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Jun 30, 2009

Email your nearest Honduran embassy

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 30, 2009 06:12 PM
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Write to your nearest Honduran embassy and demand that the Honduran Armed Forces immediately re-instate the ousted President Zelaya and re-establish respect for all elected authorities.

Here is some text you can use or sample for your email or letter.

 

 

Subject:  Reinstate President Manuel Zelaya.

Date: xxx

 

To:  The Embassy of Honduras in xxx

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the current situation in the republic of Honduras and my unreserved condemnation of the illegal detention and expulsion of the constitutional President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.

I join with the international community in demanding that the Honduran Armed Forces immediately re-instate Mr Zelaya and re-establish respect for all elected authorities.  We condemn any persecution or repression of activists in grassroots movements and organizations by the sectors promoting the coup. 

 

We insist that the Honduran Army respect the physical integrity of all Honduran social movements, organizations, the demonstrators who are defending the institutional order and we will be watchful for human rights abuses.

 

Since this illegal action this week, the news of Mr Zelaya’s removal and details of the subsequent military actions have spread throughout the international community. 

 

We want the Honduran Army to know that we are fully aware of the current stage of repression and have photographic evidence of what is happening in the streets of Honduras.  The removal of President Zelaya was an illegal action and we are watching closely to ensure that social peace is restored in Honduras.  We demand that the democratic process, and the will of the Honduras people, be respected.

In solidarity with the Honduran people,

Sincerely,
 
Your Name Here

Jun 29, 2009

29 June 2009, FoEI Statement on Honduras

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 29, 2009 05:45 PM
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Friends of the Earth International condemns the illegal expulsion of the Honduran President and expresses its solidarity with Friends of the Earth Honduras and all the forces struggling for democracy in the country.

honduras-coup-tn.jpgFriends of the Earth International is deeply worried about the current situation in the republic of  Honduras and expresses its unreserved condemnation for the illegal  detention and expulsion of the constitutional president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya by the armed forces.

Friends of the Earth International demands the restoration of the Honduran president and the unconditional respect for democracy.

Friends of the Earth International expresses its solidarity with Friends of the Earth Honduras / Movimiento Madre Tierra and all the forces struggling for democracy in Honduras.

The entire international community must demand the return of the democratically  elected president.

Friends of the Earth International invites citizens worldwide to protest and send letters to the embassies of Honduras worldwide, demanding the restoration of the elected Honduran president and the unconditional respect for democracy. The will of the Honduran people must be respected at all times.

 

More information

 

 

take action

Please write to your nearest Honduran embassy and demand the restoration of the elected President and the unconditional respect for democracy.

Jun 15, 2009

The Climate Olympics

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 15, 2009 12:31 PM
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At the recent climate talks in Bonn there seemed to be a competition between certain countries as to who could commit to the lowest cuts in carbon emissions. This cartoon illustrates the sad turn in events.

Climate olympics graphic

Japan's Friend of the Fossils

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 15, 2009 11:50 AM
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Friends of the Earth Japan have dubbed their Prime Minister 'Friend of the Fossils' for his woefully low targets for cuts in carbon emissions.

At the Bonn climate talks Japan announced their incredibly low target of a 15% reduction in carbon emission from 2005 levels, equivalent to 8% reductions from 1990 levels.

 

Reacting to the targets, Yvo de Boer - Executive Secretary of the climate talks - comment that "for the first time in two and a half years in this job I just don't know what to say."

 

Aso with dinosaur2.jpg

Left: Prime Minister Taro Aso stands aside models of large carbon emitters such as air travel and heavy industry.

 

Below: Shirobe the polar bear lets the Prime Minister know, in no uncertain terms, he's not a happy bear.

 

white bear against dinosaurs.jpg

 

Jun 11, 2009

Japan – 8 percent???

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 11, 2009 06:05 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

report-tn.jpgWednesday was a manic rush to get the action materials ready for Young FoEE’s action on Thursday, before I had to leave Bonn at 2pm. I had worked late into the night to prepare the templates for the school reports, and now had to fill it with content. I arrived at the FoEI meeting with draft action materials in hand in preparation.

