Around the edges of COP21

A quick update in photos from the last couple of days:

Blocks of ice from Greenland outside le Panthéon attracting lots of attention.

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Interesting initiatives being proposed and implemented by students at their universities around the world (International Alliance of Research Universities’ Global Climate Forum):

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Hearing from the UK Youth Climate Coalition about what they’re up to:

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Alternative by name, alternative by nature at Alterniba’s Global Village Alternatives event:

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A quick stop at a Parisian Christmas Market on the Champs Elysées…

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…and then into le Grand Palais for learning about businesses’ responses to tackle climate change:

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Arriving at the dedicated area for civil society this morning, Climate Generation Space, 100m away from where the negotiations are taking place:

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It was very interesting to hear about the advances that the aviation industry are making to reduce impacts on climate change.

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The Place to B near Gare du Nord has made itself an outside hub for COP21 delegates (& also do great veggie options which is not common in Paris!)

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London and Paris here I come

The international climate change talks (COP21) kick off this coming week, signalled by marches all over the world today and tomorrow. I’ve just been looking at photos of the mass movement in Wellington on the opposite side of the world, and linking up with people I know who are going to the one in London tomorrow.

I’ve been to a couple of climate marches before (both in London) and have always loved it because of the atmosphere. It has felt so positive and full of energy. I’m hoping this one will be no different. I can’t help worrying a bit with the recent attacks in paris a) putting some people off and b) changing the feel a bit. However, there’s no point worrying. We’ve just got to keep on with showing our governments how much support and call that there is for them to act for us all to achieve the ambitious agreement we need.

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I have spent a few evenings this week researching the civil society activities going on while I am in Paris between Friday 4th and Tuesday 8th December. I’m really excited having never been to a COP (Conference of the Parties) before. I decided I just couldn’t miss this one with it being so close to where I live and not having to fly to it. It will be great to learn about the different initiatives and efforts towards tackling climate change around the world, all within one city.

My Friday evening and Saturday in Paris will mostly involve helping at the International Alliance of Research Universities’ (IARU) Climate Forum. Students from the ten different institutions part of this network (including the University of Cambridge, where I’m working now) will present their ideas for improving the sustainability of their respective universities. The idea is to share ideas, challenges, lessons, meet each other and create greater mutual motivation to implement and achieve their ideas.

On Saturday evening I will go to the Pathway to Paris concert with singers and speakers including Thom Yorke, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Patti Smith and lots more which is pretty exciting. From then on I’ll be playing it by ear but have in mind the following list of events and exhibitions:

Earth to Paris event

The Global Village of climate-friendly alternatives

Climate Generation Areas (COP21’s official space for civil society)

If Not Us Then Who talks

Solutions COP21

Place to B events

Whatever is going on in the negotiating spaces, I’m hoping the focus on civil society will be inspiring, and allow me to share and meet with others and hear more about the various grassroots and non-governmental efforts towards climate change. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of those on here in the next couple of weeks!

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