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Copenhagen Closeups: What You Can Do TodayPrint

Clean Energy | December 10, 2009 | By Brian Beauchamp

Danish artistry greets climate summit participants at Copenhagen’s Bella Center, a bustling, loud, and chaotic frenzy of people and noise.

The term that may best describe the building housing the UN Climate Summit is “echo chamber.” Metaphorically, at least, Bella Center is a classic example.

Not to say that there aren’t many viewpoints, cultural exchanges, and new ideas being shared here; on the contrary. But, collectively, there are so many different opinions competing for attention that they form a sort of intellectual cacophony that is hard to cut through.

Our 350.org team’s been strategizing about how to cut through all of that noise and make sure that negotiators hear from the people who sent all of us here to speak for them-and that would be you.

Frankly, those of us here could use some help; fortunately, there is a lot you can do from home. Bill McKibben, who arrives here tomorrow, says it best in his recent 350 blog post:

It’s easy to get carried away with thinking that the real action is all in Denmark. But it isn’t-it’s with activists back home, all over the world, who every day continue to spread the 350 message.

So, what can you do from home? After getting that question via email from a number of you, I pulled together a few ideas based on what I’m seeing here:

First, sign the petition at www.hopenhagen.org. It’s the single best and easiest way to show your support for meaningful climate action in Copenhagen. It’s a neat site: You can hover over different countries and read messages sent by other people.

Second, participate in one of the 350 candlelight vigils being held around the world.  Although as I write this it is not yet listed on the map you’ll find there, there is one being held at 3:00 PM on December 12 in downtown Traverse City in front of Senator Levin’s office. That’s at 107 Cass Street, on the corner of Cass and Front Sts., right by Espresso Bay. The vigils-and you can use the site to start up one of your own-will help 350 organizers at the conference make sure voices from around the world are breaking through the roar of voices inside the conference.

Third, check out the question of the day, where a group of college delegates built a wonderful way for folks at home to hop online and take two seconds to voice your vote. It’s really important to get as many U.S. responses as possible to the questions posed on the Web site. Check it out!

Finally, for you economists-armchair and otherwise—you can play in the online predictions markets atwww.coppm.org, and help shape the global prediction for what will come out of this conference—and perhaps help shape its final outcome.

These are a few ways you can us make your voice heard this week and next. I’ll have more ideas for grassroots action and activism over the next few days.

All my best to everyone back home in Michigan!

Brian Beauchamp, a policy specialist for the Michigan Land Use Institute, helps coordinate TC350, the Traverse City-area chapter of Bill McKibben’s worldwide climate change citizen organization, 350.org. He will be reporting from Copenhagen for the entire UN Climate Summit Conference. Reach him at brian@mlui.org.