Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Real COP15 Demo behind the media’s coverage.

On the 12th of December took place the largest international citizen support for climate action in Copenhagen so far.

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Next day, those were the headlines:

Euronews: Hundreds arrested at climate change demo

NY times: Hundreds of protesters arrested at climate talks

CNN: Arrests at climate conference.


I felt confused and angered by how the international media focused on the tiny incident that happened while completely ignoring the hopeful and positive message the mass of 100,000 people tried to convey in a very festive and organized atmosphere.

I know it, I was there.

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A few days earlier, I had decided to find a way to get to Copenhagen and join the march, even for a day, to show my support. Luckily I heard about a French left-wing anti-capitalist party that was organizing buses trips for that special event. I jumped on the occasion and bought my ticket.

On the 11th of December, 3 buses left Paris towards Denmark in a 20 hour trip. We were mostly young people, with a big majority being politically active and a few (like myself) just wanting to show their support.

We arrived the next day around noon. Due to a delay on the German border, we missed the first part of the march but arrived just in time to catch up with the crowd on the starting point at 1pm.

In front of the Parliament, in Christiansborg, I watched the streets fill with colors and people from many different countries, together, side by side, marching and carrying their signs with strong and direct slogans.

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Political leaders, actors, important personalities took turn to deliver their messages for climate justice action. The crowd was roaring louder and louder, showing support cheerfully.

The march started at around 2pm, under a low sun and freezing temperatures that didn’t seem to annoy the happy crowd snaking in the streets of Copenhagen.

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I followed the mass during 6km up to Bella center, behind mini-trucks blasting Drum n’ Bass or reggae music all the way. It was a colorful march, festive and well organized. Signs were left here and there for people to take and join in. Other causes were also represented like Tibet or Iran.

Apart from a few helicopters and scattered security guards, the police were very discrete and friendly. The only incident the media focused so much on was the work of an ultra-violent anarchist group all masked and dressed in black that threw bricks at the police and broke a few windows. But they were very quickly arrested and the march continued strong and undisturbed.

The 5 hour long march ended in front of the Bella center where the talks are being held. Thousands of candles were held up high, representing the hopes and support of the international community for climate action. The night continued with concerts in town and people dancing to electro or hip hop music. I also was impressed by how fast the streets were cleaned behind the march!

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So I sit and wonder. Why did the media focus on such a small incident, ignoring completely the reality of a 100,000 citizens marching together as one? Why didn’t anybody talk about the peaceful messages and the festive atmosphere that reigned all the way during 6kms?

Do not be fooled by what the media shows… The COP15 “Flood Action” march was a success. It was never done before.

Now let’s hope the message is clearly understood and do our part of the job.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


What would you say if, every morning, somebody covered you with a cotton sack, suffocated you for a whole day in a tight leather outfit while forcing you to carry your own weight? I guess that would be very unpleasant would it?

Well, that’s what we do to our feet everyday!

The foot is an important part of our body, an engineering marvel. It helps us stand, and move around in the physical plane. It also plays a crucial part in our well being. With so many nerve endings (about 7200), techniques like massage, acupressure or reflexology can heal many of our ailments in a natural way. The foot is a mini map of our body.

Too many people ignore the pleasure of walking barefoot. Walking without shoes stimulates the foot, sending well being messages to the whole body and to the brain. It tones the muscles (19 muscles) resulting in stronger feet and helps pump back blood to the heart! Of course, it also makes you feel closer to Nature.

Do I hear you say “But I already walk barefoot at home!” ?

That is not enough! Forget the flat artificial surfaces we walk on everyday. We need uneven surfaces like grass, sand, why not rocks?

And lastly, for your own good, at the end of the day, make a habit of thanking your feet by giving yourself a nice good self-massage. They carried you all day long, without moaning.

So, take off those shoes, get rid of those socks and go run like wild on the beach with your friends. Your feet and your whole body will thank you for it.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The real solution of the climate issue.

So the climate conference in Copenhagen started today. Many head of states and governments are meeting up for 11 days to come up with a real solution about climate issues.

Millions of people have their eyes focused on the debates, their hopes placed on the future decisions.

I have noticed lately a change in the world. More and more people seem interested in environmental issues, media talks about it frequently and more people are concerned about the future of our planet.

So our hopes are placed on the climate conference. They will fix everything, right?


