Historically, the COP21 event will now always be connected to the atrocities that Paris experienced just prior to its opening. Did the event form part of the rationale for the shootings and bombing? I don’t know, nevertheless the fact that the city was planning for it and poised for its international visitors must have played a role.
So how is Paris today? How does a city recover its equilibrium after such a horrific experience? One way is to get on with the “ordinariness” of life … The day to day … And for Parisiens much of this happens on the streets: with the early morning street sweeping machines, people enjoying their first coffees in the myriad of boulangeries; going to work, meeting each other for a quick lunch, then buying the day’s bread and visiting the supermarket for ingredients to prepare the evening meal. There is much to be said for the healing nature of every day routines.
Today, our day included paying our respects at the site of one of the attacks, the Bataclan Theatre on the Boulevarde Voltaire, now closed, with police guarding it, but outside on both pavements, flowers, candles and messages of grief. All around us there are poignant photographs and brief stories about those who died, and we stand quietly reading about these lives tragically cut short. It’s so hard to imagine, in the bright winter sunshine, that this could have been the reality a few short weeks ago. The nearby Place de la Republique is the centre for the city to remember and for those from elsewhere, like us, to come to pause and reflect.
It hasn’t stopped the COP21 activities, but I’d like to think it has sharpened people’s energies about the need to work together for solutions to climate change, rather than waste any precious time looking for reasons we can’t collaborate. I hope so.
The event is happening at more than one site in the city. In my previous report I spoke about the site at Le Bourget and some of the activities there. But activities and events are underway elsewhere in the city, and people are gathering to talk about climate change in various venues often sponsored by NGOs and other organizations. Today we are scheduled to gather, with other women, as part of the WECAN alliance (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) and I will be able to report on that at length tomorrow.
View the update from WECAN (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) here