Today started with not-enough-caffeine and a long train ride from one suburb of Paris to another. With one journalist and one film-maker friend from Texas, I headed to Le Jardin d'Alice, an artist space that has been transformed into a constant massive art-build and hub for connections and creative movement building. They fixed me right up on my caffeine addiction and have been absolutely PHENOMENAL hosts and organizers, at such a critical moment. I am truly astounded and grateful, and I've barely spent a few hours there.
France is in an extended "State of Emergency" since the terrorist attacks last month, when 130 people were killed in a number of coordinated attacks on the same night. There are a fair number of military and police officers stationed around the city, to be sure -- not at all surprising given how many high-level politicians are here in Paris right now for the United Nations UNFCC COP-21 negotiations.
Sadly, the State of Emergency has been used in a discriminatory fashion toward the climate justice movement. Faith-based and other large cultural events such as sports games are still occurring with little pause from the government,whereas some climate activists have engaged in hours of negotiation for public events, and other climate activists have had their home raided and even been put into house arrest for choosing to still create space for a public voice on the climate crisis.
The group 350.org seems to be going ahead with its plans to have a large gathering for a "red line" protest on December 12th --- I happened to walk into the making space as the last little bit of white inside the lines disappeared.
It's incredibly late here now, so I'll have to continue Update #2 tomorrow.
Here is some more beautiful protest artwork, for your information and inspiration:
Updates from Paris - #COP21 - Part 2.2 - Visiting the Climate Generations "Green Zone" & Our Voices Worship
So Bekah and I wandered around for a bit. We both love painting, so the most meaningful element during our time there was painting on a communal mural at a pavilion space for Indigenous Nations, depicting a future in harmony with nature:
A significant part of the ceremony was the welcoming of the People's Pilgrimage to Paris, after their 1500 km journey on-foot from Rome. Many of the marchers are climate and faith organizers from the Phillipines -- colleagues of my new friend Jaazeal. They led the interfaith worshipers in a beautiful song that was an anthem for their journey: