Tuesday 1 December 2015

My last day at the climate talks

Fasting at an empty table.
My last day at COP21. As one of those who have been fasting for climate change - and in solidarity with those who don't have food - on the first day of every month, I today joined a group who have been doing this fast for two years.

To drive the point home, at lunchtime we set a table with a "menu" in a passageway at the talks, and took turns to sit there, 10 of us at a time in 10-minute shifts to comply with a police regulation prohibiting gatherings of more than that. Our plates were empty and our cutlery unused as we shared why we were fasting, drawing from the wealth and plenty of our spiritual wells.

Before this, we met with the South African ambassador, who chairs the G77 plus China group, and her team. Then we joined a side-event where the leaders of Fiji and other Pacific nations spoke to our hearts. In that part of God's world, climate change is about the right to life, not just cold, technocratic issues. People are suffering and need help. Temperatures must be contained through a binding agreement as well as ethical and moral tools. In sum, we need values-based leadership and not "word play".

We also met the German team at the talks and pressed on them the urgency of these ethical and moral imperatives. I said trust is at stake, peace is at stake, and we need an agreement which demonstrates that the conference has listened to, and heard, the angst and pain, and the urgency of the issue for people and creation.

Tonight, I was supposed to join the team in breaking the fast. But I am too worn out so I will pack and withdraw from people to recharge my batteries before travelling home very early tomorrow morning. I will hold my team and colleagues in prayer, as well as those I have met and encountered in this journey.

May we have a binding and transparent, responsive and just agreement. May the myriad poor never be forgotten at the table where economics and politics meet. They form the backbone of our global household.

†Thabo Cape Town

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