My last few days in Durban were pretty eclectic. At the Centre, we spent most of the last 3 days working on our individual projects. These are projects related to eco-justice, and centred on youth, that we will be implementing back in our home countries. We presented them to each other in small groups, giving each other (hopefully) constructive feedback.

Project Group A

Friday afternoon was free, so naturally a few of us went down to the ICC (where the COP is being held). Our first stop was at the Occupy COP site, where we affixed our sign from the previous weekend’s rally to the fence surround the site, facing the ICC.

Our sign at Occupy COP

Next, Claire (UK) and I went into the ICC to see what was happening. The sessions were closed to us, even though we were accredited, at this point because only certain key people were allowed into the negotiations. Claire and I took a photo of our accreditation badges, just in case they got taken away at a protest. Mine was not; Claire’s was, when she, and a group of others, sat down in the ICC in silent protest. Again, how is this a security threat?? And how is Canada’s position at these negotiations not a security threat?

Look Ma, I’m accredited!!

Inside the ICC, there was a big protest near the Plenary. Interested, we went to investigate, and met some of our fellow Youth for Eco-Justice participants.

Hierald (USA and El Salvador) and Njideka (Nigeria) at the protest

The protest

A media frenzy

When I was leaving the ICC, I saw this simple message written on the pavement in chalk.

Yes – why??

In the end, the negotiations ended in a type of deal. Negotiations went into Sunday, and, essentially:

The conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime to enforce their commitments to control greenhouse gases, according to Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s foreign minister and headn of the 194-party conference.

The agreement would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

Friday night party

We spent Friday night with a celebratory dinner and party. Perhaps we were a bit premature in the celebrations, since we didn’t yet know what would come out of this COP in Durban, but we were celebrating the successful Youth for Eco-Justice program.

Caroline and I – travel buddies!

With more friends

On Saturday, we did some last-minute Christmas shopping at a market at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. That afternoon, I went to the Kwa Muhle Museum, Durban’s Apartheid museum. Interestingly, it is located in notorious building that served as the Native Administration Department under Apartheid, which controlled the affairs of the African urban population in Durban.

Kwa Muhle Museum

A wander along the beach afterwards led us to one of the cooler installations on the beachfront – a tree with lights that are powered by cyclists. It was pretty awesome.

Tree lights powered by cyclists

And Sunday morning was spent communing with nature at Durban’s botanical gardens, the oldest botanical gardens in Africa. At 3 pm, I set off for my nearly 1.5 days of travel back to Toronto.

The rainbow tree


Today, Canada formally announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. Many countries have criticized this decision.

I am beyond ashamed.

And so, I leave you with these last comments from Mardi Tindal’s last blog post about Durban:

Canada may yet choose to participate in a miracle. But clearly it will not do so on the schedule for which we have prayed, and certainly not in time for December 25th 2011. We will continue to act and pray with both the longing and hope of Mary.


About kbardswich

Writer. Photographer. Activist. Lesbian. Feminist. Traveller. Voracious learner. Part-time shit-disturber.

Posted on December 13, 2011, in COP17, South Africa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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