech about how developed  nations must help the developing. He also stressed the importance of climate justice and the need for climate action now! Bill McKibben also echoed those words but also talked about all the other 350 climate vigils that were happening all around the world simultaneously. This was the perfect way to cap off my day because I was really struggling to keep my heart lifted. I went to the panel about mountain people's and I hated that I was an American, it made me feel dirty and disgusting because we are killing people all around the world with our lifestyles. Also, earlier in the day, Tuvalu said it is an "irony of the modern world that we are waiting for some senators in the US congress to conclude their discussions before we can proceed" and then broke out into tears after he was done speaking in front of all the other nations. Then on top of that the Democrat party will not send a delegation this week because all the senators are required for the health care bill (read about it here). It just breaks my heart that so many people are depending on us and yet we don't seem to care.

Yet an uplifting moment for me and one of the most exciting parts of the conference thus far was meeting Bill McKibben after the vigil. He is one of my heroes and I look up to him so much.  Everything he has done for this movement is amazing and he does it so eloquently and somehow he makes me stay in this. When I spoke to him and thanked him, I told him I was from Montana and he knew exactly which event I hosted. I was amazed that he had seen my picture, I was really humbled by him. When I read this article he wrote here, I was so moved because here the man I viewed as this anchor to the movement, was moved as well. I think there are many places where we can find beauty in the movement and remember we are making history. This Saturday was the largest climate demonstration ever, between 30000 and 100000 people marched from Copenhagen city center to the Bella Center. I have been listening to three songs constantly "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon, "I was here" by Lady Antebellum and "Beautiful World" by Dierks Bentley (you can search for the songs here) But, even though this vigil and meeting Bill McKibben helped lift my spirits a little, but later in the evening I still broke down because I'm part of the problem, I am still not doing enough.

I think that even though I still struggle with the inequalities climate change, how there is much more pressure on the US than many other countries to act and many in this country don't deem it an important issue. I remember that I am an agent of change and I can help change that and I can also be part of the solution. This is larger than US Congress and US climate skeptics. I just hope we can save our mother earth in time because she deserves to be saved, she is the one that gives us life and humanity is starting to understand that. We are starting to understand that we need to thank her and respect her otherwise we will die. I am not usually a cynical person when it comes to the climate change movement but this conference is changing my outlook, I hope that I can turn my anger into productivity and peacefulness. It is not up to Congress to determine the world's future, other generation's futures, my future, it is up to me and everyone of us. I think we can change the path we are on, I know we can do it. After Pearl Harbor, the US went into a crazy war time mobilization and our society changed over night, why can't we do  that now. Now is the time for the US to rise above and beyond, it is in our best interest locally, nationally and internationally. This is a life or death choice and I hope our Congress starts to get that, I hope our nation starts to get it. It is time for us to DEMAND a shift and we can shift, I have no doubt in my mind that humans can do something positive.

I encourage you all to do all that you can to spread the message tell friends, family, neighbors, and your political representatives. It is time to move beyond climate skeptics (can the whole world really be wrong? Can all these people of the island nations, of the mountains, in the rainforest, in the cities be wrong?) and move forward with solutions. We have the technology now, we have the innovation now, all we need is the will power.


  1. Yaicha--

    Thanks so much for those last two paragraphs (not that the others are bad), which are the crux of the matter. Especially the idea that it's not up to Congress but to each of us as indivuals to change our lifestyles and indeed our basic paradigms in order to save the planet. My parents could not have conceived an answer to these problems (or to understand the problems in the first place), but my generation begins to, and yours must. And the changes we all need to make will not happen overnight, even though some of the more rabid demonstrators might wish them to, but I believe you will see them begin to make a difference. Still, things even in the best of chances don't look good for Tuvalu, or the Maldives, or Houston and New Orleans. It is sad, but not avoidable at this point. I hope you can be a strong agent of change in spite of the inevitable setbacks. You and the others you are/will be working with are our best hope.