News from the other Rachel …


June 6th, 2007
Rachel (centre) speaking at the Stopping Climate Injustice workshop
Tinashe makes his presentation

Having arrived yesterday and got my bearings in Rostock, I spent the day at the Alternative G-8, at climate change -related events. The Alternative Summit is a rabbit warren of meetings in churches, community buildings and other venues tucked away all over Rostock. But the events where the largest audiences are expected happen in the Nikolai Kirche a vast church, very light and simple inside, with terrible acoustics. However, that didn’t prevent the impressive array of speakers on Climate Justice getting across their different, but passionately-presented messages. When you go to quite a few conferences, and also speak at them too, there is often not much new to hear from NGO colleagues. But today I found the presentations inspiring. The atmosphere around the G8 is pretty dispiriting – there seems little likelihood of the agreement Mrs Merkel wants actually being obtained. So one needs a dose of hope and energy to keep one going, and this is what I got: clear indications of what is possible in reducing emissions, from FOE; how India will be desperately affected as glaciers melt, taking away a source of drinking water for 40% of its people, from Sunita Nuraini, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment. How without climate justice, no agreement is possible, and how we all must keep fighting for it by pressuring our leaders.

A short break, then Tinashe and I were presenting at a workshop called: Stopping Climate Injustice – southern solutions, northern responsibilities’. Our venue was a rather poky room in Friends of the Earth offices – but they managed to squeeze in 50 chairs, and all were taken! Besides Practical Action, WDM spoke, and Klaus Milke, Chair of our partner Germanwatch, who is also chair of KlimaAllianz, Germany’s equivalent to Stop Climate Chaos. The discussion and questions took us right to our 2 hour limit! And a reporter for the BBC interviewed both Tinashe and me, and seemed really interested in our work on adaptation and energy for the poor.

Immediately following was a rather woolly session on the Global Campaign for Climate Change – how to get more people on the streets on 8th December, throughout the world. Still, maybe I had had enough inspiration and challenge for the day!

Later, I caught up with other NGO colleagues working on climate change. Tomorrow afternoon is when the G8 leaders discuss climate change. We shall try to catch news of what is said, and prepare a response.

We enjoyed a late and well-deserved supper at a delightful harbour side restaurant in Warnemunde, the coastal town next to Rostock where our hotel is.

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