Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday The Last

Well, I think my body has offically revolted to the trip to Poland. While the others were out having a communal dinner and celebrating Warren's birthday (happy birthday, Warren), I spent the evening nursing my stomach and watching an animal planet visual-documentary on monkeys in Thailand on mute. Despite my illness and lack of sleep, I'm forcing myself to reflect upon all that has happened this week and, to be honest, it is a bit overwhelming. As this course was my first (and unfortunately last) course in the environmental studies department, I spent a lot of my time at this conference playing catch-up with some of the common issues. After a week immersion in the politics of climate change, I feel much more educated on the points of debate, the foundations of policy and key topics with which organizations are concerned. Ultimately, I feel this conference has helped to better define some of my personal research interests that I plan to pursue in the future as well as create some new ones. Also, I've made a few contacts and collected my fair share of business cards ranging from activists and scientists and policy makers from Ithaca to Africa. If all else fails, I have the connections to work on a coffee farm in Uganda...

An interesting side event put on today by the UN secretariat discussed the intergenerational role in climate policy. The ideas presented concerned the voice (or lack thereof) of young people in these climate debates. It is important because young people are the most susceptible to the effects of climate change as well as the stakeholders of the future. A particularly interesting clash in ideals was when Anna Keenan (sp?) of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition refuted Michael _____?'s statement that the economy comes first and the environment should be incorporated into it by saying that the environment is the foundation for our economy and that it should be viewed as a solution to the economic crisis that we are in. The meeting was heavily attended by the youth representatives at the conference, but perhaps that is the problem. There were very interesting presentations by several youth panelists that were heard only by other youth. While Yvo de Boer attended and fielded questions from the audience, he didn't exactly seem to think the youth was good for anything other than "not wearing suits, and carrying banners." While I respect his position that policy is best left to the experienced policymakers, I also think that those policymakers could learn from the cooperation and overall companionship of the international youth at this conference.

I'm going to sign off a bit earlier than in my previous posts, I hope you (reader) have gained a little insight into what's been going on here at the UNFCCC.

Casey Wichman

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