[uncovered: random transit convo #1]

Random Transit Convo #1
December 10, 2007
By Jihan Gearon

Here at the COP/MOP you can meet lots of interesting people and have lots of interesting conversations just riding the shuttle between the BICC (Bali International Convention Center) and the Grand Hyatt, where the side events are being held. Today I sat next to a man from Uganda. Our conversation started the way all conversations start here – “where are you from?”

When he found out I was from the U.S. he asked, “why isn’t climate change a major issue in your presidential debate?” I told him I thought it was because all of our presidential candidates would rather focus on the need for U.S. energy independence. That means they have in interest in continuing the use of fossil fuels. I think there are probably more reasons than that, but that’s the first one that popped into my mind. Then I started asking him questions.

Question: What are you wanting to come out of the COP/MOP?
Answer: Stopping the use of fossil fuels and using more renewable energy.

Question: What do you think of nuclear power?
Answer: Yes.

Question: What do you think of carbon trading?
Answer: It’s okay, but not enough. It doesn’t stop the use of fossil fuels, especially from the main polluters and that’s what we need.

Question: How is climate change affecting where you’re from?
Answer: Floods. We are having more floods when we used to have none, even during the dry season. When I was young we didn’t have anything like it, but now we do. Just a little while ago there was a flood that came our of nowhere and many people died. About 60 people died and a lot of homes were destroyed.

More or less. By then, our bus ride was over and we parted ways. I wish I had interviewed him with the camera. It’s always good for me to hear from people who have a good knowledge of where they’re from and can attest to how they’re local environment is changing. And it’s also good for me to hear that they understand what real solutions we need – less fossil fuel use from the rich countries.

jihan+ben

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1 Response to “[uncovered: random transit convo #1]”


  1. 1 orianabolden December 18, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Press Release
    Friday, December 14, 2007

    Contacts: In the US: Tom Goldtooth, (218) 751-4967 or Jihan Gearon (218) 760-1370
    In Canada: Clayton Thomas-Muller, (218) 760-6632
    In Bali: Jihan Gearon, +62 81 338998156 and Ben Powless, +613 614 4219
    Next Generation of North American Indigenous Youth Attend International Climate Meeting

    BALI, Indonesia — Today marks the end of the 13th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13) in Bali. Navajo and Mohawk representatives of the Indigenous Environmental Network leave with frustration about the outcomes of COP 13 but also inspiration from Indigenous leaders.

    Jihan Gearon, from the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation and Benjamin Powless, from Mohawk, Six Nations, have been participating in the climate conference in Bali for the past two weeks. Though IEN has been participating in these UNFCCC since 1998, Jihan and Ben came to learn about the proceedings so that the next generation of Indigenous youth will be able to participate in the future. They have been working with other Indigenous Peoples and climate justice organizations to advocate for Indigenous Peoples rights and oppose the false solution of carbon trading.

    Gearon says, “What scares me most about this COP isn’t that we came out of it with no targets or plan for post-Kyoto. It’s that the atmosphere of the discussions seems to focus less on stopping climate change and more on how money can be made from the climate change problem, at the expense of Indigenous People.”

    Industry representatives came to COP 13 in full force, advocating for market-based solutions to climate change, such as international carbon trading markets. Many industry reps pushed for reforestation projects to take a bigger role in worldwide carbon markets.

    “Carbon trading schemes have been detrimental to Indigenous Peoples,” says Powless. “And reforestation projects should not be included in them. Because polluting companies need a forest to stay unused in order to pollute elsewhere, they deny Indigenous Peoples access to their own traditional forests. This is a violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

    Despite their disappointment, both Powless and Gearon agree they have learned a lot and left with one source of inspiration. The Indigenous Peoples Caucus of COP 13 has been pushing for more meaningful inclusion in climate negotiations and both say working with the caucus has been a positive experience for them.

    “It’s inspiring to see Indigenous Peoples from every corner of the world not be scared to speak out in their appeals for the rest of the world to include them in this process,” explains Powless. “And even more than just appealing, they’ve been forceful when necessary even to the point where we’ve staged a few protests here about the UNFCCC process keeping us out of the negotiations.”

    Gearon adds, “this is really what Indigenous Peoples the world over need to be capable of doing in support of our rights.”


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