Climate change is not going away. It will continue to worsen.
And neither are those of us who are working to create a new normal.
The 'Tck Tck Tck' campaign, designed to draw the world's attention to the need for urgent and sustained action to climate change organized by a wide coalition of major NGOs from Oxfam to Amnesty International to Religions for Peace and Christian Aid, has, at the time of this writing, 15,243,644 signatures on their petition. Their current message: 'We're not done yet'.
My message: 'we are just getting started'.
And I say this as someone who has been learning about and working around climate change issues for a number of years (and I take my hat of to the many who have been working on this concern for decades).
We are just getting started to learn what climate change really means. We might want to invite people who have already been effected by Climate disasters and already become climate refugees - from Katrina to Somalia - to our meeting houses and our communities to hear their stories. We might want to hold working groups within our local meetings to understand the science - the largely non-negotiable science, so that we know our actions are grounded in reality. We need to consider how the organizations we are a part of - regardless of what they are - are going to need to adapt to climate change. For example, how are human rights programs, health programs, psychotherapy practices, architecture, politics, local governments, immigration policies, prisons, etc. going to be effected by climate change - both adapting to climate change and working to mitigate it.
We are just getting started to learn how to effect the United States and the oil lobby that it so often bows to. That could include QEW and QIF working closer with FCNL in the States, and enabling Quakers and other fellow travelers to lobby the US government to change its position. This includes being part of the growing US and global movement for a green economy and for climate justice in order to ensure peace and the realization of economic and human rights.
We are just getting started to learn how to build trust at the international level. Here is a place where Quakers have much experience. There has been growing support amongst those of us here at COP of the clear need for something that resembles a Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) but located at Bonn, where the UNFCCC has its headquarters. We had a beautiful worship over this idea last week, and there was strong resonance for its potential benefit. Such an office could help build the long term trust between parties. This would be both to support the creation of an international agreement, perhaps even more important, to help support the subsequent process of realizing the ramifications of such a deal.
Climate change isn't just about conferences in Copenhagen - or, next year, in Mexico. The work that happens in between conferences is perhaps the most important work. For that, we need to form a committee to consider what is the best type of QUNO-type office to create (I do not presume it will look exactly the way QUNO currently does) to support the ongoing international process - as well as all the other ways in which we, including those of us who have been working on this for years, are just getting started.