UWE Researcher cycles to alternative Copenhagen Summit

Issue date: 21 December 2009

Mark and Marcus take a break for lunch on the way to Copenhagen An Environmental researcher from the University of the West of England has just returned from the alternative Climate Change Summit – Klima Forum, the Peoples Summit - in Copenhagen. He cycled to Copenhagen from Bristol with a friend Mark Robbins, regional policy officer for the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds.

Marcus Grant, Deputy Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities and Urban Policy, said, “Mark and I have been environmental campaigners since we were at school and university together. We now hold significant jobs in the environmental arena in the South West and the Copenhagen Summit provided an ideal opportunity for us to combine our professional and campaigning interests with a winter cycle through Europe.

“It was good to soak up the atmosphere whilst the 'main event' was going on but I was mainly in Copenhagen for Klima Forum. This forum draws together people from all over the world and this year included significant delegations from poorer parts of the world including Bangladesh, Maldives and Siberia.

“It is widely reported that areas like Bangladesh and the Maldives are under threat from rising sea levels but one astounding thing that I learned is the impact of global warming on cities and towns in Siberia. The melting permafrost is causing buildings to sink into the ground.

“I was inspired by the deep understanding of the issues by the youth and the people from the 'poor' countries and their creativity, spirit and values. I was deeply dismayed by the 'official' positions, lack of brave leadership and 'what's in it for us' attitude of the leaders of the 'rich' countries.

“Climate Justice seemed a new and spreading demand with the idea of reparations and not aid. Will we see emerging new global governance based on new values or will we see increasing unease and tension as waves of climate casualties and climate refugees become a norm over the next decade?

“I have learned a lot, about global politics and the health of environments for both people and the flora and fauna, by taking a risk and making this trip.”

For more information on Marcus and Mark's trip see http://rspbcop15.tumblr.com

For more information on the Klima Forum – the Peoples Climate Summit


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