Have you done your homework?
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.
The 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
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!