The biggest news of the day seemed to be that Japan was set to announce their incredibly low targets to the Japanese press at 11am – a 15% reduction from 2005 levels, equivalent to 8% reductions from 1990 levels. Reacting to the targets, Yvo de Boer - Executive Secretary of the climate talks - would later comment that "for the first time in two and a half years in this job I just don't know what to say." 

 


Rumours had been circulating around the Maritim, with plans discussed the previous night in the Youth camp, that the Japanese delegation would be boo-ed upon announcing the targets in the plenary session. Whether the Japanese delegation heard these rumours or not the 11am announcement never happened, and the Japanese delegation chose instead a closed session with the press later in the day.

Outside of Bonn, the results of the meeting in Luxembourg of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Ecofin, were brought to the table at the FoEI meeting – the opinion seemed to be that it was disastrous. Offsetting was included in financial contributions to developing countries, and the EU again failed to show leadership, potentially influencing the talks in Bonn.

Straight after the meeting I continued with the action materials. The idea to give a school report to delegates with a simple pass or fail mark awarded to each country. This would coincide with a banner outside and the area where the Flood banner was previously suspended to be converted into a blackboard, again with the results. With a much reduced Young FoEE team, from 35 to five, preparations began and text for the materials began to come in.

I had to leave before everything was finished and took the work with me, with the intention of working on the train. I sat down, booted my computer and promptly fell asleep, to wake in Brussels three hours later. I returned to the office and with the action team on the end of the phone, finished the materials, returning home finally at 10pm, but considering myself lucky: I knew the action team would be working hard long into the night, and would be up at the break of dawn.

Jun 10, 2009

Silence, sincerity and snacking

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 10, 2009 10:26 AM
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Young FoEE Bonn - PlantationsAfter the first week of actions and media work, and with the majority of Young FoEE either leaving or already gone, my main Young FoEE responsibilities ended and I was thrown abruptly into the world of policy. The day began with the FoEI meeting, where the policy experts discussed the daily agenda and brought updates from the previous day to the table.

 

Outside the conference venue - the Maritim Hotel - a collection of organisations, three trees and a number of dancers where protesting against deforestation, with a minute’s silence held for the Peruvians who lost their lives in the protests against free trade agreements and encroachment of industry on land in the Amazon.

 

This was mirrored by a minute of silence in the plenary halls for the Belarusian delegate, who, on Saturday afternoon, had collapsed and died on the very sofas in the Maritim foyer that would be filled with revellers the same night.

 

I spent the day trying to catch up on everything that had been happening behind the doors of the Maritim halls, harassing as many colleagues as possible. The general feeling was still one of frustration; the talks do not appear to be going well. Rich industrialised countries are still failing to put forward sufficient emissions reduction targets, with Japan failing to put forward any at all, and offsetting and other false solutions still feature prominently. But, there are glimmers of hope, with progress in REDD, and Bolivia, Paraguay and El Salvador pushing on FoEI’s behalf; using the FoEI language.

 

There was an interesting development in the Kyoto Protocol Working Group: the Micronesian delegate called for 45% emissions reductions by 2020, which would mean keeping carbon dioxide below 350 ppm (parts per million), keeping global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees, but in essence ensuring survival for many of the islands in this area of the South Pacific.

 

She compared the EU’s target of 30% reductions to the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with their lives. It struck me as profound that with so many climate change sceptics out there, here inside the walls of a rather modern, shiny but bland hotel next to a motorway in Bonn, an entire subregion of Oceania was battling to keep their tropical islands above water.

 

Further policy discussions with colleagues continued in the Maritim restaurant, where we were forced to eat expensive salads due to the lack of options. It was either an intentional decision by the UNFCCC to only provide expensive food within the Maritim so as to starve out NGO workers, or it was subtle ploy to make sure everyone went to side events – where food was provided.

