Sunday, May 04, 2008


Biological alarm clock activates at 6am today, which is worse than the 4am previously, because there is less chance of getting any meaningful sleep. So I Googled the London
Election results, to find that The Joker has taken over Smoketown, and that New Labour has been giving a well-deserved drubbing. Wait for the obligatory Bloody Nose speech from Gordon. Sian got 3.8%, not bad in a squeeze situation, and Darren and Jenny are still on the Assembly.

So. See how Boris performs now he has a real job.

On a brighter side, it turns out that Elisabeth May, the Canadian leader, was on Canadian TV with the Congress web-link in the background. Well done everyone who set up the web link, including the Green Party back home who called for it.

Saturday is on biodiversity. Listening pleasure is variable. Some have well-prepared speeches with slides of nature in all her beauty in the process of being wasted.

Others shout into the microphone, which creates static over the interpreter headphones, causing me to switch off. Which just proves that if you shout at people it causes them to not listen. Also shouting into a microphone is like buying an expensive bike then running along pushing it.

An Indian speaks movingly of the Forest and its importance. His ancestors said that if it was destroyed the Earth also would fall sick. He speaks of immediate physical danger that he faces from political commercial and criminal enemies.

Mongolia has the world’s third largest deposits of gold. Everyone gets richer from gold except the people who own the land and work to extract it. They just get sick. Oh dear.

I was interested in Haider from Senegal because Senegal is one of the places that we could start the re-afforestation of the Saharan coast. He spoke with passion, a typical hand-on Green. He poke of the overfishing off the coast of his country in West Africa; the solution lies in democracy, so we must reach the heart of the people, and change from acting like a predator to acting like a thinking being that wishes to survive. I met him afterwards. He can plant a mangrove for less than a price of a cup of coffee,and has planted many thousands of them personally. His knee-high children help him. I feel my interest in coastal forests nurtured by solar desalination reawakening.

18% of greenhouse gas emissions arise from deforestation – “wreck locally, smash globally”. This advertising slogan is available free for any logging company that wishes to use it. Forest burning accounts for 7% of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions. Fires are now occurring in the rainy season. The speaker felt that the solution lay in ew governance models. The Amazon bioregion involves nine countries, so ecology demands a new step in international diplomacy.

Alain Liepetz, a French MEP, spoke of the madness of inequality and profit motive, but he was shouting, so I could not hear him.

The session on biodiversity was eye opening. We all “know” that ill-conceived human economic activity is wrecking the planet, but to actually look, for hours on end, at the evidence, is a different matter altogether. The problem in the Congress is that despite the specifications in the conference brochure, speakers were long on problems and short on political solutions.

On our way out to go to the workshops, we were held back by the Security. There was a demonstration outside, staged by Brazilian Greens, maybe about 20. A Pakistani observer showed me a film he had taken, with one of the demonstrators on the ground. My present understanding is that it was against the President of a section of the Green Party in South Brazil. He had bought his way in to the position, and was pushing away from a truly position. There was no official statement on the position, but clearly there is again cause for concern with certain instances of the leadership…

My overriding concern at that point was to get to a workshop on the declaration on 21 points, to nurture the Index amendment. With half of us arriving late (more getting lost, not my fault) the process was very rapid, but nevertheless (when you understood how it worked) highly efficient. To my immense relief, the proposal for an Index of Human Rights in the UN was recommended for acceptance. Six months of subliminal anxiety
fell away from me.

After lunch, the future of the Global Greens was discussed. It became clear that the cautious position claimed by the Europeans on the first day was going to have to yield to more ambitious position coming from the rest of the world. Per Garton mentioned that people feel that the Europeans do not support the Global Greens enough.Douglas Arege, a young green from Kenya was an excellent speaker.

I have to go now. It was a great day, with a great feeling of positivity – apart from the fracas over the South Brazil affair – and I wrote a poem in the evening. But just before I went to bed I realised with a shock that I had not been following developments on global warming targets. Basically, the UK Greens have a far more developed policy. I may not be able to vote for the paper. Worry struck again. Luckily I was able to switch off and go to sleep, but it was the first thought to hit when I woke early at 6.30 to write this. Breakfast calls, and then a tense period of last minute negotiations.

(Sorry if any typos, no time to proof-read)

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