From COP13 to COP17

A year and a half ago, I traveled to Bali and Lombok with a friend and fell in love with the people, culture, and beauty of these Indonesian islands. With about 13,000 islands, there is a whole galaxy left to explore. But, since I’m not sure when I’ll make it back, I decided to stop by the Indonesia Pavilion this morning to recharge among warm people and check out what the Indonesians are doing to address climate change.

I was in for a treat. The Indonesia delegation was hosting a welcoming ceremony with music and dancing that accompanied remarks from the heads of the delegation and the environmental ministers from Indonesia and Japan. This is Indonesia’s first pavilion since hosting COP13 in Bali in 2007 so they were proud to have a prominent presence in Durban four years later. The youth delegates performed both a traditional dance, Tari Merak or Dance of the Peacock, and sang a song written by  Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in preparation for COP13.

After parting from the pavilion, I read the liner notes from the free CD I was handed and thought them appropriate to reprint here:

“This song is dedicated to all those – diplomats, politicians, officials, experts, activists, scientists – who are trying hard to find a global consensus on the issue of global warming, particularly at the UN Conference on Climate Change which will convene in Bali in December 2007. The enormous complexity of the climate change issue can be reduced to a simple challenge:  how to formulate and implement an effective global action plan to reverse greenhouse gas emissions. We still have a window of opportunity to set things right, and we cannot afford to let it pass… Never before has there been a dire need for the human spirit to prevail in the most important struggle in the history of the human race. This song was inspired by the light of hope, emanating from that human spirit.”

President Yudhoyono’s words ring true today though it’s hard to feel uplifted sitting in the midst of pessimistic preditions  for COP17 and under the pressure of reaching an agreement in such a short time frame. True, we’re going to need more than hope to get us anywhere but we still have three and a half days left and, as they say, it ain’t over til it’s over.