December 2009 – the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, where the talks were meant to avert catastrophic climate change. Together with a wide coalition of civil society groups, Greenpeace worked tirelessly – under the banner of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), of which we were a founding member – to generate the public interest and pressure needed to make the those talks a success.
That pressure compelled some 120 Heads of State to turn up for one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever. Yet despite the clear public call for a Fair, Ambitious and legally-Binding (FAB) climate deal, all they produced was a feeble three-page Copenhagen Accord.
It is now clear that the only way big changes are going to happen is if civil society takes the power and compels politicians and business leaders to act. We must have a say in what our future and the future of our children will look like. We must make political and business leaders understand that, if they do not act to avert climate chaos, they will be replaced. And to achieve this, we must protect the right to non-violent protest.