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Midway through Copenhagen

on Sun, 12/13/2009 - 14:03


First of all, I have to admit I have never written a blog before. And so I beg for the patience of professional blogging types, who understand this art form. This may sound more like a Letter from Copenhagen, or, more exactly, a Letter from a Swedish farmhouse bed-and-breakfast at Rang, on the other side of the very long bridge that heads south east from Copenhagen.

see here
The first thing you notice, coming from the south, is the latitude, and how short the days are at this time of year. We have been leaving in the morning and driving back in the evening always in the dark. But then, during the day you notice how intensely bright the focused beams of sunlight are when they hit your face.

There have been a lot of practical challenges to being here. And that has probably been true of all those who have flocked to Copenhagen for people's Klimaforum. Copenhagen is not huge. Accommodation has been provided by local citizens, on a ship in the harbour, in large dormitories, as well in hotels, all of which are packed and some of which are charging double for this period. That is why the three of us, Leo Burke, Robin Temple and myself, ended up at Lyckebo Gard (farm) in rural Sweden!


The day-and-night Klimaforum events are taking place in a large complex right beside the central railway station and the famous Tivoli gardens. And so this area has become a great hub. The Bella Centre, where the UN Convention is taking place, is not in the centre of the city, but conveniently secluded from the KlimaForum activities.
Nevertheless, as soon as you get off at the railway station you see the Politi--the Danish police. Friday and Saturday have been protest days. On Friday, Leo and I were trying to cross town from the Survival Academy building where we did our workshop to get to the Klimaforum for an afternoon event. The bus was turned around by the Politi at one of the main bridges, because of protests, and so the bus driver had to head for a different bridge.
Yesterday, there was a big protest--the police say 30,000 protesters. The TV said 100,000. But only 21 arrests. There is a lot of energy here, but not much off a violent edge to it. Even the city itself tends to support that. It is a bike city--like Amsterdam--and the local driving protocol is definitely that car drivers are second, or, rather, third class, citizens, coming after pedestrians and bikers. Even the car drivers are going to have to come up to electric cars before too long, if they want to retain any self-respect! There is an initiative advertised in Copenhagen on big posters about an electric car business that is being launched, aided by the company that runs the electricity grid . They are setting out to establish an infrastructure of places all over Denmark where you can charge up your electric car overnight, using wind power from the grid.
Wind turbines, of course, are everywhere in Denmark and Sweden. We can see about five from our window here at Lyckebo Gard.

Regarding our workshop--on Friday and Saturday, "Acting Together at the Root of the Climate Crisis", it was rather daring, perhaps you could say foolhardy,to just turn up with a workshop to offer, having had no time to seriously promote it on the ground. We had no idea whether anyone would come. However, George Por, very kindly encouraged us not to worry about that, because of the potential to move this work out to our widening family of friends here in the virtual world.
So, on day one, we had two people come--and they came one hour late. By that time, we had already started, taking the approach that we were doing a dress rehearsal. We then started over, and It was very interesting to just adapt to the new time line and draw our sudden audience--two Englishmen of our generation--into the conversation about the roots of the climate crisis. They had a lot to say, and some very concrete ideas.
The second day, when we repeated the workshop, we had a great group of five younger people, two of whom are doing a Master's degree in sustainability at a university in Sweden. By this time, we had had the chance to refine the flow of the workshop, and different perspectives opened up that hadn't been touched on the previous day.

We'll talk about what the essence of our workshop is in a video that we'll post later today. So watch this space!

Right now we are also thinking about offering a webinar that would cover the basic elements, probably next weekend after we get to London. More soon about that.

Finally, a few words about a Klimaforum event we attended at couple of days ago. It was put on by a Swedish-Danish bank that has been functioning for a few decades, based on the principle of charging no interest. It is a cooperative, owned by the members.see here

The bank was making a presentation at Klimaforum as part of an ongoing educational initiative, in the firm belief that the usual financial-monetary system is a serious contributor to global warming--a position with which we totally agree, and address in our workshop. So it was great to hear from people who have successfully set up and managed a different system. The main part of the presentation was done by young interns, who are on scholarships offered by the bank to study, and educate people about, the system. The large room was packed for this presentation, and mostly with young people. It was impressive to hear the kinds of questions they were asking, and how hip they are to what is going on with the conventional financial-monetarysystem, and its devastating effects at so many levels. Afterwards, we were able to meet the head of the Danish branch of the bank, and make an appointment for an in-depth discussion with him next week, at his office at Silkeborg in northern Denmark.

I have the feeling that a blog is not supposed to be too long--I fear I am already too long! So will end for now. It is not even 2.00 PM, and then sun is already disappearing . . .



Carolyn Lee published the article on the 13/12/09

SOURCE (retrieved on 05/11/2010)


janosabel's picture

<p><strong>The formetting features seem to be nonexistent</strong></p><p>Why is that?</p><p>I see that it is only a beta version, but still...</p>