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Chui-Ling Tam’s blog of Dec 4th ‘Why we should stop labelling people climate change deniers’ reminded me of a conversation with a Māori freedom diver on South Island New Zealand, several years ago. Many locals were saying the fish stocks in their harbor had declined dramatically because of overfishing but the diver refused to engage with these perspectives. He said the harbor was a strange place and he spoke a lot about Tangaroa, the Māori god of the sea. It was clear he passionately loved the sea and all its lifeforms, and I could not understand the position he took. I was a newcomer to Aotearoa New Zealand at that time, and while I still don’t fully understand, I think I understand better now. I think he considered the number of fish in the harbor was Tangaroa’s business, not ours, that it is arrogant for humans to assume the ability to control such things. Lately, wandering the endless corridors of COP 24 in Poland, I have been thinking about his perspective.

[This post is part of a series offered by IECA members attending COP24 in Katowice, Poland.]

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Anna Palliser's picture

[This post is part of a series offered by IECA members attending COP24 in Katowice, Poland.]

If ever there was a time to trespass beyond the conventional boundaries of what is said and not said in the different arenas of our lives, it is now. In the first couple of days of COP 24, representatives of the UN and of the World Bank, along with Sir David Attenborough, urged the parties (the representatives of governments from around the world) to act decisively, to be brave and uncompromising in making the changes that are needed, within the brief 12-year window given to us by the latest IPCC report. One week later and forward movement at the conference has been halted by four oil-producing nations refusing to “welcome” the IPCC report, in this way preventing the consensus that would lead to a full embrace of the action it calls for [1]. At the same time, the US is permitted to extol the virtues of coal, and gas within the conference venue [2]. It seemed to me, while I was at COP 24 for week one, that there are elephants in some of these conference rooms that are the size of blue whales.

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