Monday, December 7, 2009

An intro to COP 15..

After a one and a half hour drive to Boston, a seven hour flight to Great Britain , twelve hours outside the London-Heathrow airport terminal, and a two hour flight to Copenhagen, I can gladly say that I arrived at my destination unscathed (although more than a bit jet lagged).

My first night in Copenhagen I was brought to a University "Friday Bar". The "Friday Bar" is a makeshift club with an amateur D.J, some strobe lights, and plenty of cheap beer (cheap in Copenhagen being around 5 to 6 dollars a pint!). This "Friday Bar" also happened to have a theme, one which might make national news back home in the U.S. The theme was "A Negro Christm
as," much like David Sedaris was shocked (and humored) by the Dutch Christmas tradition he writes about in "Six to Eight Black Men" so was I somewhat appalled and entertained by the scores of Danish youth wearing Santa caps with faces painted black.

It took me until Sunday evening, stupidly, to head towards the Bella Center, the site of the 15th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 15) to register and receive my access pass. Two hours later, after five different lines (one to get into the gates of the center, another to get to the security and metal detectors, a third to register, a fourth to have my picture taken and receive my badge, and a fifth to get a transport pass!) I was heading back to the mattress on the floor of my Danish friend's apartment. At least I was in the company of a very nice German woman and an equally pleasant researcher from Colorado throughout the Bella Center visit. Long waits are most tolerable when there are friends to commiserate with.

So the conference opens... familiar sounds, sights, and smells. Oh the nostalgia as Green Peace activists make me choose to enter through one of two inflatable red and green plastic gates labelled accordingly "Global Warming" and "Vote Earth". I choose the latter.
Plenaries, opening ceremonies, artistic short films of children in the future dealing with climactic uncertainty, talking, talking, talking. We must do this, we must do that. I feel frustrated by this venue for environmentalism.

Photo 1: The Green Peace inflatable gates
Photo 2: Sleeping during the opening ceremonies of the conference

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