The human results of climate change were shared with the international community at the Conference of the Parties 19, in Warsaw, Poland with both vulnerable yet courageous heartfelt words. Chief negotiator, Yeb Saño, and Climate commissioner of the Philippines told a horrific and awakening story of the Super Typhoon Haiyan which is a crisis resulting in the loss of thousands of souls. Further have died, as looting aid and food, results in the trampling of these innocent brothers and sisters. These events, which have been more intense and more relevant in recent years, forecast the danger that may lie ahead if we fail to act.
Yeb Saño pledged to hold a voluntary fast to catalyze the agreements taking place within the COP 19 to bring about needed action. What would it mean to lose your brother? What would it mean to lose your home? To lose your nation? To lose your world? What would it mean? More lives perished. More nature destroyed. A loss of all we’ve built our world upon.
“I ask of all of us here: If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?” Yeb Saño is confident. “We can stop this madness.” We must. Others have heard this plea. In solidarity, momentum is increasing within COP 19. In solidarity, people are walking alongside Saño. In solidarity, people are sacrificing their food sustenance for a greater cause. They circulate the conference and identify themselves with a red circle. In solidarity, a voluntary fast of a group of 30 (and growing) began at 1:30 in the afternoon on November 12th, 2013. In solidarity, we realize we are all experiencing this moment in history together. In solidarity, we need to act on climate change. In solidarity, Warsaw, Poland’s COP19 needs to produce the stepping stones towards a new commitment to people and the planet.
Yeb Saños intent to support further action is not held alone. Climate fasts have become a demonstration. On day 9 at the conference, a petition encompassing the voice of 590,000 demanding greater action in the face of climate change. “I will continue to fast until we see a meaningful outcome here in Warsaw,” Saño says. “We mean specific reference to certain items on the agenda here including, which is something very obvious for the Philippines, an international mechanism for losses and damages as a result of climate change.”
There is a high demand for countries to step up and support the loss and damage financial mechanism. Countries such as Canada, Japan, and Australia have been blocking the movement but the human need for this fundamental support is clearly necessary in the face of climate change which will bring forth more disasters of this nature.
It brings me hope that there has been such great support for this demonstration both within the international negotiations and within the international community. An international vigil will be held on the 21st – 22nd of November of this month in remembrance of the souls who have perished due to the collective choices our species have made to create such a changing climate. For more information on setting up a community vigil please visit: http://act.350.org/event/vigils/create/. We are hopeful that this movement will bring about the much needed awakening in universal consciousness that will be necessary for transitioning to a more equitable, carbon free, resilient and compassionate world.
Author: Melanie Klein