One of the pleasures of being back from the climate talks in Copenhagen is finally having the time to sit down and watch some of the incredible videos that came out of those two chaotic weeks at the end of December. I wanted to share one of my favorites with you. It’s a video from the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition, one of our strongest allies and dear friends. In the video, Tom Smith, a twenty-year old member of the UKYCC delegation that came to the climate meetings, walks us through the final hours of the talks. Take a look: 

Tom share the sense of frustration and disappointment that many of us in Copenhagen and around the world shared. As he says, at the end of the meetings that there was a perception that the talks "hadn’t moved anything." The perception of failure was all the more heartbreaking because of what we all know is at stake if climate change is left unchecked. Tom tells the story of Elisha, a organizer from the Maldives who came to Copenhagen to share her story with delegates and the media. As she told the media in an interview in Copenhagen, she may not have a home by the time she is 40, forcing her and any children she may have to live as environmental refugees (Elisha is now back in the Maldives continuing to build a movement for climate justice in her own country and working with to keep that movement building around the world; you can see a picture of her and Jamal, another organizer from the Maldives, below). 

Yet, as we’ve tried to share over the past few weeks, despite the disappointments there is much to give hope. Tom describes talking with a Bolivian delegate who came up to him at a protest outside the conference center and said while Copenhagen had not been a success on the inside, they had been a massive success on the outside. That’s in large part thanks to all of you. You helped build the movement that sent all of us to Copenhagen with unprecedented momentum and solidarity. Over the weekend of December 12, you helped organize over 3,000 candlelight "vigils for survival" in over a hundred countries around the world. That day, in Copenhagen, 100,000 people marched in the streets for climate justice. And as I write this post, citizens in communities around the world are making plans to make 2010 even more powerful.

As Tom says, "I’m not a genius or scientist or politician, but I’m here." He meant here in Copenhagen, but I think he could have also meant here on Earth. In the end, climate change affects us all, no matter where we stand. We may not all be geniuses, or seasoned activists or organizers for that point, but we can be here to help. Copenhagen, as Tom points out, was never going to be the end. In fact, it’s just the beginning.