Thoughout the Copenhagen climate summit, the massive Bella Center has felt something like an airport at Christmas time, with NGOs playing the role of information-dispensing attendants, skycaps helping to ferry along good ideas, and police, making sure that no one was trying to sneak policy bombs onto the climate deal plane. But the real police, along with the UN, haven't taken kindly to them. After a number of demonstrations and amidst concerns about overcrowding and disruptions, authorities have now all but prevented the world's civil society, young and old, from entering the summit, leaving the conference to dark suited officials and dazed journalists.
Chelsea Howard-Foley was one of only 12 young NGO representatives admitted today by the UN. She spent the day roving through the crowds of officials with a sign declaring that she's joining millions around the world in a 24-hour fast until the end of climate talks and in the hopes of a fair and binding agreement. The fast (sign up here) is in solidarity with one still being kept by a handful of activists who began a water-only diet during climate talks in Barcelona last month.
Though part of the Sierra Student Coalition, like many young people at Copenhagen, Chelsea's connected to a number of groups through the TckTckTck coalition. Her admission to the Bella Center today was contingent on her record as an activist, she said, and on the fact that she kept a low profile in recent days to keep from getting on any UN black lists.
As she explains, she and other activists are not hopeful about whatever document emerges tomorrow. But there is at least one upshot to Copenhagen so far, she says. "The international youth climate movement is actually becoming an international movement," she says. "We may have different nationalities and languages, but we all need the same thing: a clean just energy future.
Follow more of TreeHugger's Copenhagen Climate Summit coverage