Friday, December 5, 2008

Environmental Justice

So much has happened since my last blog, and I am not going to attempt to write about everything right now, but let's just say pretty much every side event I have attended has been at least semi-interesting. It's too bad I am always sleeping in the morning here, and awake as we take the tram home or to dinner.

On Tuesday, in the technology building, there was a ton of really innovative exhibits; solar panels, a model of a carbon-neutral city, and some high-tech cars. Something that really struck me though was an art installation- a field of flowers that tick back and forth. They have a solar cell on the base and charge from any light- so if you pick it up and it stops moving, it will start slowly and gain momentum once you place it on the ground again. At first, I avoided eye-contact with the woman who came towards me as I was trying to figure out the significance of 200 of these, but I'm glad I talked to her. She was from this organization in Belgium and represents these artists who make art (these flowers, in this case) that is sold (the equivalent of $13 US) and funds solar energy projects in developing countries. She gave me a pamphlet and some of the projects looked pretty interesting, and a lot was being done in schools. I really liked this exhibit because I did not fall asleep and also because it combines all of my interests: sociology, art, and the environment. There are several components to this conference that mostly have to do with equity in agreements, Least Developed Countries, etc. but none of these include art as a mode of promoting sustainable development. When I get home, after sleeping for 3 days, I am going to try to find an organization like this in the US and might try to contact them...

Patrick said it best, that since JFK my brain has been mush (moosh?). There has been a constant flow of information, between the conference itself and the culture; it's overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Every day has felt like Thursday and now that it has actually passed, and the week is over, I'm not really to leave. Even though I'm overloaded, there are so many sessions I want to attend today, I'm going to end up pushing myself to the limit. The next two weeks of school are going to be tough.


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