First Person

Thao Nguyen: A funny thing happened on the way to Copenhagen

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thao_03Oxfam America supporter Thao Nguyen (of Thao with the Get Down Stay Down) is a San Francisco-based singer-songwriter. Her latest album “Know Better, Learn Faster” was released earlier this year.

I have never been to Copenhagen, but I heard it is pretty and the air is brisk and sometimes the city oh, I don’t know, hosts world leaders convening to discuss climate change and climate treaties for two weeks, starting today, December 7th.

Those of us who will not be in Copenhagen can still participate. Oxfam representatives will be in attendance and keeping us updated: go to the Oxfam America Climate Action Hub ( to find out more, discuss, and read testimonies from those all over the world who face the grave realities of climate change.

ALSO do you like action? Take some this week in time for the Dec. 12th Day of Action: Help raise awareness and support in your community for a climate treaty that will actually help people.

But back to Copenhagen: Directly below is roughly what I hope will not happen, and below that is what I and Oxfam hope will happen. Roughly.

World Leader 1: Hey, is it unseasonably warm here?

World Leader 2: Yeah, you know, now that you mention it, I am wearing less layers than i thought i would.

World Leader 1: Hm. Weird.



World Leader 1: You know, I and most of the nation I represent might not yet directly feel the incredibly threatening, compromising, life-altering affects of climate change, but we do recognize that the poorest communities of the world have bore and will continue to bear the brunt of climate change and lose their livelihoods, if not their lives, if we do not actively and urgently help them adapt and cope. If we remain inert, I fear my conscience (and the world economy) will eventually buckle (even more). We must do our part.

World Leader 2: (Loosening collar because the heat, in all its forms, is ON.) How?

World Leader 1: With money and compassion, and commitment to addressing the human toll of climate change. We must take long strides toward a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty.

World Leader 2: Oh, but I and my nation are already doing our part. We are agreeing to cut greenhouse emissions and seventeen of us have purchased tiiiiiny hybrid cars and stainless steel water bottles.

Chorus of Oxfam Supporters and other people who care about people, and I hope some other world leaders (alarmed): OH NO, NO! YOU and WE MUST DO MORE!

World Leader 2: Bewildered and back pedaling and fumbling due to the forces of compassionate human nature: Here is one of my nation’s wallets, please use these funds to support to the farmers in drought and the tenants in flood and the heavily over-burdened women that they and their families might continue to fight back against climate change. And here! Please use my stainless steel water bottle, over and over again, I will get another.


Thank you so much for reading all the way to the bottom.

In gratitude and camaraderie,

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