Brittany Packer's Blog

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Can I Wake Up Now? December 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 8:05 pm

I’m scared. The negotiations were supposed to finish today. And world leaders, so far as we can tell, are nowhere near close to a legally binding and fair agreement on climate change. So the discussions continue through the night and into tomorrow, probably through Sunday as well.

I’m scared about what will happen the coming weekend.

I’m scared about what will happen, what impacts will be caused from climate change, this year.

I’m scared about the future, for the birds, and our beautiful rainforests, for African’s who are losing their crops, and Kiribati people who are sinking, for coral reefs and for bumblebees.

I’m scared about the children that we bring into this world. What will their future be like?

I’m scared for Nelson. Simon Upton told me the other night that Nelson would be one of the first places in NZ to be affected by rising sea levels caused by climate change.

I’m scared for my future. In 50 years I’ll be 68 years old. By then, scientists predict that polar bears will be extinct, and eating fish will be a treat.

I have put my faith in the people that our country has decided would leader our country best. My future will be determined by the desicions they make tonight. I believe in hope. When the world says ‘give up’, hope says ‘try again one more time’. But sometimes I worry that we have put too much reliance on the few people that we have sent to Copenhagen to represent NZ. I am concerned about our leaders, at this very tough time, and how they will be coping, as they are getting very little sleep and are working very hard. I wish I could help them. I wish I could bake them cookies, but the security guards would be sure to take them off me. Instead we are writing love letters. We have written lots of love letters, to John Key himself, that have been sent in by individuals from around New Zealand. We, as youth, are the most trusting people on the planet. We will stand behind our leaders and support them all the way. We can only hope that they won’t let us down.

John Key, Nick Smith, and all the other “Negotiaters” that we have sent to Cop15 are, after all, only people. As much as they try, they cannot help being human. They form their own opinions, they have their own past experiences, and they have more than enough expectations placed on them. Copenhagen is not an easy ordeal for them.

I believe that we cannot rely on these individuals to determine our fate, especially at a time so critical to our future. This issue is too important. We must take further action. Individual and community action will lead to policy change. We must start on grassroots level and change our habits, change our systems and not wait for the systems to change us.

 

Trust, Need, Greed and New. December 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 4:29 pm

Can we Trust in a Copenhagen Treaty?

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Today I attended a discussion between youth and some very important policy makers.

A very well-spoken young lady from India made a point of saying:

“This time in Copenhagen, we stand, 2000 youth strong, and back home so many more of us… Our communities who cannot be here are relying on us to portray what a serious issue this is… I trust you to view these negotiations as not ‘us versus them’ but as ‘we are in this together'”.

This was responded to by Yvo de Boer, Secretary of UNFCCC:

“I think that you’re being a little careless with trust. Trust is something which must be earned, not given. This process has yet to earn my trust.”

Are we taking a risk by trusting world leaders to combat climate change?


In my eyes, there are three main definitions of trust.

1. The first defines being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.

It is ironic then, that no one can predict what will be the outcome of these next two weeks.  We have elected in a global unity of leaders who work together to hide their true intentions from public eye. A majority of people would agree that most policitians are elected into office on open promises, lies about tax cuts and the like. “I have not seen, in any country, an election based on climate change policies” is how one Minister from the Maldives described. We do not elect leaders to govern our country on a long term basis. In New Zealand, our leaders are replaced every four years. Their main objective is to convince the general public that they are good in office, so that these people can remain in power. It is therefore very interesting that we allow these people to represent our urgent voices at Cop15, for how can we create a better future with short-term goals? How can we look at the global, long term, picture, when all we can see is votes and talleys and money and money and money?

2. Trust means making an exchange with someone when you do not have full knowledge about them, their intent and the things they are offering to you.

People are dying at this moment from climate change. The affects of climate change are leaving hundreds of people worldwide without homes, without food or clean water, and without friends and family. These people, who are most often from developing countries, who currently have very low impact on climate change, have literally exchanged their lives to the developed world. And now the Western world is planning to hand over a lump of money and label it as “carbon credits” and say, sorry for the mitigation, here’s something for the adaptation. What kind of exchange is it when you do not have a choice? What happens to those millions of people left without a tv, without internet access, without a way of communicating back to the rest of the world, how do they send their message? Do they rely on the representation of their leaders? Their leaders are currently sitting in a room surrounded by large, powerful countries and businessmen, equipped with loads of back-up men, pushing for a hidden agenda which involves putting in as little money as possible, and gaining as much rights as possible for their already over-consumerist world. Perhaps this was the cause for Tuvalu slowing negotiations processes yesterday, to ensure that their voice is heard?

3. Trust means giving something now with an expectation that it will be repaid, possibly in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future.

