‘Charismatic megafauna’ arrive in Copenhagen

Posted on | December 15, 2009 | 1 Comment

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/EPA

For the Guardian's climate conference feature Copenhagen in pictures: Day 9, click on the body-builder turned actor and politician with the persistent tan that prompted LA Times columnist Steve Lopez to wonder if the governor of California had been "dipped in a bucket of Tang."

Until today, Copenhagen’s most famous citizen was a girl with a fishy tail sitting on a rock, reports the Guardian’s John Vidal. No more. The day saw the big beasts of the green jungle arrive — what ecologists would term the “charismatic megafauna,” intent on adding their weight and lustre to the struggling climate negotiation.

First up was “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger, who arrived at the conference centre with 10 men in black with wires sprouting from their ears, a phalanx of cameramen and a perma-tan. Lesser beasts, like mere ministers, diplomats, UN chiefs and state governors, bowed before him.

“Arnie is a climate activist hero, his words are short, his actions long, he reaches out to all of us. No one has done more for climate, he is an exemplary role model,” scraped Gordon Campbell, the governor of British Columbia, who was chosen to welcome him.

“Dat’s the way I wrote it,” said the green-tied beast with perfect teeth, who recalled he had once been to Copenhagen as a body builder. “Some will say da world will melt and we will all die; but I say this conference is already a success. Copenhagen makes us think differently. We are beginning one of history’s great transitions,” he said, before adding with menace: “I am governor of California and I have the right to brag … I will be back.”

To keep reading the Guardian sketch, click here.

Wherever the governor of British Columbia got his script, it seems unlikely that any Californians were canvassed. To translate the Britishism “scraped:” it is a shortened version of the expression “to bow and scrape,” which means to behave obsequiously.

COP15-Britains-Prince-Cha-005To switch scenes from a governor who in California is best known for campaigning from Hummer dealerships and whose latest action for the environment was an attempt to overturn protections for collapsing salmon populations, it merits turning the page to an authentic ambassador for the environment.  The Guardian links to the full speech delivered today by the Prince of Wales. From the text: “… when it comes to the air we breathe and the water we drink, there are no national boundaries. We all depend on each other – and, crucially, on each other’s actions – for our weather, our food, our water and our energy. These are the ‘tectonic plates’ on which the peace and stability of the international community rest.”

This post has been updated.


One Response to “‘Charismatic megafauna’ arrive in Copenhagen”

  1. David Zetland
    December 15th, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

    Too bad the Prince is already committed to rule elsewhere 🙂

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