Day 2 of the long awaited COP17, well at least long awaited for myself as I (with the help of the team) have been organizing CSAG’s attendance since May. I must admit that I have been pleasantly SURPRISED, mostly due to the fact that I have learnt to be rather pessimistic. Logistically everything has gone very smoothly (despite officially been labeled Mark New by Mango Airlines). I am very impressed with Durban’s organization, hearing about all the horror stories of Copenhagen and been warned to “be prepared for anything”, all I can say is that I’m SURPRISED.
After personal conversations with visiting delegates, the main headline messages are that (and I quote): South Africa is by far doing the best job when it comes to Climate change; South Africa is “getting stuff done”; COP17 negotiations are just about counties stating “we need this, we expect that”, whilst in the meantime all disagreeing that they actually agree there is a need for change; It’s great that we are all trying to adapt at home, but what’s the point if “the big heads” can’t agree?. All in all, a large amount of “what is the point” (see previous blog). This does NOT SURPRISE me.
On a lighter note our stand is “The Best”. We have deceivingly (and knowingly) reeled the crowds in, gathering their attention by waving free sweets, pens and magnets. The SunJar competition also attracts a large amount of attention, adding to our growing email network.
Our team has developed a close relationship over the last two days, enjoying deep debates, sharing “puppy love time”, creating a Swingometer, helping to reverse the “CSAG taxi” out of a precarious driveway, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, and constantly failing to call Joseph by his real name (adding to the list of Joshua, Jeremiah, Jeremy, Jacob…)
The day concluded with a braai back at the BnB, where I (the youngest member of our team) was SURPRISED when requested by the team (like a child nervously not wanting to ask Mom for a sweet before dinner) to please ask the manager (who has wine stored in his office) if we could have/buy a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy before our meal. I politely replied “the worst he can say is NO”.
Overall, SURPRISINGLY successful. Personally, the highlight of the day was seeing Anna SURPRISED expression when I presented a candlelit birthday cake and the team broke out in song-HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNA!!!!