30 December, 2007

Waiting in Hope

Checking "Clara Rojas" on Google News, hoping that there will be some good news for her and all those kidnapped in Colombia. Clara was on the ticket with Ingrid Betancourt running for the presidency of Colombia on a Green Party ticket almost six years ago when they were kidnapped by the FARC while travelling through a demilitarised zone on the campaign trail.

Chavez is central to it all. The flamboyant left-of-centre President of neighbouring Venezuala waved off the rescue helicopters two days ago. Needless to say, film director Oliver Stone was beside him, to record the moment for posterity.

It's a cat and mouse game, with Venezuelan ex-Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, direct representative of President Hugo Chavez acting as the go-between as the bearer of the co-ordinates to the pick-up point. He is reporting to the International Committee of the Red Cross, in order to to immediately execute the last phase of the Emmanuel operation, as Chavez called it, named after the name of Clara's three year old son, conceived and born while in captivity.

If Clara is released it might reduce tensions in the region and pave the way for the release of Betancourt and others kidnapped in Colombia.

Now there's a report coming through of rockets being fired at a Colombian plane at Neiva. Let's hope that there's good news for the start of 2008.

02 December, 2007

Sound the Alarm

On climate change, that is.

I know, I'm becoming a climate change bore, but mark Saturday 8th December in your Diary. There's a public PARADE FOR THE PLANET for action on climate change from the amphitheatre at Dublin’s Civic Offices to the Custom House at 1pm. It's great to see all the Development Aid NGOs as well as Environmental NGOs involved.

December 8th marks the GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. As the Bali talks on climate change proceed, ordinary people around the world will be finding different ways of sounding the alarm on climate change so their politicians wake up and do much more about it.

Stop Climate Chaos is hosting a PARADE FOR THE PLANET which will see supporters making their own carbon-neutral way along the route, by foot, bike, skateboard and buggy, ringing bells and blowing whistles to SOUND THE ALARM FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE!

No, I'm not heading to Bali, I figure I've a fair understanding of the science, and the politics of it all at this stage, and I haven't figured out a quick low-carbon route. I'll leave it to John Gormley, and his delegation to beat the drum for Ireland.

I was lucky enough to get along to the Al Gore gig at the RCSI on Saturday. The great man seemed a tad jowly, and not having seen him live before, I wouldn't have an opinion on whether he's running next year. I'll leave that to others. It was an interesting event, Eamon Ryan was as evangelical as always, and even Willie Walsh from British Airways agreed that we need to include global aviation emissions in the post-Kyoto climate agreement.

Al quoted an old African proverb that loosely stated that if you want go quickly, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others. That's not a bad analogy for the Greens in Government, come to think of it. He said the problem of climate change is that we need to go far, quickly. That's the challenge.

He was an inspirational speaker, talking without notes or even a single power-pointed polar bear. He also sounded the alarm bells, mentioning recent research which suggests that the polar ice caps could melt fully in around 22 years time, or as little as 7 years.

The questioners afterwards were to polite to ask him about his rather large home, back in Tennessee. He ended by urging us to live our lives in a way that reflects well on the source of all life, and suggesting that more of the 'peace-force' or 'Satyagraha' is required. I'm not quite sure what the employees of Merrion Capital who hosted the event made of that.

Let's mobilise the peace forces. Bring along your whistles to Dublin's Civic Offices next Saturday 8th December 2008 at 1 pm.