 

Needless to say we fell for it, and found ourselves at the Copenhagen Climate Treaty side event, where the NGO community were putting forward their proposal for a Copenhagen agreement. I found myself struggling to keep up with the figures, and was relieved at the comic interlude when the speakers introduced a new acronym, LCAP (Low Carbon Action Plan), bringing the total in the document to 82. In general it seemed a decent proposal, but more discussion and analysis is needed to find where it coincides and clashes with FoEI policy.

 

 

More comments to come. With the Q&A over, we left our seats, and dived into the snacks...

Jun 09, 2009

Home: A film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 09, 2009 03:33 PM
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French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has recently released a film on the environment called 'Home', available on YouTube for free until June 14.

HomeThe hour and a half long movie details the current state of the earth and the environmental challenges we face as a consumerist society.  

 

Amidst breathtaking images, Yann explains that although our civilization has to change the way we live and save our planet.

 

The price to pay is high, but it is too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth's riches and change its patterns of consumption.

 

 

Photo: © HOME – a co production with ELZEVIR FILMS / EUROPACORP

 

Jun 08, 2009

The clock is tck tck ticking

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 08, 2009 10:45 AM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

With regional meetings all morning, I took the opportunity to catch up on work - monitoring the media. With no luck on the international front I resorted to rather basic monitoring methods in the local newsagent, scanning every German paper in sight. The paper that had promised to cover the event seemed to feature exclusively scantily clad women and I secretly hoped that we’d been left out.

 

The Young FoEE delegation left the hostel around 11am to head towards the park near the Maritim hotel, where 350.org were organising a huge aerial picture, followed by a march to the doors of the Maritim where speakers, including two members of the Young FoEE policy action group, would talk about climate justice. It promised to be an exciting day spent outside along with hundreds of fellow activists and campaigners. The only downside – it was pouring with rain.

 

We arrived at the site for the aerial picture and were kitted out with Green hard hats (symbolising the potential for greening the economy) and white jumpsuits that were thankfully waterproof, as it became clear on arrival that we would be spending at least 45 minutes laying in the rain. The atmosphere was nevertheless one of excitement, this time like a festival with the fun.

 

The exact number required to pull off the human banner turned up, 450 people would form a giant exclamation mark, with the words “Yes you can” and “tck tck tck”. German camera crews arrived, and numerous other press, and the choreographer began preparing the human banner on the ground.
After 45 minutes laying on the wet grass in the rain, thoroughly soaked, we finally got the shot that was needed, which would be spread across the web and inside the conference in the eco – the NGO newsletter.  

 

 

An inspiring and motivating message to the participants in Bonn that the clock is tck tck tck-ing, and that we only have 6 months left to deliver a strong and just climate deal in Copenhagen.

Inspired, tired and on my way home

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 08, 2009 06:36 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE Bonn - Group ShotWith most nursing either sore heads or sore backs, depending on where they had spent either their time awake or asleep respectively, the final evaluation session rounded off the week of very intense work from the Young FoEE delegation.

 

We had collectively achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time: two actions, two teaser actions, meetings with delegates, regional planning sessions, blogs, films, participation in further actions, policy meetings, press work, a march... I could go on.

 

Everyone was exhausted, but, I think it’s fair to say, inspired. I was definitely inspired. This was my first experience with Young FoEE, and I am left with nothing but respect for a force of very dedicated, intelligent and motivated people. I have no doubt that they have the capability to play an important role in the negotiations in Copenhagen, from inside and out, and have no doubt that each and every one of the participants will return to their countries and inspire more to join.

 

The trainers themselves did a fantastic job coordinating and developing the participants and deserve huge respect for the work that they have done and will continue to do. In five days we had gained ourselves a reputation both inside and outside the walls of the Maritim hotel, even challenging the UNFCCC action policy, and it was all thanks to the energy and dynamism of the Young FoEE team.

