Welcome to COP 16

I am a member of the Yale Delegation at COP 16, but I am also a delegate with the Federated States of Micronesia. The conference officially opened this morning with a welcome session.

Prior to the welcome session I spoke with a woman from another delegation on the shuttle ride over to Moon Palace, one of the main meeting locations. She seemed apprehensive about what, if any outcome would be achieved during the Conference. I am hopeful, that there will be a positive outcome from the conference, but I also wasn’t in Copenhagen at COP 15. People are still talking about it, and it’s disheartening to see that many of them still aren’t happy about it. It seems that the trust amongst parties has taken a beating, which is why it was so nice to see a call to action during the welcoming ceremony.

One of the highlights from the Welcoming ceremony was Simona Gomez. Simona Gomez spoke on behalf of Mexico’s Indigenous Communities. Lopez spoke of the fact that in her community almost all women are potters, and sell their pottery. She talked about their realization of the need to conserve their natural resources and the steps that women in the community have taken to do so, including working with the government to take steps toward reforestation, and procuring eight environmentally friendly kilns that they now use to fire their pottery. The kilns have not only created better working conditions for the women, but have also resulted in improved quality of the product that the women sell. The women’s efforts are having positive effects on neighboring communities. Simona Gomez ended with a plea for all governments to continue, “hearing the owners of indigenous resources, indigenous people, and the women of those peoples.” Simona Gomez spoke of the need to make sure that others are not suffering from floods and periods of drought.

Later in the welcoming ceremony there was a stirring video that showcased the biodiversity of Mexico. The actors in the video were children that were urging people to remember their youth, their hopes, and their dreams. The video was a call to action from the children of Mexico to do something to preserve not only the biodiversity of Mexico, but also the biodiversity of the planet.

During the course of the welcoming ceremony we also heard from Dr. Pachuri, who reminded us of the perils of inaction, and his Excellency, President Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa, the current President of Mexico who urged us to not give up our ambitions.

I thought it was a great way to start the day, and it inspired me, to not only want to change my corner of the community, but also it inspired me with the desire to change the world. We’ll see what happens here in Cancun.