COP15 Day 5: Welcome to Hopenhagen

“Welcome to Hopenhagen” billboards and wall paintings greeted us everywhere as we arrived in Copenhagen today. This city portrays a strong commitment to work toward climate justice. Surrounded by clean water and windmills, Denmark’s capital boasts that it has already created the framework for becoming the world’s leading climate metropolis. It has developed a heating infrastructure as well as a unique cycling culture: more than half the population cycle to and from work, and only one person in four owns a car. And they’re not kidding—one needs to watch carefully not to step into that bicycle lane!

The city streets themselves are now filled with tens of thousands of people. This is the Global Day of Climate Action, so marchers are making their way from Parliament Square to the Bella Center to be met by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson in a candlelight vigil, demonstrating their passion to environment ministers, who began arriving today from the 192 countries taking part in the conference.

Demonstrators reflect a wide range of ages and cultures and have come from every continent. There is a sense of camaraderie. “Planet not Profit,” “Change the Politics—Not the Climate,” “There is No Planet B,” and “Nature Doesn’t Compromise” represent the range of messages on unfurled banners and signs, declared in varied languages. Street theatre and comedy punctuate with similar power.

Chris and I are preparing to head to a worship service at Trinitatis Kirke, where Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is offering the reflection and where we will be met by a TV crew from both the Odyssey Network and Vision TV, asking to hear from Canadian religious voices.

No sleep yet, but we’re feeling buoyed by the sense of shared purpose in Copenhagen this evening and by the opportunity for extraordinary work and worship of shared hope and compassion for the earth, all its peoples, and other creatures. Hopenhagen indeed.

How did you mark this Global Day of Climate Action?