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Fossil Awards Hold No Meaning to Politicians

12 Dec

Moments ago Alice, Sylvie, Sarah and I came out of a meeting with Michael Martin. These meetings are held every morning at 8 so the government can learn the issues weighing on the minds of Canadians, especially those attending COP15. This morning I mustered the courage to ask one of my own questions. I asked Mr. Martin how he felt about Canada’s continual winnings this week in the Fossil Awards. Canada has won every day but Thursday. Outlined below is our scoreboard for this week:

  • Monday: First place (since we are apart of Annex 1) and third place
  • Tuesday: Second place (we are apart of the Umbrella Group)
  • Wednesday: First place
  • Thursday: We escaped the podium!
  • Friday: Canada wins first AND second place (had to make up for lost time on Thursday somehow…)

For those reading this who don’t know what the Fossil of the Day Award is, it’s three awards given to countries or  group of countries who have performed poorly and have obstructed progress in negotiations.

So this morning when I asked our chief negotioator how he felt about Canada’s continual (and by now expected) winnings, as well as the comments made by the mayor of Toronto, Mr. David Miller, who accepted the Fossil Award yesterday for Canada, Mr. Martin replied saying that he had not yet read David Miller’s comments and that these awards are satirical awards which can be voted on by anyone and though he respects the freedom of speech the process has, he does not agree with the awards.

Well that’s all nice and dandy, but I was kind of looking for something more along the lines of ‘this is embarassing and we are going to do more to avoid the podium’. Of course I’m a fool for hoping such a thing, since I no longer have any faith in Canada holding its own at this conference, or really do anything in general. I don’t think Mr. Martin really understands just how embarassed Canadians, especially the youth here at COP15 are to say they are Canadian. Yesterday morning for example as we walked out of the the morning meeting, Canadian youth were shaking their heads in disappointed and slumping into chairs, burying their heads into their hands.

If Canada doesn’t speak up at this conference soon, our country will continue to be an embarassment and disappointment on an international level. Tonight at 6pm when the Fossil of the Day Award is handed out, myself and everyone else here from UW will be surprised if Canada is not on the podium.

If you are interested in the Fossil of the Day Award, you are in luck! Check out the website at http://www.fossiloftheday.com/. The website has written material and video of the awards, so if you need a break fom studying I suggest you check it out.

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Orange in a Sea of Black

11 Dec

Today in the Bella Center youth are unmistakable. YuFuGe Day, or rather Young and Future Generations Day, has been marked in the Bella Centre by a sea of extremely bright orange shirts worn by youth. The shirts, which read “How old will you be in 2050?” on the front and “[Don’t bracket our future]” on the back are strengthening the point that climate change is not just an issue for adults in spiffy suits.  Youth are taking a stand and being a voice to show their concern for what is going on and to put pressure on decision makers at this conference. Today several activities were set up by youth and for youth on many topics, one being intergenerational equity (http://unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/the-youth-generation-yufuge-day/, this is a copy of what I read today here at the Bella Center). Yet youth are not only being active on YuFuGe Day, but protests involving both youth and adults are seen inside and outside the Bella Center daily. If you have been keeping up with our Facebook page you may have noticed some of our own UWSP delegation members participating in protests as well (nonviolent, of course).

I can’t say I wear the colour orange well, but I  have to admit that the shirts have been very effective. In 2050, I will be 59  years old, and many of the decision makers here at COP15 will no longer be around. The youth of today are as concerned as adults about climate change, and these vibrant orange shirts we are all decked out in only prove the point that these decisions will be affecting our generation.

Tyler and Sylvie with the orange YuFuGe Day shirts.

Can you say “bike”?

8 Dec

So as you can probably tell, I’m not very creative when it comes to making a title for a blog, but nonetheless, I bring you my very first blog. Here in Copenhagen, it is not unusual to see a bike on the road, even in the rain or frigid cold. Here bikers have their very own lanes, with  left/right turning lanes and stop lights as well. It is also common to see bikers talking on their cell phones while biking, which is especially surprising since Canada has just banned driving with handheld devices. So I would like to take a look at some Danish statistics and facts.

According to Copenhagen’s Bicycle Account of 2008 (http://www.sfbike.org/download/copenhagen/bicycle_account_2008.pdf), the number of cyclists who were seriously injured in 2008 stood at 121 individuals, though the causes were not specified. To put this into perspective, 1 casualty occurs for every 3.2 million cycled kilometres.Copenhagen hopes to reduce the casualty rates to a maximum of 59 individuals by 2015.

Some facts:

  • Bikers can take their bike onto the train with them, furthermore reducing the need of personal cars.
  • 37% of all those studying or working in Copenhagen cycle.
  • 55% of Copenhageners cycle to work or education on a daily basis
  • 89% use their bike for shopping,  recreation, and other spare time activites
  • Cyclists move at a speed of 15-16km/h, whereas cars in Copenhagen move at approximately 27km/h
  • 18% of transport takes place on bikes in Denmark and  27% takes place in Holland,compared to 1% in the United States

Copenhagen also has green cycle routes, which are routes that avoid large traffic areas and travel through parks and waterfront areas. These can be used for cycling, walking, and other recreational activities. Currently, there are 40km of green routes which have been established, and in the coming years more routes will be made, totalling 110km of green routes (www.kk.dk).

Denmark, especially the city of Copenhagen, has taken many great initiatives, such as green routes, bike lanes, storage areas and so on to ease the transition from car to bike. Countries all over the world should be looking to Denmark, and of course Holland, to see the success and advantages of what cycling can bring to not only a better environment from reduced emissions, but also better health and satisfaction.

(www.askmen.com)