Too Much to See, Too Much to Hear

Late last night we all attended the opening reception of COP. It was filled with festivities such as singing and lots of dancing. A Fijian police band played some traditional music while men dressed in traditional clothing danced along. Then, the Prime Minister of Fiji came out and gave a speech to the audience. When it was all finished, we were desperate for dinner and ended up stumbling across another amazing restaurant with a variety of Asian foods.

This morning was a little stressful since I went to go charge my camera and realized I had forgotten my camera charger back in Minnesota. Fortunately, there was a camera store within a couple of blocks of us, and they happened to have one charger left.

Getting off the subway this morning, there happened to be a pretty large protest going on. All the signs were in German so we didn’t stay long, but it still made for some good photos. Once I made it to COP, I rushed to the first discussion that I wanted to attend. It was a diverse panel from many different sectors of many people across the globe. The topic was ambition and equity in the Paris Agreement. The common idea between all of the panelists was that all nations must work hard to restart the discussion of equity. One of the panelists showed a model of various countries and where they are in meeting their established goals of the Paris Agreement. India, China, and many developing countries are far past where they need to be, and unsurprisingly the E.U. and U.S. are far behind. The panelist hoped to increase transparency with the general public and to put pressure on nations to stay on track. Another common theme between all of the panelists was that every country can do more and that everything can go full circle.

For most developed countries to fulfill their fair share of the deal, they need to do far more than simply be carbon neutral. Instead of using dangerous technologies to go carbon negative, they must instead finance developing countries to reach and maintain their goals so they can develop with already financed sustainable resources. As the developing countries grow, the world must begin to help financially while also finding ways for developed countries maintain their fair share. In short, it could be similar to an investment for developed countries.

Today I also heard from several members of the indigenous group Sarayaku, located in the Amazon of Ecuador. In the early 2000’s, they were under attack from an Argentinian oil company who bought land in their territory to drill for oil. They started to plant explosives to begin digging the mines. When the Sarayaku tried to protest, violence broke out. The Ecuadorian police did nothing to stop it, nor did the courts. The Sarayaku then took it to international court and won the case. Ecuador was forced to take back everything it did, but this did not happen. Today, there are still explosives in the ground. Ecuador has recently illegally sold this land to a Chinese oil company to drill, which is going to make it harder and harder for them to fulfill their commitment to the Paris Agreement.

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