Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday, the first full day of exploring the COP21, started as most mornings do lately..with a quick breakfast and an exploration with the Ambassador group about what we expected, hoped for, wanted to see and wanted to do. My policy on conferences is to begin at the beginning and get the lay of the land; with expected side trips and distractions included. On the downside of the morning, it was early .. too early with no sleep, but the upside of actually getting a latte ( tomorrow it is on to the patisserie ) was most comforting. I am remember, the coffee queen. We started out the adventure by taking the M2 to the Stalingrad station and then switching over to the M7 - the train to the final destination busses. I will tell you it was pretty exciting seeing the dignitaries, but even more exciting seeing the " everyman" ; the people that were there because they cared, because the planet and its health is important to them. As we rode the busses to the COP21 center, the crowds got bigger and bigger. No doubt about it, this is going to be a big conference. I am a  people watcher, the "everyman" that is the driving force behind the things that need to and the things that get done. As one of my cohorts and I were waiting for the rest of the group, I noticed two men coming through the columns of the country flags. They were so happy and smiling and laughing that I did truly feel compelled to go to them and tell them how much they had made me smile and in turn made my day a bit happier. We chatted for a few minutes and then introduced ourselves. It seems that my " everyman" , was the man. At least for the country of Mozambique. I mean one was President and the other was in the cabinet. Very nice men and truly the " everyman" at heart. We took pictures and swapped information and then parted our ways knowing that each of our days was a bit brighter. My quest to find the everyman continued through wonderful presentations by Laura Bishop ( VP of Public Affairs and Sustainability) on the great strides and contributions that Best Buy is making on the Climate Change influencing front and Penguins with a message on Climate Change and the impact on their icy world to the most "everyman" presentation of all. I went to the presentation on the Indigenous Peoples grant for land , especially forests. The panel group was comprised of representatives from : Peru, Indonesia, Brasil , Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burkina Faso. I was again moved as they spoke passionately about their land, forests, waters and disappearing ways of life. The forests in Indonesia that were harvested for wood and forced the " everyman" into farming without the joys of childhood in the forests; the trees and land that is disappearing in Peru
and Brasil; and other areas that provided everything of need for the "everyman". I am struggling with the idea that others cannot or will not see that these Indigenous People , these " everyman" are us as well. As we destroy that life style, we ultimately destroy our own. We are all the " everyman" and as such we all need to be a part of the solution. Each in our own way and with our own strength and passion behind it. I want to share as a closing with you two interviews that I conducted today with people much younger than I. They are passionate, they are driven and the are the " everyman" that will inspire the rest of us to take action.

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