Disclaimer: this post is rather political.
Woke up to the devastating news about America’s newly elected president. At first, I thought it was a prank my friends had pulled on me, but when I found out the American public had really elected Donald J Trump, a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, privileged white man to be president, needless to say, I was very, very upset.
We had a quiet breakfast on the roof of the Riad as everyone tried to digest the news. We then walked over to the COP to begin day 3. We started our day off again at the RINGO meeting for the conference “Youth,” but I must admit we got there a little on the later end and didn’t get that much out of it. We sat in for a short period on a Chinese-affiliated lecture about the sustainability of bamboo forests but left to go to a US panel. The panel consisted of three main projects and speakers about sustainability initiatives in Washington DC, Santa Monica, and India, along with the health benefits these efforts would cultivate. However, the audience was told not to ask the speakers about the results of the election at all, and the subject was blatantly ignored. Even afterward I went to talk to one of the panelists, Elizabeth Beardsley, the Senior Policy Counselor of the US Green Building Council about how to get involve and exchange personal contacts, and when Emily asked her what she thought about Trump’s presidency a PR person came running in to stop her from answering.
We did run into many people who wanted to talk about it too, though. Before the panel, we met a man from New York who outwardly expressed his disappointment about the election and how the fact that Trump has clearly stated that he believes climate change is a hoax, will influence USA’s future climate policy. We talked to people from Canada that staged a demonstration for indigenous people all over the world who have been treated horribly i.e. Australia, Canada, and yours truly America. They were outraged by the results of the election and Trump altogether (they happened to be Bernie supporters hahaha). Also, at an art installation at the Green Zone, two French ladies asked about what they thought was going to happen to the States, and they were also upset. Overall, today I found myself questioning what has the world come to? How can we make choices based off of fear, ignorance, and hate?
In the Green Zone, we went back to and saw more of the art installations connected to climate change. I also listened to a fascinating talk/discussion about how climate change disproportionately affects women in the world, especially in African countries. In many African countries, women are responsible for the agricultural components of their society. They are the ones who go out to the forests and plant and harvest food. Due to climate change which brings extreme weather conditions, their agriculture is suffering. Though women play a vital role in the agricultural developments, they are not allowed say when it comes to government policy and or funding about protecting the environment.
Decided to cut today a little short, and left the conference at around 2:30 to make our way back to the hotel. Rested up a bit, then I ventured out to the Bahai Palace. The Palace was beautiful and had a photo exhibit that was created for the COP about pollution in Morocco, and was displayed in the large elegant hallways.
As the night comes to an end, I will share an MLK Jr. quote I received today from a mentor of mine:
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Time to make sure we keep the arc bending towards justice, and being here at the COP is a constant reminder that it’s the people who make a difference by coming together, speaking up, and taking action.