Fingers up for Climate Action

Mike Shanahan's picture
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2 December 2008

I saw two people arguing today about whether biofuels could help save humanity from itself in a carbon-constrained world.

Of course, they were both right, both wrong but neither knew it.

Getting two people to agree about most aspects of climate change is hard enough. But when nearly 200 governments representing six billion people try to reach an agreement progress is bound to be slow.

That's what is happening here in Poznan at COP14, and for many people watching from the sidelines it is pretty frustrating.

And while the governments argue over wording and who should act first, it is clear that there is a growing groundswell of public opinion -- at least among publics that are informed about climate change -- that waiting time is over.

Youth groups, NGOs, community organisations and others are coming up with new and imaginative ways to raise awareness and apply public pressure on an almost daily basis.

One is the My Green Finger project. A simple idea. You paint your finger green and write down on your hand something that you want to protect from climate change. Take a photo of your hand and upload it to the website.

All good fun, but will it change anything? From conversations with large environmental NGOs here, tactics could soon be changing.

Don't be suprised to see civil society groups attain a critical mass and decide to stick two fingers up at their dawdling governments instead, and start to flex their growing muscle in more determined ways.

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