Will the developed world want their money back? Will the World Bank loan money to countries that are being affected by climate change, to temporarily re-build their countries until the next big storm, and then demand for them to find a means to pay them back? Will the people that are most affected by climate change be any better off if we trust world leaders to make decisions for them? What kind of corruption could be created from combing people in desperate need, and business?

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Can we really trust in our leaders producing a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in the next two weeks?

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Ice polar bear, melting...

An ice polar bear, created by WWF, melts as the negotiation proccess continues. A symbol of the urgency of climate change.


Not all Doom and Gloom…

In saying that, this is only the start (although quite a late start) into the process. In the millions of years that humans have inhabited our planet, we have seen many issues. Climate change is, after all, only another issue that we, as global citizens, need to tackle. It is huge, it could be disastrous, and it is difficult, but it is, nonetheless, just another issue. The world has seen issues like this tackled before. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was designed to protect the ozone layer. Today, our ozone layer is repairing itself. The climate issue is a little more complicated than this, but it still involves the same basic ideas: realization of the issue, a commitment from countries to deal with the issue, and a strategy to develop solutions to the issue, both in present and future.

If worst comes to worst, our leaders will not agree on a treaty this year. This will postpone climate change action, and we, as people, will be negatively affected if we continue to ignore the problem. However, not all decisions come from a governmental level. It was, after all, civil resistance that brought an end to the Soviet Empire. These decisions need to come from us. From the world. From New Zealand. From you. The climate change issue is as much of a personal problem as it is a global one. Climate awareness as well as conservation action at the Grassroots level can help local communities to manage better the adverse impact of climate change. If there’s one thing that I have learnt from this conference so far, it is that there are hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of educated committed people who are taking local actions to combat climate change. And the movement is growing!

Capping greenhouse gas emissions will not slow development. Instead, whole communities will develop in a healthy way, with money pouring into jobs like conservation and education. We could slow consumerism and practice working less, spending more time to do things we enjoy. We could erase both greed and need all in one go. We could create equality across the globe.

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Finality.

I feel disappointed when people talk about, in reference to Copenhagen, “the world is watching”. This should not be true. The world should be participating. The world should be intervening, deciding and discussing what is going on at Copenhagen. This is, after all, affecting all of our futures.

Spread the word. Talk about climate change in conversation. With your friends, family, to your hairdresser, standing in line at the checkout, whatever. The more talk we generate, the more important the issue will become. See my “Top Three Ways to Speak Environment” below for ideas.

Take action. Learn to reduce, re-use, and recycle, in that order. Do you really need that big car? Do you really need those new clothes? Wouldn’t you rather have more time to spend with your kids, or your friends? Practice what you preach, and believe in what you practice.

Share your action. Sharing ideas stimulates our minds. It is both inspiring and connecting. Some of the most sustainable practices that we use today, like composting, or re-using paper, were created from everyday people. Together, as a global community, we can create the best solutions for climate change.

Sustainable Communities

 

Chels and Brits First Day at Bella Centre! December 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 10:02 am

Brits and Chels experience a Cop15 conference for the first time…

NZYD were smart enough to register our group a day early, in order to avoid long queues (hundreds of people!) lining up outside Bella Centre, where the official cop15 conference is, on Monday morning! Looking pretty flashy in our official badges, we entered the huge temporary building!

Wow!

Brit and World Ball

Our first view was of a giant room, like a warehouse, buzzing with people. The room was so big it needed its own map. But we soon discovered it wasn’t the only room, the conference was layed out over five or more big warehouses. One is filled with stalls run by companies, research institutes, groups like 350, climate justice fast and project survival which are groups that run campaigns to try and sway the political decisions. We are really small compared to the huge international orgs like Greenpeace etc.

Another has side events and lectures which anyone can just walk into. A few other rooms are especially for plenary sessions and there are some very private rooms that are for negotiations that only official conference delegates are allowed into. After handing our coats over at the official cloakroom, we proceeded to check out everything that was nearby, including the many restaurants, a massive globe, free computers for use by delegates, and a wall with a bunch of tv screens projecting  images of climate change news worldwide. And all throughout the whole thing, groups like us were taking action and grabbing media attention. The youth group did a fantastic ‘flash dance’, of which there is a link to a video in our newsletter, yelling out “take action, take action, to get some satisfaction!” which echoed across the main plenary room.

We took note of the fact that there were a surprisingly large number of trees and plants indoors! And we were impressed with the building itself, being created from recycled timber and materials. Despite being temporary,the Bella Centre was designed to be as sustainable as possible. Bella means beautiful in Danish.

In a place like that with 15 simultaneous seminars on carbon Credit systems, Forestry and deforestation policy, China and the G77 group stance presentation… we just end up being swallowed in opportunity. Mahara was saying that with the incredible speakers and people all around us, any other conference would cost thousands of dollars to attend – and I suppose we’ve paid for it in flights and accom etc but – we get in for free. Its like university but with the biggest lecturers from every country in the world.

