Our second day at the COP is coming to an end. I have seen and heard so many things in the past days that it is about time to write some of it down before I forget!
Yesterday was the big discovery day. It took us quite some time to find out what events could be interesting for us and which ones we could or could not attend. It is unbelievable to see how many topics are related to climate change: food security, renewable energy, indigenous territories, carbon billionaires, gender, finances, farmers and NGOs … Besides, the building is so big! We have to keep in mind to get ready for an event on time, since we sometimes have a ten minute walk to the other side of the center. The good side of this is that we are staying fit 😉
At noon we met Nic Balthazar, who is a famous Flemish film director but who since a couple of years is also involved in climate and climate change awareness in Belgium. This year, the action Sing For The Climate (SFTC) was a great success: more than 80 000 people gathered in their own village or city to sing the song “Do it now”. A music clip of this event was sent to politicians to put pressure on them and to make clear they have got to take more ambitious climate measures on local and national level. This singing manifestation is a fun and easy way to mobilize people and to give them a ‘voice’.
Since SFTC is such a big success in Belgium, Nic hopes this action can be launched in more countries. On Wednesday (tomorrow [actually today, by the time this gets online…]), he has planned a side event to talk about SFTC and to explain how it works and how it can be launched in other countries. We have been talking to people from several NGOs, trying to explain the concept and invite them to the SFTC side event. Some of them were very enthusiastic about this action. Let’s hope in a couple of years people will be singing for the climate all over the continents!
If you want to check out the music clip, click on this link. We’ll keep you posted on further SFTC-news.
Today (Tuesday) was another interesting day. Not only did we attend a couple of interesting events, we also saw Ban Ki-Moon and Christiana Figueres walking only several meters away from us! Yes, we were pretty excited about this!
The first event I attended today was about food security. At the end of the century, there will be around 9 billion people on this planet (at this moment there’s 7 billion people). This means there will be a higher demand for food and for better food quality as well. We have to adapt and build more resilient food systems to respond to this higher demand. Also, we have to decrease emissions at the lowest security cost to assure food security. It is a very interesting topic, and I’m sure the speakers could have talked about it for hours and hours but unfortunately they had only 30minutes for their presentation… Indeed, there’s a very tight time-schedule they have to respect. Too bad!
Another interesting event was on 100% renewable energy. There was a panel of six speakers from different organizations who all gave some examples of cities or countries that use renewable energy. Did you know Iceland for example has a 100% renewable electricity system? 74% of the electricity comes from hydro-power and 26% from geothermal power. And Drake Landing (in Canada) is a more than 90% solar fraction community. They have reduced their greenhouse gasses (GHG)-emission by 5 tons per home per year! There are a lot more cities or projects all over the world (going from Denmark over Senegal to Austria) that prove that it is absolutely possible to make a community rely (mostly) on renewable energy. The rest of the world should really take example of these places!
At the end of the day we attended the Momentum For Change event. At first, Christiana Figueres, who is the executive secretary from the UNFCCC, presented nine projects in the world that address climate change. These nine projects were chosen amongst many, many others, and were rewarded tonight because of the level of influence and success they had. Examples of the projects were: the use of electrical vehicles in Sri Lanka instead of CNG’s, turning green waste into compost in Nepal, spreading easy water purification systems in Kenya, etc. It was pretty interesting. Ban Ki-Moon also gave a short speech, saying that each modest, small yet creative action in whatever part of the world can help to address climate change together. One of the award-winners used this quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. I think this quote shows exactly what we need to do: work all together for a sustainable and safe future for everyone. The event ended with a concert and a quite impressive light show.
We ended the day with a very nice Indian meal, close to our hostel. We decided to go back tomorrow morning for breakfast! This means it is time for me to go to bed.