Monday, 14 December 2009

Guardian Angels for Climate Protection

Julia Balz, of Germany's consumer group VZBV, on marching with angels in Copenhagen on Saturday.

The global day of action against climate change on Saturday, 12 December got heavenly support: Five ‘Guardian Angels for Climate Protection’ joined the rally that marched the streets of Copenhagen.

Supporting the message that the political leaders have to agree to a legally binding treaty, the Angels not only brought a new thought to the demonstration and to the conference, they enlarged the friendly and peaceful atmosphere that was felt throughout the march.

Ten thousand people walked in beautiful sunshine but very cold temperatures to the Bella-Centre where the climate change talks are being held.

Sent out by CI and the German Federation of Consumer Organisations (VZBV) the Angels called for politicians to take consumers into account when negotiating green house gas-reductions.

The Angels were well welcomed by the other demonstrators from Finland, Norway, the United States, Malaysia, Korea, Germany, Sweden and many other countries. Passers-by not only wanted to touch their wings but also showed shared sympathy about their message. Many demonstrators agreed with a recent VZBV study: consumers are eager to protect the climate in their daily lives and in their consuming behaviour. But this is often neither easy nor even possible. There are not enough climate-friendly products and services out on the market and if they do exist, they are often hard to find, have a lower standard or are more expensive than the less climate-friendly products. So there is a lot to be done before it is easy for consumers to become guardian angels for the climate themselves.

But this is what the Angels are aiming for and they showed at the rally, how much fun it is to be a guardian angel and how easy this can get you and others into a good mood. That and the urgent need for changes to protect the climate is why the Angels demand politicians take consumers into account when negotiating green house gas-reductions.

Consumers have to deal with the effects of climate change in their lives in more and more parts of the world. And they are the ones who can make an important difference when it comes to putting into action what the world leaders decide. But politicians need to think about where to cut green house gases so that the changes are just and make climate-friendly lifestyles attractive for consumers .

The Angels were quite surprised that not many people or politicians have thought about this correlation so far – to them it is obvious that everybody should have the chance of becoming a Guardian Angel for Climate Protection. Politicians of the world have to decide upon a treaty that is ambitious enough to protect the climate – and friendly to consumers.

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