Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stalking Stuart, Technical Poop, and Frantic Interpreters

Dzien Dobry!

Hey, its David. So today has been pretty jam-packed and I have only been to 2 sessions so far!

But first I need to talk about Stuard Scott- former Junior College Professor from Honolulu, presenter for Al Gore's foundation, and man on an otherworldy mission to make the world a better place. We first witnessed him yesterday in the US press conference, and then in the women and climate change session. Later in the day a few of us were sitting in the restaurant taking a break, and what do you know, Stuart comes up to talk to us. So we learned a lot about him, and him about us, and we just keep running into him. It is very cool how making connections with people is so easy here becuase everyone who is here clearly cares about the environment- so theres always something to talk about! Anyway, his main point about doing cool stuff is just to shut up and do it- he actually resigned from his teaching position to come to the conference, and is currently in the midst of a huge life change- very cool. That, my friends, is Stuart.

So, today I have gone to two side events so far. The big sessions are very procedural and uninteresting becuase it is only the first day (financial institutions regarding the conference- no thank you), but the side events are super interesting and theres been a couple that Ive had to miss to go to other ones. The first one I went to was a bit over my head, but still very interesting- it was about the EDGAR (emissions database for global and atmospheric research) and how they do it and what they do with the information. One lady was talking about manure and the greenhouse gasses it emits for like 20 minutes, and I just thought it was funny that poop was presented as being so much more technical than I ever could have thought.

The second side event I went to today was WAY cool and I think it might be "my issue." It was about REDD (Reducing Emissions, Deforestation, and Degradation) and indigenous peoples. Basically, they were talking about how REDD does not take into account indigenous peoples in any way, shape, or form. REDD also only targets those who are currently deforesting- so the bad guys who are deforesting will actually profit from being a little less bad, so to speak. They also discussed indigenous land rights- a guy from Cameroon was talking about how native peoples were being removed from protected forests and not being compensated or allowed to live their sustainable life in the protected forest- so a huge indigenous land-rights battle has ensued within the discussion of REDD. And the interpreter- WOW- that lady was talking to people, texting, carrying things across the room, AND interpreting at the SAME TIME!!! How much training does that even require???

Tonight I am going to two more sessions. The first is about global imaging and climate change- a la google earth, which will probably be pretty cool. The second is a debate about nuclear power and climate change which will be followed by a reception (IE- free dinner).


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