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After 28 hours spent in cars, buses, trains and planes, I arrived in Copenhagen jet-lagged but eager to take in the global ambition that is the COP15 Climate Change Conference. After summoning the last of my energy reserves, I headed to explore the somewhat ballyhooed City Hall Square, in which various agencies and concerns have set up shop in temporary, eco-conscious buildings that very much resemble see-through versions of U.S. portable classrooms that glow green at night like giant scattered bricks of Kryptonite. Overhead, a massive Siemens-branded globe serves to remind visitors that we’re all here to save the earth. You know, in case we forget why we’ve traveled across that same earth to get here. The massive orb meshed oddly well with the HOPENHAGEN billboard depicting child bodybuilders that was sandwiched between McDonalds and Burger King advertisements.

It was against this entertaining, if a bit disconnected backdrop, that I explored the various green bricks on my search for Conservation at COP15. Here’s a hyper-condensed rundown of what I found instead: A gaggle of electric bicycles and scooters, a cute mini-windmill, recycled Xmas gifts, a hippie clothes swap, a super-cool-high-tech touch display by an NGO named something like ‘Novella’, a remote-controlled cargo boat, a room dedicated entirely to Hopenhagen trivia, and a detailed scale model of Jakarta.

Had I taken more time to enjoy the local delicacies on my stopover in Amsterdam, certainly all of this would have been far more…engrossing. As it was, I was tired and really just dying for some simple, honest-to-goodness Conservation. I suppose the clothing swap counts a bit, but what I’m after is some Conservation with teeth. Conservation with a bright smile that shouts, “Hey you people all gathered together to explore complex and politically-charged methodologies to reduce emissions! How about this novel approach: USE LESS. BUY LESS. DO MORE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. Stop already with this carbon trading/flipping/sharing/taxing nonsense. Enough with the green-tech holy grail Hail Mary passes. You’re just going to wear out your wallet and your passing arm. Instead, go retro! Conserve your way to a resilient future!” Yeah, I’m looking for that man. Or woman. Or crowd of men and women with strong, gleaming chompers unstained by the Kool Aid.

Tomorrow, I’ll be well rested and exploring the meat of the meetings at the Bella Centre. That’s where I’ll be listening to and meeting with local government representatives from around the world. I feel confident that it’s here that I’ll find what I’m looking for. With Obama on his way into town, and no doubt my number on his quick dial, I aim to find the most potent Conservation in town and keep it going until he gets here.

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Reader Comments

5 comments

Important recognition

From: Ann, Dec 15, 2009 03:54 PM

Hi Tod!

Thank you for your thoughtful post. Obviously, the hype has gone into capitalistic, consumer-driven overdrive, as these things tend to do.

You've offered a clear glimpse of the challenges facing defining a new world of sustainability.

Thanks for being there.

Blessings.

is it

From: michele, Dec 15, 2009 11:19 AM

the usual suspect?
the bizness as usual?
the paradigm as usual?

conservation

From: Bernie, Dec 14, 2009 07:11 PM

good goal; powering down also conserves; polluter pays; sustaining nature is paramount; climate change is just another sympton of the industrial age (bubble)

Keep 'em Coming...

From: Skinny Reds, Dec 14, 2009 07:07 PM

I like the mix of atmosphere and commentary. Good luck finding anyone interested in actual conservation. I am no expert in the field, but the idea of carbon credits always struck me as a half-assed approach to righting this ship. Like an alcoholic negotiating with his sponsor. (If I don't drink on Tuesday or Wednesday then maaaaybe...)

This is why blawgs are worthwhile.

From: Jelly, Dec 14, 2009 01:16 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience - great lens through which to view this event...

Jelly