It’s sometime on the morning of November 19th, and I am on an airplane headed to Dubai on my way to Durban, South Africa for the Climate Negotiations. I feel very tired and my eyes hurt. I don’t believe I actually slept but the person next to me insists I did. Yet, I am very happy and excited to be here and I never thought I’d say that but I am enjoying being on a plane for 12 hours.
The last couple of months have been so hectic; I barely had the time to think about my own plans and goals, let alone about my plan for Durban. So having 12 or so hours with no internet feels like a huge relief, despite knowing that the actual work is not really going anywhere. Yet it felt good to just be here, listen to music, chat with my friend Malkolm (who is also going to Durban) and pretend to fall asleep occasionally. I even guessed the right time when we will hit the morning during the flight and it was 2:30 am EST, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and 4.5 hours after leaving Toronto.
The one thing that I actually got to think about is why I am on this plane and what I am hoping to achieve.
Basically, it all came back to the same idea, I had all along. I’ve previously given this some thought and established that this is an adventure for me and I am going to try to make the best out of it, regardless of the outcomes of the international negotiations.
I have very little influence over what is going to happen. In fact it’s probably already predetermined and a select few know exactly what they’re getting. However, there is one thing I can do and that is to share, explain and educate the people around me about climate change, the risks and the dynamics of these negotiations.
Regardless of the outcome this conference is of a chance for me to observe and learn more about the dynamics of international negotiations in general. It will allow me to watch the conflicting differences between governments and civil society, between governments themselves and between civil society participants.
So now, I have few days to relax in Dubai. I decided to keep my expectations for an effective post Kyoto agreement pretty low, regardless of the implications this would have (which is what I hope to be writing next). Instead, I decided to focus on the aspects that I can control even if it was limited to networking, fulfilling my role within my team, having good conversations and swimming in the Indian Ocean.