A Noticeable Lack of Enthusiasm – Eric Carlson, from Copenhagen

December 15, 2009

Among the stranger things I’ve witnessed in the last couple days was a room filled with young people at the Klima Forum last night at Bill McKibben’s event. Bill actually gave a rousing speech, but the audience was noticeably subdued, as though they were expecting defeat this week. Even more surprising was the outright anger and disappointment at President Obama, their president. It’s no small axiom that young people swept Mr. Obama into power, through Iowa, the primaries and general election. Yet, at this evening’s main event of young, idealistic activists, when Obama’s name was mentioned, there was not a sound. One might argue at least there were no boo’s, but I can’t see how this is anything but bad news for the young president. maldives1Activists and turnout win elections, and this may be, as McKibben reminded us last night, “the canary in the coal mine” for Mr. Obama’s political future if he can’t figure out how to deal with climate change. On the flip side, front runner for President of the Universe: the president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. President Nasheed is the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader and has committed the tiny island archipelago nation to being carbon neutral by 2020. With chants of “3 5 0” throughout the hall, the president lifted the audience into a real call to action for a real cause, global survival but more personally the Maldives’ survival.