Friday, December 5, 2008

Peace out, Poznan!

Well, in a few minutes we will be leaving this conference centre, where we have spent so much of the past 5 days of our lives, forever.

This entire week has been such a whirlwind adventure of trying to get around this foreign country, explore, feed ourselves, learn and see as much as humanly possible, and communicate with native Polish speakers without being laughed at - TOO much, at least!

The most powerful thing I have seen this week was something I very nearly passed by. There is an amazing technology exhibit on site where all sorts of climate-saving innovations are displayed. Everything from solar power, biomass, transportation, wind power, adaptation projects - even a sustainable 'discotheque' - were displayed in an enormous room that took me about 2 1/2 hours over the span of two days to explore and completely absorb. There's a second adjoining room with booths from a university in Poznan, some environmental groups, and a few other exhibits with some pamphlets and representatives talking about their organizations. We were getting ready to leave to go to a Polish McDonald's (quite an adventure all in its own, I might add) when I started reading an enormously long poster - The Hard Rain Project.

The Hard Rain Project was started by Mark Edwards. I don't know the complete background of the project yet, but he basically took the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall' and matched each line to a corresponding photograph. The images (dead bodies, a bird covered in oil, women with AIDS, a shriveled up lake, a destroyed forest, etc) were incredibly powerful; I had never seen anything of that magnitude at this conference. For more information, see

I had the chance to explore the greater Poznan area today and yesterday, partially due to my own inability to go places without getting lost. We've been enjoying some good food, good wine, and are excited to have some good times tonight as we celebrate our last night in Poland! Our last conference 'hurrah' was a side event that only ended about 20 minutes ago. It was about how the US and Canada can meet the 25% by 2020 reduction goal for industrialized countries, and it was actually very hopeful. The speaker, who was from the Union of Concerned Scientists, gave a very interesting presentation and even popped a Bush joke at the beginning!

Well, I'm being rushed out of the computer room - in 12 hours we begin our epic journey home to Ithaca! See everyone soon!


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