The Start of the Adventure

I had grand plans for the first day in my new office at Friends of the Earth Europe in Brussels, that involved a pair of purple tights and a dozen pre-constructed intelligent sentences on current eco-politics. Intelligent comments? Forget it. I could barely contain my excitement never mind trying to be bright. “I am the new Intern at the Economic Justice Team at Friends of the Earth Europe,” that is quite a mouthful, but leaves me with a sweet and fuzzy feeling.

The first few days were spent getting through the nitty-gritty details and mastering the art of settling into a new life in a new place surrounded by new faces. Excellent, that is what I call ‘blank canvas’, that invites you to mess it up in your own and unique style.

I left Friends of the Earth Scotland sadly but with many great memories. Their friendly office set the bar rather high and the work was exciting and stimulating. Will the new place live up to my expectations? The last set of vocabulary I used with Friends of the Earth Scotland was: tar sand, banks, RBS, investment, environmental justice, and ring-doughnuts. Now all I hear is: OCED, FQD, GAAM, ECCJ. Have I packed my English-Eurocrat, Eurocrat-English dictionaries?

In fact, it is not only alien talk but also a million new faces and names to remember. But there are things that don’t change. RBS are part of a Europe-wide disgrace due to the fact that they managed to headhunt ex-commissioners to join their payroll.

Mr. Ex-EU-Commissioner has decided to march right into a well paid private sector job, without the slightest consideration of the, so called, cooling off period. Now, when an Ex-Brussels-Fat-Cat decides to get on the Yellow Brick Road to the private sector and a bigger pay-check, those familiar letters will feature…RBS.

That familiarity made me feel right at home, Brussels or Edinburgh, the actors and the description hardly changed. Lack of transparency, destructive decision making and the rule of capitalist bureaucracy.

Meetings, briefings and planning; morning, noon and late at night, Brussels never sleeps and nor do we! The Friends of the Earth are busy working away, working towards a better tomorrow. Transparency, financial regulations, fossil fuel industries, European Action Day (10 November 2010!), environmental, corporate and economic justice. Like the flea market of campaigning. All for a good cause, the best cause: a fairer and just society.

But I am happy to jump on the first opportunity to take one of our campaigns on a road show and head up north, to Bonnie Ecosse on behalf of the Corporate Justice team and their partners, the European Coalition for Climate Justice .

It was my pleasure and an honour to present the so-owe.org online exhibition to the International Conference for the National Human Rights Institutions, organized by the Scottish Human Rights Commission. The event that took place from 7 to 10 October 2010 in the Scottish Parliament and, in spite of all the challenges, was a mega-experience!

It was oddly ironic, having lived in Scotland for so long, that my first ever trip to the Parliament was in my suit holding onto my presentation notes and my passport, ready to leave again.

Without a shadow of a doubt, my first month in Brussels, was very exciting. I got caught in the

bloodstream of Europe instantly, a bit addictive too. Information floods your mind and you cannot get enough!

No doubt, I will have plenty of stories to share and I will do my best to keep you posted on the adventure.

(This post was written by

Melinda Denes)