I get to do some strange things working for Oxfam. Last week I watched as an average family; mum, dad and son sat around with their dinners on their laps staring at the TV. Glasses of coke and wine sat on the table with the bowl of fruit. Then the bananas decided to float off and a turtle swam past.
I was in the Sea Life Aquarium on London’s South Bank. We were here to mark the fact that we’re now 100 days away from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Denmark, one of the most important meetings in human history.
At this meeting world leaders need to agree a fair and safe deal that prevents catastrophic climate change. For this to happen we need Western leaders to accept their country’s historic responsibility for climate change and do two things.
They have to take a lead in agreeing to slash carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. Then they need to earmark $150 billion a year to help poor countries adapt to the impact of climate change and reduce their own emissions. Poor countries are already feeling the effects of climate change but without a deal this December then 50 years of development gains will be lost.
Sea levels are predicted to rise anywhere from 5 metres upwards over the next couple of centuries. The most conservative estimates would wipe out most coastal cities – including London – and would change all of human life dramatically.
To make these very serious points we assembled a front room, dumped it into a tank full of sting rays, turtles and sharks and then got 3 people down there while assembled media took pictures and filmed. This was possibly the quirkiest depiction of some future apocalypse that I’ve ever seen.
It’s far from doom and gloom. We’ve got 100 days left before Copenhagen and in that time we all need to do or bit to make sure that our leaders do everything that they can to make the right deal. In the UK there will be lots of lobbying, petitions and a big demonstration were a “blue wave” descends on London.
A lot can be achieved in 100 days. We must make sure that our leaders know that t Copenhagen is our big chance to save the planet and the people who live on it.
By Ian Sullivan