As the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen begin to hot up, Jo Barrett, Progressio Press Officer extraordinaire and myself are beginning our long train journey to Copenhagen to join our colleagues already there.

I am looking forward to working with a wonderful woman called Fabiola Quishpe , a community leader and grassroots activist from Ecuador, for whom I will be translating as Progressio seeks to bring ‘southern voices’ to the Copenhagen debates. She is among millions of people in poor communities being hit hard by climate change.

After I write this, I’ll be joining a long queue at St. Pancras, where I’ll take the Eurostar to Brussels, Duestche Bahn to Cologne and an overnight train that actually gets carried by boat across the sea before depositing us in Copenhagen.

When I tell my friends the details of this journey, they can’t help but laugh – 20 hours on a train compared to 1 hour and 15 minutes by plane!  I admit I find the idea of flying tempting – after all, it’s what we’re all used to.  However I’m realising as this journey approaches that these train journeys are the future of European travel.

Quick jaunts across the continent will inevitably be replaced by these long rail journeys, and for the first time, I see the changes climate change will bring to our lives on the horizon.  Climate change will stop being that niggly issue in the back of minds to feel guilty about, and will become a major force in all of our lives.

Of course, change is hard, and it’s obvious from news of leaks and divisions at Copenhagen that some people are trying as hard as they can resist change and the drastic action we so desperately need to take.  But as a climate change campaigner, I do have hope.  It may only be a train journey to Copenhagen, but it’s the shape of things to come – the only question is how soon.

Brie O'Keefe

Progressio Campaign's OfficerBrie will be updating this blog regularly as events unfold in Copenhagen


It’s interesting this whole climate change thing… How much does it tap into our deep-rooted spiritual instinct to do without to improve ourselves?

To do good, we in the North (in the South it’s not a choice) must use slow transport with lots of waiting, we must take a long time to do our shopping locally and we must be a bit cold at home.

I try to do these things and believe that they are a good idea. But it’s important to notice that these efforts also represent a massive collective hangover from the party of the industrial revolution - with much that is pleasurable and easy about our everyday life now seen as a BAD idea. I think it’s important to notice this and make sure we don’t disappear down a tunnel of abstinence as an end in itself.

Not only would it be miserable, it would not be sustainable: there’s nothing like doing without to make you want to indulge… in a gigantic steaming bath or a flight to Minneapolis.

Clare Jeffery
Progressio contributor