Robert and Alisa from Suderbyn went to Paris as a part of UN Working Group of GEN (Global Ecovillage Network International*) and as representatives from ECOLISE — the umbrella organisation for grass-root initiatives in Europe against climate change and for sustainability. Additionally, Alisa went on behalf of REALS which unites Transition Town, Ecovillages and Permaculture movements.
Unfortunately, the Climate March which was to be the main demonstration against Fossil Fuels and Climate Change, was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks in Paris prior to the Conference. Many people's actions moved to the virtual space: to blogs and online exhibitions. Some demonstrations were however hold, bringing together people longing for the change. For different types of change, actually, but in this space all voices were mixed in one massive protest.
Demonstration at Republique brought together all kinds of activists from environmentalists to left-wing anarchists.
Paris and Le Bourget, where ECOLISE and GEN stand was held, were crowded with folks from all countries and social levels, from UN delegates to civil society. A really colorful symphony, although with sometimes too fake decorations and sometimes too exhausting sound.
Why would I wait for politicians to bring the change to my local community?
What we from Suderbyn really loved during those days at COP21 is the "Alternative COP21", the fair of bottom-up initiatives and solutions for Climate Change and other crises the world is facing. A lot of ideas coming from the principles of Permaculture and social and environmental justice. This is where you feel the real change is happening, in contrast to the official Conference.
These are the easiest but functioning steps to the transition from oil-dependence and people's alienation to a new way of economy and society. The transition doesn't start in political negotiations, where half of the parties are lobbied with the corporations. The transition starts here, in the society, when people stop to support the existing wasteful system and give hand to each other. With no consumers, the corporate machines lose their power, with no power they lose their control over political actors. Simple. If you want the change, don't wait for someone to make it, just go for it.
Here is some taste of the Alternative, bottom-up COP.
To finish, we would love to show this picture from Place to B, the hostel and co-working in Paris where GEN delegation was staying during COP21. This map made of greens reminds that each action and choice we do locally and individually is echoed by actions of others. Together we shape what our world becomes.
* Have you known that GEN has the consultative status at the UN-Economic and Social Council?
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