With that being said – we didn’t actually attend anything today because all that happened was the main opening ceremony (which there was a limited entry to and we weren’t allowed in because we were such a minority. The whole world youth constituency only got 9 tickets.) So instead we scoped out the place – orientated ourselves so we knew where everything was, got a whole lot of free climate books movies etc and also collected all the possible calenders of the side events, protests, meetings. That means that we can sit down and get an idea of what we need/want to be at and when so we don’t miss out on anything.

All in all, our first day at the conference was oh-so-exciting! We both can’t wait for our remaining two weeks here, we could never get bored of this conference! The Bella Centre is quite symbolic of the rest of Copenhagen City, absolutely packed with climate change… from the media and displays, to various artworks and displays, to protests and marches and lectures and interesting things to watch and do!It’s so inspiring!

Lots of love for now, we hope all your projects back home are going fantastically, at this very exciting time of year!

Brittany and Chelsea.

Rubbish Bins

Recycling at Bella Centre

 

COY Conference, Begginings December 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 10:11 pm

How amazing is it, that we are here!

"Group photo"

NZYD Group Photo

It’s hard to know where to start! This weekend we had COY conference, which is the Conference of Youth. There were about 600 youth gathered from all corners of the globe, youth who, like us, were either attending Cop15 through an NGO (non governmental organization), or were sticking around for the next two weeks to become a part of the masses of protests, parallel conferences, displays and events that are happening around Copenhagen city in relation to climate change. The buzz of the city is amazing. Everywhere you walk, something environment-related can be seen, from the melting ice polar bear set up by the WWF, to the giant lit-up Christmas tree outside city hall powered by stationary bikes that passerby’s have a “play on”.

It is all a very interesting and confusing atmosphere. The COY conference was very useful in the fact that it gave some very hard and fast science of climate change, and policy of Cop, facts to follow. I found it particulary useful to touch up on topics I am not as much familiar about as some of the others in the group, ie, I attended workshops on Adaptation strategys, as well as Carbon Trading and Clean Development Mechanisms. And while these were both very useful, they also generated a feeling of disappointment in me. Disapointment in society and our way of life for these problems to arise in the first place. Disapointment with the pattern of negotiation process which has been seen at previous Cops and is likely to be seen here this year. Disapointment in our governments, as they are literally playing “God” with peoples lives, whole communitys and environments. As an Aussie Youth Delegation member very simply said, “It’s like seeing the developed countries hand over a bag of money saying, ‘sorry about the mitigation, here’s a little something for the adaptation’”.

On the other hand, the feeling of having an amazing global group unite on a shared passion is extremely inspiring. Talking to young people that have taken local environmental issues and really stuck in, determined to make a difference, lifts your heart and tells you that there is hope! It reminds you to stay positive even in the worst of times because there are so many caring people in the world. The climate change issue is not yours alone, the weight is shared on the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of volunteers worldwide, combining their voice to bring strength to Copenhagen 2009, and pressuring our world leaders to make a fair and effective deal to combat climate change.

The mix of emotions is sometimes difficult to deal with as, on a day-to-day basis, I will experience many ups and downs, which tires one quite easily. Hence the reason I will now leave this blog to be and rest my head to prepare myself for tomorrow, another promising day at the United Nations Climate Change Summit!

 

COPENHAGEN! December 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 8:15 am

Nelson to Auckland: 1.5 hours.

Auckland to Shanghai: 13 hours.

Shanghai- Blimen- Airport: 9 hours.

Shanghai to Frankfurt: 12 hours.

Frankfurt Airport: 2 hours.

Frankfurt to Copenhagen: 2 hours.

Copenhagen: PRICELESS.

We finally arrived to our apartment late last night, after flight delays, bad food, and check in bags getting abused… At about 1am we all got hungry, seeing as it was 1pm lunchtime in NZ… so sat up most of the night, way too excited to sleep!

7 of us were on the flight together. 7 extremely noisy people, attempting to have running races through Shanghai airport. Spot the Kiwi’s!

Got up this morning at 8am… getting prepared to go and visit the city, maybe eat some Danishes! We have a few days to explore before starting “conferencing” on Saturday, so should be an awesome chance to just be a tourist!

Just looked out the window and across to the apartment on the other side of the road is a stark naked, rather large, European. Lighting candles in the window? What a great start to our trip! We are currently just deciding which one of us will return the favour through our window…

Over and out…

 

The Blog Needed A Cartoon… November 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 11:16 am

 

More Cool Stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanypacker @ 11:09 am

http://happyzine.co.nz/youth

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/3010480/Young-greenies-off-to-Copenhagen

http://younggreensnz.ning.com/forum/topics/young-greens-going-to (cheers George!)

 

 
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