Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

Worthy climate conference — but perhaps the wrong location

As part of the global marketing of Hope in a Changing Climate, the award-winning film Halperin executive produced with a team from the Environmental Education Media Project, Halperin authored a series of blog posts from December 2009 to June 2010. The following dispatch is part of this series.

To learn more about the film and ecosystem restoration, see the Hope in a Changing Climate project.


I try to pay attention to what I remember as well as what I forget. Of course, what we readily recall is often the mundane while we often forget the painful or profound. As the political theatre and deeply held convictions of thousands of people envelops the Danish capital, like the cold mist and rain here again in Copenhagen, the normalcy of the Danes stands out — a bit awkwardly.

And the contrast, discussing looming global catastrophe in the extreme conviviality of Copenhagen, brings to my memory an idea that was floated around the time of the founding of the United Nations in 1945. In the aftermath of World War II, when the technology of killing was perfected at a horrifying scale, someone suggested that the headquarters of the UN should be based in the middle of an unrestored Hiroshima.

It is an idea worth visualizing.

We forget so easily.

The point of such an idea is not to penalize or make harder the work that so many are doing, tirelessly and jet-lagged, to resolve the most severe of the global challenges. Few cities around the world could handle such a gathering as COP15 with as much combined grace and efficiency as Copenhagen. But the thought gnaws at me that me might all be better served were this meeting held on the Loess Plateau, or in Ethiopia, or any number of other places that both hold out hope for resolving, and are severely threatened, if we cannot manage to stabilize the climate.

-- Jonathan J. Halperin

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