There is a long stretch of road near where I live in Clondalkin which is lined with acres and acres of fairly untouched land. It was bought to be a huge housing development during the Celtic Tiger, but they only made it as far as finishing a train station before the crash happened and the land was left as it was. This train station is planted right in the middle of this road, about a fifteen minute walk up the road from my house gets me there. Occasionally I find myself in need of this train station. Usually, it is because I have to be somewhere very early, before the buses start running. When my alarm goes off at 5:30 so I may catch said train, I am not feeling the awe and wonder of the world. I drag myself around the house, get myself ready and head on out. I begin my walk up to the train station, when I remember how blessed I am to exist in this gorgeous world. The sun is only waking up too. It has a very unique quality at that hour, a colour and form it doesn’t usually look at me with. I trundle up the road, starting to forgive whatever menace occasion has forced me to awake so early, and I start to encounter a whole new world. It’s early, so it’s quiet. There’s no cars, I’m the only person to be seen. It’s the time of morning where the rabbits can hop across the road safely, the birds can hear each other again and all those little creatures I don’t know the name of can start knocking about again without me annoying them and setting down a rambly piece of writing about them.
COP27 will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh this year. This will be the 27th time that the parties have convened to come up with the formula that will save the world from human destruction of environment, and considering a host country has already been chosen for COP29, it is hard to imagine that this will be the last meeting. Temperatures are rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, small island states are rapidly going under water, biodiversity habitats are being destroyed at a record rate, among other things on a long long list of human induced issues. We have had 26 chances before this to solve the problem and we have let every one pass. In an ideal world we would have found a fix at COP1 all those years ago in Berlin, but we haven’t, and we’ve given ourselves a 26 year disadvantage. This year it is crucial that we see meaningful action on loss and damage, adaption and mitigation and support for developing nations. We cannot afford another token document.
I’ve lived in suburban Dublin as long as I can remember. Concrete jungle, with housing estates and soulless green spaces, where the most interesting place for wildlife is the tuft of grass around a tree or pole where the lawnmower simply couldn’t get to. My train station walk is an anomaly, which exists simply because capitalism failed at one point in time. The economy has picked up again since 2008 and the plans for development on that land have reopened again. I love my suburban life – I feel more connected to Liffey Valley shopping centre than I should. In my suburban life of nipping to Centra, going the local for a jar and in and out on the 40 bus, it can be very easy to forget the other world that existed before us, exists under our feet and will exist on after us. The modern suburban luxuries threaten our world, but also the world of the rabbits and foxes and mice and we must remember that the world is shared one and we are not owners, we are stewards, and the decisions made, or not made at COP27 will decide the fate of ourselves, our counterparts around the globe and our counterparts nibbling away at leaves where we can’t see them in a midday rush.