Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Climate Change Talks in Bangkok for COP15, inspired by green Copenhagen

While clicking around looking for inexpensive travel options for my husband to attend the COP15 Climate Change Treaty talks in Copenhagen this December I found an inspiring web video about the amazingly sustainable and healthful features of living in Copenhagen. See below.

"Amazingly" is not a bit of hyperbole compared to my own town and nearby ecological disaster area called Los Angeles. Nearly everyone seems to be riding bicycles in the main city of Copenhagen. Over 40% of Copenhageners ride to work and there are over 300 kilometers (186 miles) of bike lanes according to the video. The water ways running through the city are clean enough to swim in and water sports in it seem to be encouraged from the scenes of people frolicking in the water. Also, twenty-three percent of food consumed in Copenhagen is organic with a civic goal of 90% by 2015. Why can't we do that here in Southern California? Heck, we got much better weather for year round biking, water sports and a much longer growing season for organic veggies...How cool would it be if we could safely swim or kayak in the LA river and bike to work breathing fresh air and riding safely in a designated bicycle lane? Check out Denmark's green efforts in Copenhagen--it's possible:

The COP15 and follow-up United Nations climate treaty negotiations are trying to make more Copenhagens possible through financial incentives to go green. My husband may attend the COP15 United Nations Climate Control Treaty meeting Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen. He would be going as a volunteer mediator representative of Mediators Beyond Borders. Since he is volunteering and paying his own, as you can imagine, he is pretty committed to the environment and facilitating peace globally through encouraging mediation as a dispute resolution tool. Right now hubby is at the UNFCCC Climate Change Talks in Bangkok, Thailand as a volunteer with Mediators Beyond Borders. To read Mark Kirwin's field reports from Bangkok go to the 11th Hour Mediation blog.

An organization of journalists have even created a web site to track the climate control treaty negotiators called Some of these UNFCCC observers feel that the United States isn't taking enough responsibility for reducing carbon emissions and if the US keeps blaming China and India for polluting, that the US will end up stalling substantive progress on the talks in Bangkok. It's good to remember that the US did not sign the last climate control treaty, the Kyoto Protocol. And, after eight years of the Bush Administration, our reputation abroad on environmental and "play-well-with-others" matters has been seriously tarnished.

It has been fascinating to hear, second hand, about the daily negotiations over the text of the different elements of the treaty's specifications for reducing carbon emissions. The competing national, economic, humanitarian and environmental concerns and perspectives are interesting and, to me, sometimes, disheartening. The volunteer mediators at Mediators Beyond Borders certainly have their work cut out for them.

Read about Day 2 of the UNFCCC climate change treaty text negotiations in Bangkok >

Future graduate students take note:

The Danish gov't is awarding about $700,000 in 2-year climate masters degree scholarships at Danish Universities--in honor of the COP15 summit's green agenda and practices. Here's the link:

PS: Now the trick is, how does one get paid to do this good work????

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