From Copenhagen to Cancun: One Voice

Joanna MacDonald

You know that feeling when there is a problem you want to fix but it’s a big, complicated problem that seems almost impossible to take on? Doubt starts to cloud your mind, despair kicks in, and that nasty and dangerous question pops into your head, “How can I, one single person, make a difference?” Believe me when I tell you that this question frequently pops into my head and can do some dirty work messing with the mind. Fortunately over the past few days I’ve had some experiences that have helped to dissolve the doubt!

Last night the lovely Elizabeth May came to chat with us. She has been working at the climate change problem for quite a while and so I wanted to know what keeps her motivated. I’ve only been in this fight for climate justice and survival for a couple of years but after Copenhagen, like so many others, I was seriously burnt out, disenchanted with the process, and pretty depressed about the situation we faced. Elizabeth told me that it is the young people like the CYD that keep her positive, as well as the fact that if we gave up then we would definitely not win. This was a great reminder to look to my peers for inspiration. I’m living and working with 28 amazing people, all of whom do some incredible things. It is easy to look to them for examples of how one person can make a difference when I feel a bit overwhelmed or insignificant.

A second experience that showed me how I make a difference was marching in Cancun today with 2346 other people from around the world. I contributed my voice to the chants, my hands to hold banners, and my presence to the crowd. The march was an awesome success that sent a message loud and clear to world leaders demanding climate justice. What inspired me was that fact that this powerful crowd was made up of individuals, each one an integral part. Without individuals there would be no crowd! One voice does count…it counts a lot and makes a huge difference. So next time you don’t think your voice or participation will make a difference, just remember this post and trust me…you make all the difference.


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