Apprehensive of what COP15 would hold in sealing a climate agreement for the world, over the last number of days forty sustainability experts from all continents converged on Copenhagen. Between the 3rd and 6th of December this group engaged with hundreds of participants at the Climate Exchange at Øksnehallen to ascertain, deliberate and articulate public sentiment regarding the anticipated result of the international negotiations.
The responses varied from skeptical to optimistic. However, the overwhelming message emanating from the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM is loud and clear. In the words of the convenor, Uchita de Zoysa, "We will not wait for someone else to determine our destinies. We will rise as a global community to determine our own sustainable ".
Dr. Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, a Swedish scientist working in the University of Leiden says; "We as a species will live far beyond 2050. It is my conviction that we can rise above the climate challenge and emerge in better wellbeing as one species on Earth". Dr. Simron Singh, an Indian scientist working at the Institute of Social Ecology, Austria expressed the challenges ahead and warned the community to be determined on this path. "From the Rio Earth Summit, through the Johannesburg Sustainability Summit, and now to Copenhagen, we have just been value-adding to processes that control the normal lives of people".
Dr. Simad Saheed, a Maldivian environmental consultant referred to the fear that rising sea levels would threat the existance of his island nation and it was up to the world community to prevent this. "For the past twenty years we have been appealing to the international community to save us from our climate plight, and we are still destitute". Mr. Souleymane Bassoum, an organic agricultural expert from Senegal argued for the present development paradigm be brought to a halt. "Money coming from the West is not to create wellbeing for our people, but often to maintain corrupt governments that help to continue exploiting our resources".
Dr. Arthur Dahl from the International Environment Forum said that the growth-based economic development model would end by 2020. "Economic growth has failed to eliminate poverty and bring wellbeing to the poor, and has created more obstacles in achieving sustainability". Ms. Flora Ijjas, a doctoral researcher from Hungary likened rich economies to cancer cells growing at the expense of poor nations. "The exploitation of rich countries creates hunger in the poor countries". Summing up the frustration of the world's citizens, Mr. Victor Ricco, a human rights lawyer from Argentina said, "I gave-up my job as deputy minister for climate change to rejoin the peoples' movement, as only talk cannot save us anymore from the challenges of climate change".
These and other members of the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM have all come together to take their destinies in their own hands. By: Climate Sustainability PLATFORM
This article was originally published in OUTREACH a daily newsletter published by Stakeholder Forum