Friday, December 5, 2008

The End.

We're running out of time here, and I still feel like I have so many things left to do. I really wanted to go to McDonald's, just to say I've been to a foreign one. I suppose that can still happen, but the time is slipping away quickly. We went out for a team dinner last night though, and we basically took over a whole room in the restaurant, which was amazing. I'm not sure how sustainable our meal was; they gave us each about 4 glasses (perhaps more if we had coffee or tea at the end of the meal), several plates, and a couple sets of silverware. I guess someone just had a lot of dishes to do... The duck (a house specialty) was delicious, I mooched some off of Warren. Someone swears that they had just seen it out on the lake a few hours beforehand... And the tea that I got was organic, and it came in a biodegradable bag. At least something was environmentally-friendly.

In UN news, I just went to an amazing side event called "Growing Together in a Changing Climate-an intergenerational inquiry on climate solutions." There was a 13-person panel, each one was allotted five minutes (which the moderator admitted to having an obsession with) to speak about what their organizations were doing, etc. There were some people who represented youth delegations, some country representatives, and then there was Yvo de Boer--the executive secretary of the UNFCCC (which means he's very important). He was extremely intelligent and witty, and it was amazing to have the chance to hear him speak. The audience was mostly youths who wanted to learn how to better incorporate their beliefs into the actual UN negotiations. Yvo de Boer seemed very interested in what they had to say, what their concerns were, and he really encouraged us to take our messages home to our countries. Since he's such a busy man, he arrived to the meeting late, and left early. On his way out, he walked right next to me and David, and of course I had my camera out. I may have looked a bit creepy, but I wanted his picture. Besides, he had cameras flashing in his face the whole time he was talking, so why not another one? (These photographers also had the annoying tendancy to stand up and block everyone's views...) So as he was walking by, he looked right at me--or rather, the annoying camera in his face. Perhaps it's just the picture, but it looks like he's rather perturbed with me for having taken his picture.

As a side note, there are some amazing stories here: There were five Australian youths who, not wanting to create huge emissions by flying, traveled mostly on land. They took a short flight to Asia, then traveled by train, bus, anything else on land to get to Poznan. It took about five weeks or something like that, but they met many other youths along the way who share some of their same goals and ideas. Next year, they hope to bring thousands of these people that they met to COP 15 in Copenhagen. She made a valid point, that it is not just the wealthy people who should be represented. Many of these people live in poorer countries, and they cannot afford to make such a long journey. I'm not actually sure how they planned on financing this, but it sounds like an amazing idea. As she said, "Everybody deserves to be represented." The more voices that government leaders and policy makers hear about youths'concerns, the more incentive they will have to take these issues to heart. Change will not come easily or quickly, but with more people on board, especially the youths who will be the future policymakers, the greater the likelihood that these issues can be solved.

This has been an amazing experience, and I wish it could be longer. Unfortunately, we must return home soon and resume our "normal" lives. Homework, here we come.


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