 

I personally spent Sunday in a form of stupor trying to remember why at 4 am the previous night we had thought it would be a good idea to check out the nightlife of Bonn, and also question how we had achieved so much. It was my first opportunity to really sit and assess.

 

Here is a short list of sites where you can see for yourself the movies, images and blog posts from the week:

 

 

A few of the Young FoEE-ers will continue the good work through the week, but the majority leave today, to meet again in Sholta, Croatia for the summer training camp. Then, if everything goes to plan, the Young FoEE force meet again in Barcelona: so watch out!

Young FoEE and 350.org spell it out

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 08, 2009 12:20 PM
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Young FoEE and 350.org pose for an aerial photo in Bonn where climate talks are being held spelling out their demands for a just deal in Copenhagen this December.

The flood came!

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 08, 2009 12:00 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE Bonn - Flood actionAfter shaking off the excess water, and with the rain still falling, Young FoEE grouped to brief for the march towards the Maritim Hotel. The idea was to form a blue block using blue bin bags to cover our clothes, and to display the numerous banners that had been created during the week. We wanted to take the message to delegates that the Flood really is coming, and pride of place was given to the Flood banner, that would eventually be hoisted up outside the Maritim during the speeches.

The Young FoEE block, with the addition of BUND Jugend, the German arm of Young Friends of the Earth Europe, numbered over 50 people in total, and with the calls for “Climate Justice Now!” appeared to be the most dominant force in the march. Organised charges by David Heller, Communications Officer for The Big Ask Campaign, where the Flood would squat and count down from 10, and then charge, banners flying, were an injection of energy, and dispelled all worries of cold and soggy feet.
 
The route weaved through the park towards the “Halls of Power”, as the choreographer had described them, and after dancing behind the samba band we charged the last portion of road up to the roadblock outside the Maritim.

We diverted towards the Tck Tck Tck stage, where speakers delivered motivating stories and chants on the theme of climate justice. With experimental chants that attempted to find rhymes with “climate justice”, we raised our voices with the hope that we would make so much noise that not only the delegates inside would hear us, but that their superiors would hear us at the end of every phone line.

Finally, Jasmine and Bjorn, two members of the Young FoEE delegation took to the stage and gave speeches, in English and German respectively, to the soaked but upbeat crowd. I made a dash inside to get the pictures online as quickly as possible, before joining the evaluation meeting.

The rain continued to fall all evening, and when we returned to the hostel late at night, after the rather raucous NGO party held in the Piano Bar at the Maritim, many campers found themselves on the receiving end of the very message they’d been carrying all day: the flood literally came, and 27 people, with tents drenched inside and out took shelter in the meeting room for the night.

Jun 06, 2009

UN Secretariat 1 – Greenpeace 0

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 06, 2009 11:05 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE Bonn - Football match 2The hour had finally arrived for the UNFCCC football match. I still maintained that it was some sort of elaborate prank, but considered that the worst case would be an opportunity for some informal lobbying. However, I could not have been more wrong. I arrived at the meeting point and was greeted by a selection of delegates and NGO workers all kitted out in shorts and running shoes, a box of beer and a rather shiny trophy. Game on.

 

We shuttled down to the UNFCCC Headquarters to meet the UN Secretariat team, who had been warming up for the last half hour. Spirits were high in the NGO camp; a chance to release any pent up frustration from the talks. There was little time for tactical discussions or stretching, although this was what we all needed after a week of inactivity and sleep deprivation. We split into two teams, roughly NGO and delegates, and I found myself on the ‘Greenpeace Team’ alongside five Greenpeace delegates, including, with everyone whispering in excitement, “one from Brazil”. I campaigned to have us renamed the ‘NGO Team’, but majority ruled in the team of nine.

