Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Copenhagen Yesterday!

Hello again cyber family! It’s been a while, huh? As in 7 months…no mind…well, it’s currently 5:40am here in Copenhagen and I awoke about 20 minutes ago plagued by thoughts of what could possibly transpire here over the next 2 weeks and I couldn’t help but write about it. As many of you know (I hope) today marks the beginning of the UN Climate Change Negotiations (referred to as COP 15 for Conference of Parties 15) taking place here in Copenhagen, Denmark. Over 190 countries will be represented and it’s estimated that around 40,000 observers will be attending the conference, both inside and outside of the actual negotiations. The negotiations are scheduled to last until December 18th though they will likely spill over into the weekend of the 19th. I will be here blogging and doing video updates (which the photo from above is from - our first one!) on what’s going on from my perspective and the perspective of the other US and international youth who are attending the conference.

The fact that I am here and will be inside the negotiations for the next 15 days is more surreal to me than I can possibly describe. What began as a whimsical idea in August quickly became a reality as I joined the COP 15 team within the Cascade Climate Network and made the decision that I would be here, no matter what it would take. Turns out it would take a few painstaking conference calls, a mad dash over the past 5 weeks to finish the term 10 days early (luckily I won’t know what my grades are until I return…), fundraising letters, and a whole heap of incredibly supportive professors, family and friends. I really can’t thank everyone enough for contributing to my efforts to get here.

As a city, Copenhagen is stunning so far. The Danes are some of the nicest Europeans that exist (and have a sense of humor that the French seem to have missed out on…), and they have a predilection for pickled fish, rye bread and alcohol, therefore we get along quite well. Their way of life just seems to make sense. Or at least it makes sense with the exception of the whole “go out at 12:30am and party til 6am” thing…I don’t quite get that, but give me a week or so – I’ll do some investigating and report back. The couple that’s hosting me is awesome – they’re both 30, he works for the Danish Ministry of Education and she works for an NGO that does energy efficiency work. They have a sweet apartment (in which literally everything is from Ikea, I shit you not) in the middle of the trendy ‘formally-red-light-district-but-still-kind-of-red-light-district-but-we-ignore-that-and-open-wine-bars-next-to-sex-shops’ neighborhood, so I feel right at home.

I need to briefly apologize for my writing, as it’s been months since I’ve written anything anyone has had to read with the exception of a few essays. I don’t doubt that my writing will be pretty rough over the next few days but hopefully I’ll get back into it (plus, knowing my father, he will be sending me edits to my blog posts, so that always helps). Though for those of you know who know how my blog has traditionally been it will likely be more like my mental diarrhea translated onto a blog. Awesome.

I will also be posting blogs and video updates to the Cascade Climate Network blog: www.cascadeclimate.org/cop15 so feel free to follow along there and pass my blog on to anyone who might be interested! One of my biggest goals with being here is to connect people at home with what’s going on at the negotiations and to convey how important the decisions being made here are. For all of the youth who are here (over 500 US and 1000 international), we are here out of our own desire to change the way things are working in our governments. The vast majority of us are not paid and are in school (my GPA suffers in solidarity! Viva!) and have made sacrifices to be here. I’m sure I’ll go on a rant about this all later, but for now, I’m going to go get myself ready for the madness…

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