Thursday 17 December 2009
This morning we set off to the University of Copenhagen to do our class presentations. It took a while to get there as the Metro was snowed in so we had to change metros a couple of times. Tom and a couple of others got really into the snowball fights! Poor Bella seemed miserable because she had a cold and we were out amongst the elements for a while!
You can take the protestors out of the Bella Centre but you can't take the protestors away from the Bella Centre!
Freezing on the metro platform!
We made it to the University of Copenhagen campus in Freidrisberg. There were a couple of students and a professor from the University of Copenhagen who sat in and listened to a couple of the presentations.
I was really excited to hear about everyone's different projects. I'd heard about what a couple of people were doing when speaking to them over the past week or so (and Bella, Jasmin, Meg and me had spoken at the end of most days about what we saw and experienced) but I hadn't heard about everyone's projects.
Climate change is such an enormous issue and you could study it for your whole life and still not know everything. As a result, everyone had very different topics which were all fascinating in their own way. I was surprised that there were three themes which quite a number of people focussed on: climate justice; NGOs; Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Although, upon reflection, these were three areas that were very prominent through the COP. The most vulnerable countries had quite a presence at the COP, there were so many NGOs that they got locked out of the COP in the second week and REDD was the "feel good" story of the COP.
I liked that the presentations were somewhat grouped together based on categories. As a result, we were able to hear about the complexity of each issue. For example, Laura, Luke and Shaun were all exploring different aspects of climate justice. Meg is looking at Indigenous rights (but not really REDD) whereas Rob is looking at Indigenous perspectives and REDD. Fern and Karen are both examining REDD while Phoebe and Alexei are looking at Environmental NGOs whose focus seemed to be REDD at this conference.
I really enjoyed hearing about topics I had no idea about. I had never heard of geoengineering prior to Anita's presentation. Likewise, I found Erik's topic on renewables and Farhad's topic on international aviation completely new. There were a couple of topics I wish I could have done! For example, Michael's topic on 350 – he looked at the 350 movement, the science behind 350, the effect of 350 (or lack thereof) on oceans, etc. I though Marcus gave an great speech and his topic had quite a bit of overlap with what I had originally set out to explore so it was interesting to hear about what might have been my project!
Nevertheless, after hearing all the presentations, I was still happy with my choice of topic. Everyone approached the course with very different goals – some really wanted to learn about the science, others wanted to connect with NGOs, others still wanted to learn about the negotiating process. I really wanted to connect with other youth from around the world. My topic was very conducive to achieving this goal.
Overall, I thought listening to the presentations was one of the most engaging aspects of the two weeks. It may sound odd because we have experienced so many amazing things. But reflection is really important and both listening to the other presentations and giving my presentation were very conducive to reflecting on the crazy two weeks. The sandwiches we had from the student run "Greenhouse Cafe" were also the best sandwiches I had ever had in my life.
Lunch break during the presentations. The University of Copenhagen generously hosted us.
Crazy Will goes stir crazy! I've enjoyed chatting to Will. He's become much more than just an adversary who always asks the hard questions to our guest lecturers in class. He was explaining to me the Greens policy of no compromise the other day. I've always been perplexed at why the Greens don't work with Labor for a stronger ETS but Will said that's not the point of the Greens. If they compromised, they wouldn't be the Greens anymore. They would become the Labor Party.
After the presentations, a group of us headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for drinks. I had a lovely chat with Laura and Anita, two people I hadn't really gotten to know previously. Erik was telling me about his Masters and his work. One thing I've really enjoyed about this course are the variety of people I've had the opportunity to engage with. I've never taken a course with such a diverse group of people from different backgrounds.
After the presentations, Karen gave us a great piece of advice to those of us who have never had a full time job. She said to do what we enjoy because you never know where that will lead you. It's something you hear quite frequently but hearing it from someone who has experienced it and someone I respect is much more meaningful.
But I digress – we went to some amazing steak house for the last supper before everyone dispersed around the globe. Anita and Kiri made a "Most likely list" (some of the ones I remember were):
Luke: Mr Tough guy
Shaun: Most likely to go to bed wearing his registration tag
Isabela: Most Bogan
Michael: Most unexpected hippie
Meg: Most likely to marry Desmond Tutu
Sarah: Most likely to find Nemo
Tom: Most Koala
Steph, Jo, Molly: Most under the radar
Jahla: Most awake
Michelle: Most asleep
Most likely to make Erik to sleep on the floor: Shannon, Grant, Farhad
Alexei: Man of the people
Sue-Lin/Phoebe: Most likely to get arrested
Joel: Mr Photographer
We headed out to karaoke after dinner and danced and sang into the night. I fell asleep on the metro home after two hectic weeks!