 

A very messy game

With raw herring from lunch still brewing in my stomach I took to the field. The game kicked off before we’d even nominated a keeper and 20 minutes of schoolyard football commenced. The Lesotho delegate in goal let a soft shot slip through his hands and roll across the line within five minutes, and the Brazilian tripped on the ball and twisted his ankle within seven. I had two breaks on goal and the only shot on target but failed to equalise, and after a heavy 50-50 challenge in the second half one of the Secretariat team members told me, in very un-diplomatic terms, that he’d “mess me up”. The game remained in deadlock until the end. The disgruntled Greenpeace team ‘borrowed’ the trophy and declared moral victory.

The next team took to the field, including Kuni Shimada, from the Japanese Ministry of Environment and the game quickly descended into chaos. Shimada left the field after one minute over confusion about untied shoelaces, the keeper took a goal kick from his hands, and the Secretariat scored a lot of goals.

 

The final match between the NGOs and delegates was a humourous affair, with further confusion for Shimada, who unsure whether to take a corner or a throw appeared to do something akin to both at the same time. A controversial penalty decision saw the Greenpeace delegates up in arms over the injustice, followed by bickering over the position of the penalty spot, until it was decided the player who would take the penalty “was a girl”, with the ref moving the spot closer. She smashed it into the top left corner.

 

They think it’s all over…

Young FoEE Bonn - Football matchFurther confusion broke out later when someone mistook “first substitution” for “perverse regulations” and the game finally ended in victory for Greenpeace with smiles all around. The trophy was returned to the rightful owners (UN Secretariat), and a surprisingly sincere speech about something about climate change followed. Then we all drank beer…

Jun 05, 2009

Demand climate justice in copenhagen

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 05, 2009 02:36 PM
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Call on world leaders to do the right thing at crucial climate talks in Copenhagen this December.

BL-1st-Prakesh Hatvalne-IndiaAt the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, world leaders will make decisions affecting the future of our planet. They will have an historic opportunity to commit to actions that help to protect us from the disastrous consequences of dangerous climate change.

 

Sign Friends of the Earth International's petition to urge them to do the right thing by our climate and people all over the world.

 

Have you done your homework?

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 05, 2009 10:10 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE Bonn Aciton 4The alarm seemed to be ringing before I’d even set it. The night had ended around 1am, and the plan was to have the action set up at 8am, leaving the hostel at exactly 7:22, after packing everything up and moving bags and all, along with our tents, in preparation for the night’s camping. This would be followed by another teaser around 11am, a meeting with the German delegation, a further action at 1pm, talks, talks and more talks, and the small matter of a football match. I began to question whether I could somehow disguise my youth status and sneak a couple extra hours of sleep, but to no avail. I was bundled out of bed at 6:30am sharp.

 

By the time I emerged from the building, the action group were already packing the van, with desks, chalk, cut-out cartoons, banners, benches and bodies. Bags were hurled into a spare room and somehow the majority of us made it for the bus with a minute to spare.

 

On arrival, the police had changed the venue of the action at the last minute, but it suited us: with a clear view of the Maritim Hotel the action team began to set up. First came the tables and benches, then the blackboard, then the banners. I dashed inside to hand out the last press releases to the media and returned to find a fully-fledged classroom, complete with noisy and unruly students, dominating the route towards the Maritim. The idea behind the action: it’s the end of the first week of the UNFCCC climate conference, and the leaders of industrialised nations have failed to do their homework on climate change.

 

I will not invest in cole

Climate talks in Bonn-crop

The action team were kitted out in masks depicting Merkel, Sarkozy, Obama, Aso, Van Rompuy, Brown, Reinfeldt, Rudd and Berlusconi and all dressed in uniform. The teacher, armed with a megaphone, ordered the mob to write lines on the blackboard as punishment for failing to do their homework: “I will not invest in cole, nuklear and offsetting [sic]” wrote Sarkozy, and “I must reduce my carbon emmisions [sic] by 40% by 2020” wrote Merkel. Despite the best efforts of the leaders to lay blame on their dogs or fellow classmates, and several ambitious attempts to deny any knowledge of the words “historical” or “responsibility” they ended the class with a unified chant: “Climate Justice Now! Climate Justice Now!”. Watch out for the Young FoEE video of the event, coming soon.

