Saturday, December 5, 2009

Goodbyes, A Bit of Sightseeing and Conclusions

After a hectic week where we’d usually get to City Hall by 8:30 AM and leave as late as 11 PM, we had some time today to relax and visit the beautiful city of Copenhagen. However, our respite was tempered by the fact that we had to say goodbye to all delegates and Danish schoolchildren. We’ve grown so close to everyone in the past few days that it was very hard giving last minute hugs as we promised to stay in touch.

We took off in the brisk Copenhagen air to take a look at its museum, Tivoli, and just walk around the cobblestone streets. The museum actually had a great climate exhibit that depicted the plight of Greenland, Alaska, and other regions. It’s amazing to see how much Copenhagen supports being environmentally friendly. Its famous design museum has numerous exhibits on art that protects our world, including reusing plastic water bottles in bags or sculptures. After a late dinner, we retreated back to the hostel to contemplate the events of the past week.

The presentation of the Declaration yesterday served to mark what we’ve already done, but our discussions and plans to form a network of ‘Climate Ambassadors’ around the world serves as the next step. Without a doubt, we will be able to increase action to combat climate change if we work together—and the infrastructure is already in place. Out of all that I’ve learned from the CCF, the connections I’ve made with the amazingly inspirational and dedicated other delegates have been the most important to me. Many are like Natasha of Sweden, who is working for her government and is extremely politically active. Others are like the klimaklasse from Guldberg, who are studying climate change and helping out other students.

Becca mentioned that we had a Q+A session yesterday. Something interesting that I noticed was that the vast majority of questions asked by the youth delegates from all over the world were about the US inaction in the realm of climate change. Why would such a powerful country not change its policies? Why was its president only staying for the beginning? As an American, it was hard for me to hear these questions—precisely because they were the same ones that I was thinking. In fact, Josh even admitted that he was embarrassed that his country hadn’t committed to solid action.

This morning, we saw on the news that President Obama will be attending the later portion of the COP15, when key discussions will be taking place. This may be just one step forward in the US path toward cutting carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, but it is an important one. Now we just have to continue walking.


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