Monday, December 7, 2009

Hopenhagen and Climate Change

This weekend I visited Copenhagen and Lis Hemmingsen of the Danish School of Education. Of course, it was also the site for the upcoming World Conference on Climate Change. The airport was a place of a number of sites to meet delegates, as well as many varied posters and statements on issues of the climate. But, the inner city also was an amazing display of huge displays (lighted for viewing at night) with pictures and English phrases regarding aspects of the environment, such as a polar bear and the loss of ice in the Artic. There was a gigantic inflated globe of the world, display tents from various organizations, such as the World Wildlife Federation, and most curiously a huge ice carving of a polar bear. There were many posters with key leaders and the phrase that in the year of 2020 they could have made a decision to change the world climate situation at this conference. Did they want to be held accountable for the loss? It had an amazing impact upon me and I suspect others.
Of equal fascination were the displays from the city. There were also posters and displays on buses of the words... “Hopenhagen” This was a subtle, but clear concern that Copenhagen could be the place of hope for a better future for climate policy. It was fascinating to think about all of the 15,000 delegates to the conference, as well as the city of Copenhagen and its many tourists…all focused upon climate change and the future of the world. How do we learn and communicate our desires for this future? It may be a valued experience to host this type of conference (although there are concerns for protest riots and for the general chaos of huge numbers of individuals. Clearly Denmark was actively engaged in the dialogue with the conference. What would a USA city have done in these same circumstances?

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