Renée Annan: Copenhagen broke my heart

It's a tragic love story, me and Copenhagen. We fell in love in the spring of 2009 - romantic to start with. I was 18, had a relatively recent understanding of the enormity that Climate Change is and what it means for us, and I was so, so hopeful.

I trusted world leaders to make strong commitments to reducing emissions, because they must know what I know, and we don't have time to mess around. It was a whirlwind fling, I gave it my all but love is blind and in the end it was definitely a disproportionate amount of effort on my behalf.

Greenpeace got a call saying "There's hippies in Britomart!!! Are they yours?" So for my love I even agreed to the addition of shoes and an official 'Sign On' teeshirt, over my bare feet and flowing dresses. I was walking around the streets of Auckland telling people about the Copenhagen conference as a volunteer for the Sign On campaign asking world leaders to sign on to 40% emissions reductions before 2020.

When it all fell apart I didn't cope well with the break up. To me what was the future of the planet and it's incredible web of life, had been shunned in the face of corporate interests. I was devastated and heartbroken, sick in my stomach, rejected, unsure of myself and totally disillusioned. I had been in love with the hope that the Copenhagen Conference (Dec, 2009) was a real solution to what was so scary to think about, and it was my only refuge from overwhelm.

And then I was angry. Seeing the impacts of extreme weather patterns over the last few years, the ongoing facilitation of big oil and coal in NZ, and countless other assaults on our environment, I have struggled with feelings of hopelessness as an activist and as a human being.

Since then I have found new refuges. I have experienced and seen so much magic and positivity. Community gardens, the Pinnacles in Thames, sunsets over the Hauraki Gulf, political leaders actually showing leadership (obviously not most but some!), local pest control initiatives being incredibly successful, waste reduction initiatives across the country, incredible dedication from hapu and groups challenging deep sea oil.

There are more fish in the sea. COP and I are still friends, I want leaders to take meaningful action on Climate Change, I want them to Sign On. But it is not the silver bullet (even though frustratingly it could be), and there are lots of other ways to Sign On to a cleaner, greener future and a healthier relationship with the planet. So get into supporting action at COP and get into Climate Action in your communities. :)

Posted on December 19, 2014 and filed under UN Climate Talks 2014.