Today was the launch of our “side events,” or briefings, that are conducted to inform COP15 attendees of our message.
Our message being that though it may seem that the last 8 years the U.S. has been absent in terms of climate change action – the truth is that at the state level bold action is being taken. Over 33 states have climate action plans or “blueprints” that lay out how exactly they plan to reduce their GHG emissions. The list of states that are fighting against climate change are diverse- from North Carolina to New Jersey to the Aloha state, action at the sub federal level is thriving. Our “briefings” are geared towards educating government officials, the business community and most importantly foreign governments. We want to convey that although it may appear that the U.S. has been asleep at the wheel, if you dig deeper you can see that many of our states are leading the charge against climate change.
The concept oft an “international” conferencefor me conjures up images of glamour-- gourmet dinners with high level diplomats, champagne, and caviar. TheJames Bond life, if you will. But the truth is what you find at a conference like this is hundreds or thousands of people working furiously and valiantly to get their message out and make a difference. That includes our team. So in an effort to get a crowd of people to learn about our message and attend our events for the last three hours I have been clicking away on the computer trying to create a flyer that would catch some attention– not an easy task when you are up against the world. Nonetheless I was determined and forged away on my computer.
After two hours my flyer was complete. But at 9pm at night in a foreign city with names of streets that I can’t yet even remotely pronounce I found myself pleading with the front desk for help. They said no problem - you can print your flyer from a business center computer and we will copy for you. Okay – accessing your email and printing a document on a foreign language computer for me was like trying to drive a stick shift. Frustrating, foreign and dangerous. Another hour goes by and jackpot – I have printed my attention grabbing precious flyer and alas the hotel staff is printing it for me. Tomorrow we will take it to the conference center and blanket the place with our message.
So now I sit in my room. A dinner of potato chips, French fries and nuts. It’s a glamorous life in this international conference world, but at the end of the day as I watch the news and hear about the groups fighting valiantly to stop climate change –well, I would not have had this day go any other way.