 

Sadly the event received less media attention than I’d hoped, despite the media team’s best efforts, although a Japanese journalist took great interest, and a local Bonn paper promised to run the story. But, importantly the delegates loved it. The event was met with unanimous positivity. Colleagues in the media team interviewed many, asking if they too had done their homework.

 

The action was undeniably a huge success; the only hiccup the lack of media attention – I asked myself if I too had failed to do my homework!

 

The flood is coming...

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 05, 2009 12:00 AM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE Bonn - Action 2After leaving the press invitation in the capable hands of the media group, I was dragged out of the Maritim Hotel to document the first teaser action. Six Young FoEE-ers, armed with chalk and stickers were determined to take the message of climate justice to the citizens of Bonn.

 

After energetically peppering every lampost and sign in sight they decided they should probably stick to the original plan and save some resources for the centre, and we all jumped on the tram and set our sights on central Bonn.

 

Young FoEE Bonn - action1The same enthusiasm was released upon the streets, literally, with the small team covering the central pedestrian areas with the slogans “The Flood is coming” and “Demand Climate Justice”. The reaction was mixed. Positive interest and excitement from the younger generation, and grumbles, mumbles, shuffles and general despair from the much elder. But then it is Young FoEE.

 

I returned to the Maritim early to finish the press release for Friday’s action and to make sure we had spokespeople for the day, and made time to sign myself up for the UNFCCC football championships. Could this be a prank? Would they really unleash a team of NGO workers onto a football field with national delegates? We’ll find out.

 

Young FoEE Bonn - Action 3Young FoEE were treated to an introduction to Climate Justice Now!, with stirring talks from affected people in the Global South, and everyone took a well deserved beer after almost 12 hours non-stop activity. Thoroughly exhausted I returned to the Young FoEE camp where meetings continued long into the night, with final preparations and last minute arrangements for tomorrow.

 

Fingers crossed…


more climate coverage

Jun 04, 2009

Campaigning in South East Europe summer training and skillshare

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 04, 2009 10:58 AM
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Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Croatia invite you to the seminar 'Campaigning in South East Europe' ­to be held on the island of Sholta, Croatia from July 20-26, 2009.

The Seminar is a part of the Friends of the Earth International project: Capacity building and networking among environmental NGOs and youth in South Eastern Europe with FOEI experience.

 

The project will last for three years and is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
If you are based in the region or this is simply something you're interested then please go to the Friends of the Earth Croatia website to find out more.

Nnimmo bassey interviewed by Dutch magazine

by Krista Stryker — last modified Jun 04, 2009 01:05 PM
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Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International chair and co-founder of Environmental Rights Action (ERA) in Nigeria was recently interviewed by Ex Ponto Magazine in the Netherlands.

Nnimo Bassey

In the article he talks about his introduction to human and environmental rights in the 1980's and how his goal since then has been to help strengthen and mobilize local communities to fight for their own interests. 

 

Nnimmo also mentions the dangers he's encountered as an activist and how he has used music and poetry to cope with his own struggles and to empower others.

 

 

  • Read the full interview here

 

Like a festival without the fun

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 04, 2009 01:00 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

Young FoEE - BonnThe Young FoEE day began earlier than any would have liked, especially after the late night spent banner painting in preparation for Friday, but everyone was keen to get their first look inside Hotel Maritim where the climate talks were taking place.

 

After final rushed meetings in the bus and tram we arrived at the rather soulless area around the hotel, and after a brief stroll along the footpath, adjacent to a motorway, 35 of us congregated in the front entrance of the hotel for the first group shot. Young FoEE had arrived, and we were hard to miss.


After passing security it was like being thrown into a sea of suits, and as my first experience at this kind of event I was relieved to find that it wasn’t as scary as I’d expected. A rather small venue, considering the importance of the talks, and a disturbing number of smiling delegates… was this a reflection on the progress of the talks? Not if the FoEI delegation were to be believed.