We had Kyoto before, we had many debates about climate, we had many conferences about environment, weapons, pollution and so on.. Did we see any change during the last few years? In any field?

Most biggest polluting countries in the world can get away with a “No, I refuse” and the deal is over..

Big decisions are supposed to be taken by governments to control and reduce pollution. But honestly, will one person representing a whole country be able to make a change? Especially politicians?

The real solution does not lie in Copenhagen, or Governments. It lies in our hands. Us, the people.

A mass gathering of millions of angry citizens can make any government kneel. Millions of people can make any polluting corporation shut down. Those governments are supposed to represent the people, but do they really?

This could appear to be a call for a revolution. And yes there should be a revolution. A peaceful one, with people showing they are fed up and want real decisions.

Put the pressure, show the world we care about our future.

But, that is not the only solution too.. I don’t think big corporations or a few handful of companies are the biggest cause of the climate issues. The biggest cause is again: Us, the people.

Gather all the millions of people in their daily lives and add the carbon footprint of every citizen. The wasted energies, the cars, the garbage, the over-consumption.. All these added together make all of us the biggest polluters. So it’s not a simple climate conference that will solve the issues, but changing our habits, and participating in creating a better world.

So, why not:

-Find tips to save energy. There are many out there, on internet, and many logical and obvious habits like turning off lights when leaving a room, or using solar panels..

-Drive less. Use more public transports, use bikes, buy a non-polluting car.. or simply walk. Why be concerned about climate issues if we spend most time in a car not even enjoying the weather?

-Buy less, recycle more. Why throw away stuff that are still in working condition? Why buy new stuff when the old one works perfectly fine?

-Educate children. We are creatures of habit. Educate the children and they will get the habit of preserving our planet.

We, the people, are responsible for letting our planet turn into a waste. And we are the ones who can do something about it. Change YOUR habits, and pressure your own government together with everyone else, in a peaceful way, to show them you care.

Let’s get to work, we have a home to save.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sad news for the Travel Community..

Sad news for the travel and adventure community.
The famous "National Geographic Adventures" magazine is shutting down, their last issue being the December/January (the one currently on newsstands).

It was a great magazine accessible to most people that wanted to jump into the adventurous world and create one for themselves. Not only for the hardcore adventurers but also for the random person who never traveled alone.

Another victim of the crisis, another good magazine that disappears.

Apparently, they claimed that Nat. Geo Adventures will continue on different supports like e-mags or webpages. Let's hope they continue to survive that way!

"Dream it, plan it, do it"...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Beverage of Druids

Witches, Demons, Evil spirits and nasty leprechauns! Behold! Read no further for you will find here only your doom…

One of my favorite regions in Spain is Galicia, located on the North-Western tip, right above Portugal. It is the wettest part of the country and also home of Celtic traditions and culture. Yes.. Celtic.

Some even dare say that Celts originated from that region in Spain and colonized later Ireland and Brittany (no wonder as the weather and landscape are very similar in those places).

Anyway, while walking on the Camino de Santiago and after reaching Galicia, I made a very fortunate discovery: The local traditional alcoholic beverage… Queimada!

This ancient beverage was prepared during pagan festivals and gatherings by the Celtic druids. It is a kind of punch made from Orujo (a distilled spirit prepared from the remains of grapes used for the wine) mixed with lemons, coffee beans, cinnamon and sugar. All these ingredients are then mixed together in a big container and set alight while the druids recited a magical incantation.

The purpose of this drink (other than celebrating and getting wasted) was to keep evil spirits and witches away from the villages.

I was lucky to be able to attend a town celebration with plenty of Spanish grilled food like chorizo and churrascos given away for free, as well as a Queimada incantation. I was entirely mesmerized by the blue flames while the whole town was dancing next to a transformers-like truck that turned into a huge concert stage. The preparation took a while, roughly about 30 to 40 minutes.

Lucky enough, the townsmen were already pretty drunk from beer and wine so nobody was interested much in drinking the punch, which we gladly finished between us! It was DELICIOUS! (and strong.. wow..).

And yes, It did work, I did not cross any witches during the next month! *hips* Cheers!

Here is the translated version of the incantation, looks like it came straight out of a fairytale!

Owls, white-owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and mages,
charms of the medics.
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermin.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.
Howl of the dog, omen of death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub's Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the arses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech of the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like that from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
becoming so purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it's true that you have more power
than people,
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada


Here is also a video of the ritual: