José Ignacio Garcia, a fellow Jesuit at OCIPE in Brussels, and myself registered this afternoon at COP15 as part of Franciscans International, an NGO that attempts to embody the global commitment of the Franciscan family and that was willing to accept us as part of their delegation. It was a remarkable experience: many, many, many people queing up to be registered, some confusions, but also, amidst what could become an aggressive chaos, a lot of efficiency, patience, common sense and humor. The organizers have done a very good job. There is a great capacity here to deal with stress. What struck me most, while waiting for registration and photo, is the enormous diversity of the participants – people from all over the globe and of all ages and generations are present. I felt very much encouraged by the presence of young people, from international organisations and from NGOs and IGOs: that is impressive. One really feels that there future is at stake here in Stockholm and that they want to be present at these discussions.
Once registered, one gains access to the main conference space. Organisations were constructing their exhibits and the rooms for the side events were being arranged. I visited several of these organisations: the IPCC, UNEP, WWF, GTF (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. I will see more tomorrow, but I was already expressed to see the concrete faces of organisations I know about through the internet.
Because I had long times to travel and to wait today, I had the opportunity to read in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Le milieu divin. It strikes me how TdC attempts to explain how the Christian faith does not turn one away from the world and from the earth, but effects rather the opposite: it commits one to the world discovering the deep creative energies of love that inhabit it and ourselves. I hope that we will be able to touch these energies in the coming days, so that we do not face the challenges in despair, but rather with proactive hope. At least, COP15 touches the constructive energies of many people. And that remains true, even if one may wonder whether the main discussion here – touching on economic approaches to the crisis, particularly with regard to CO2 measures – touches the deep core of the challenges.