Feedback from COP15
The ten days we spent in Copenhagen were hard at times, cold, depressing and expensive!
However, on my return, one of the great successes from my point of view were the workshops that we participated in at KlimaForum. Participants really seem to enjoy the opportunity to discuss and share their views rather than listen to a presentation.
We see this type of educational workshop as key to building movements that think critically and which have a broad base for bottom up organising, rather than being dependent on a small group of experts or charismatic leaders. It seemed a shame that there was so little debate and self education within the autonomous convergence spaces. And that many of those participating in the KlimaForum were not so involved in the actions and protests. We feel that engaging with radical ideas and methods inside spaces like the KlimaForum is really important to attempt to bridge this gap, and can give people ideas and tools for organising and mobilising in their communities back home. What follows is a brief feedback on what we did.
Please, if you were at another good workshop or have feedback on our sessions, we'd love to hear from you, please email us, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Monday 14th December- The Politics of Transition.
We started the discussion by looking at the What, Why, Who, Where, How and When of the idea of Transitioning. We didn't limit the discussion to the Transition Initiatives from Transition Town model but considered the term more broadly. When we had come up with some shared understanding of what we understood by these points, we then presented some of the perspectives that Trapese covered in their booklet, The Rocky Road to a Real Transition.
After this we broke into a world café format and six small groups of about five people each, circulated around spending about 15 minutes discussing each of the titles of Transition and Capitalism, Transition and Solidarity, Transition and Political Struggles, Transition and Direct Democracy/ Horizontality, Transition and Co-optation and Transition and the Far Right. They left notes on the paper, which were then read by the next group before adding in their thoughts. There was a really good level of debate and interchange of experiences and perspectives.
There was a very brief feedback from the groups. We didn't come up with any grand conclusions, but people shared their appreciation for the opportunity to reflect on some of these big political questions.
*Tuesday 15th December- Popular Education, building movements that think critically.
We began by hearing people's experiences of projects they were involved in, which was a great range from working in arts, youth projects, in university etc.
Then we brainstormed what Popular Education means and then considered some key aspects; learning together as equals, getting out of the classroom, a commitment to transformation and solidarity, learning our histories, not His-story, starting from daily reality and inspiring social change. For each one we considered how we could do this thing in practice as well as why it was important to Popular Education.
Next we looked at some historical examples of social movements that have had popular education at their core. We did this through a mingling activity, sharing our existing knowledges and asking each other before presenting the case studies.
In the second half of the workshop we divided up into six groups, which each experimented with one of the participatory activities that we use and then we tried them all out as a big group, evaluating how they may be used including a timeline of climate change, YES/NO debate lines.
There was high energy and about 30 people by the end. We shared contact details and ideas of where to find good resources and some people signed onto our popular education mailing list.
*Thursday 17th December- Climate Change, Borders and Migration
Along with No Borders network, we helped facilitate a session with about fifty people on the above issue, again using participatory methods.
Firstly we began with people sharing their ideas about how they had experienced the discourse of climate refugees.
This fed in some ideas about the contexts of these debates.
Next we heard a bit about the No Borders perspective, its political beliefs and the reasons why principles such as Freedom of Movement for All are central to the network.
Next we did an activity that gave small groups the opportunity to discuss a quote about the relationship between migration and climate change. Issues of colonialism, economic exploitation, historical responsibility, population and social controls, migration as a movement against injustice were all covered. After discussion the quotes and the group's thoughts were all presented by the small groups back to the plenary. There was a broad range of views and people spoke from many different countries on their experiences of migration, climate change and their views on the concept of climate refugee.
We then looked at the statement from the launch of the International Campaign for Rights for Climate Refugees which had been launched at KlimaForum a few days previously. We discussed the importance of the campaign, but also the concerns that refugee organisations in Europe have about how to keep the protection afforded by the Geneva convention, which is under threat in some places.
We ended with an open discussion and then some practical examples of solidarity work and shared ideas of places to find out more.