My name is Livia Pinaso, I’m 19 years old and I live in Brazil. I have been a staff member at Mock COP since the beginning of the campaign, last year, and I have proudly been following this organization. I saw with great enthusiasm, my colleagues and ideas went to COP26, but something brought me some regards: the movement of activists to these conferences without, however, a real, meaningful and effective taking of climate action by global leaders. 

This became extremely palpable for me during the COP. The massive presence of civil society at the event is certainly a victory, but with each speech followed by unambitious agreements, unfounded promises, leaders who didn’t even show up for meetings and plans that either clearly didn’t reach our goals or didn’t change our livelihoods. I got more and more frustrated. It’s good that we’re listened to, but are we really being heard? 

The climate activist community has gained space at large and fancy conferences. Now we are heard in beautiful auditoriums and we talk to great leaders and companies at decorated dinners. However, when negotiations, those that really matter, with polluters, with countries that have money for funds, with economic bosses, take the table, we’re just not there. When we are, we ask questions and receive evasive answers, covered in ready and fallacious speeches, designed to contradict and silence us with confusing words and untruthful truths. 

Are we getting only bread and circuses while the course of the world is decided without our presence? 

I have seen people take to the streets in the name of their futures and democracy, but the institutions that should watch over these standards lock us out of the room when the table is set to argue. 

It would be awesome for someone like me to sit at the table and be heard at a big conference like this, but the way we do it today, would it be effective? Or would I just be speaking on a stage paid for by the fossil fuel industry in a spectacle orchestrated by organizations working on greenwashing? 

I have my doubts if the climax of these shows is the signature of commitments that do not comply with the Paris Agreement or the worsening of the climate crisis outside the crystal walls of the palaces that are built for these meetings.