 

The atmosphere inside the hotel was a surreal cross between music festival and boardroom meeting: all the freneticism, energy and legions of sleep-deprived people that you’d find in a festival, but with all the music and fun removed.

 

The hotel was full of surreal juxtapositions and the rhythm strangely hypnotic: I would later find myself signing off a press release for Friday’s action with a snoring delegate on the sofa opposite, a destitute polar bear below, and calls of “Fossil of the day” echoing through the corridors.

 

But, to work! The Young FoEE groups split again into three, and continued from yesterday’s sessions. Action locations were scoped out, and plans refined. Policy differences were ironed out and the media potential was explored. It was clear there remains plenty of room for the Young FoEE/FoEI message.


Jun 03, 2009

Young FoEE, split three ways

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 03, 2009 12:45 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

As the discussions continued in the Maritim hotel, Young foe-ers prepared for the following four days, with morning briefings going deeper into the FoEI position and the background and history of the UNFCCC.

 

Using “action preparation” as a very poor excuse to get out of these discussions my colleague and I jumped on a bus into central Bonn in search of chalk, paint, paper, fabric and general school materials. You ask why? All will become clear on Friday.

The afternoon saw the Young FoEE group split into three working groups: Action, Media and Policy, followed by three hours of discussion and training.

 

By the end, in short, the Action group came up with some wonderful ideas and concepts for actions throughout the week, with a teaser for the Flood in Copenhagen (FoEI's large mobilisation at the UN climate talks this December) on Thursday, the main action on Friday (more to be revealed), and further ‘fairytale’ actions/interventions on Saturday.


The Media group tried to define their role so as to best assist both the Action and Policy groups, to get the Young FoEE and FoEI positions across, and to get the most amount of media-coverage possible, while discussing the possibilities and potential for new-media.

 

And finally, from what I could observe, the Policy group got incredibly frustrated, and stuck in a quagmire of acronyms and detailed technical discussion.

 

Back in central Bonn, the REDD side event: “REDD traps: can we avoid them?” with the Global Forest Coalition, asked if it is possible to develop REDD policies that respect indigenous peoples’ rights, conserve and restore biodiversity, and do not undermine the climate regime.

 

 

Tomorrow brings the Young FoEE-ers first trip to the conference centre, accreditation, the small task of preparing and implementing the Flood teaser action, a small amount of press work, and an introduction to Climate Justice from the Climate Justice Now!

 

Lots to do.

Jun 02, 2009

Plans are a foot

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 02, 2009 12:30 PM
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Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.

young foee at bonn-2Arriving Tuesday afternoon in glorious weather, weighed down by sacks of wellington boots, flyers and other materials, not to mention our tents, we were greeted by fellow Young FoEE-ers in the garden outside our hostel.

 

We would not be entering the Maritim Hotel, the centre of the talks, until Thursday, and looked forward to two full days of training and action preparation.

 

We had no first-hand idea of how the talks were going yet, but the general feeling was one of optimism, although, this would soon be challenged.

 

The Young FoEE activities got off to a great start. The first afternoon was spent with introductions and to each other and the whole UN climate talks process known as UNFCCC.

 

After a brief overview of the week’s activities, the evening brought an unexpected surprise when members of the Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) delegation arrived for an evening workshop. What was meant to be an informal chat about the FoEI stance on the talks turned into very intense and motivating discussions.

 

young foee at bonn-1Initially the FoEI delegation looked incredibly exhausted and frustrated by the UNFCCC processes, and said as much, giving all the Young foe-ers a bit of a reality check . But, the pessimism was soon swept aside by a motivating and passionate talk from Asad Rehman, Senior Campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

The core message of the talk was that the frustrating UNFCCC process should not be demotivating, but in fact the complete opposite: it should be motivation for action action action. This got us all very excited.  Talks continued until around midnight, and it became clear that there was a huge gap waiting to be filled by the Young FoEE activists in Bonn: an action-sized gap right outside the Maritim hotel. Plans are indeed afoot...

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