By: Emma Kocik
The bells charm from my alarm and I quickly turn it off. I wish for a few more hours of sleep but my excitement for the day gets me out of bed. I eat a quick breakfast of yogurt and fruit from the local grocery store and proceed to get dressed and ready for the day. My fellow students and I head out for the day, hopping on the shuttle bus that takes us to COP.
We all arrive at the venue, go through security, scan our badges, and set out on our days. I split from the group to attend a talk at the Cryosphere Pavilion about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a topic quite relevant to my research topic on the COP coverage of science and policy in the cryosphere. After the talk finishes, I decide to wander around the pavilions, essentially enlarged booths ran by either specific nations or interest groups. I stopped inside the Indigenous People’s Pavilion, where a group of South American indigenous women were speaking about climate justice in their communities. I decided to opt out of the translator and utilize my rudimentary Spanish skills, which was a great decision because the talk became more emotional hearing the passion in their voices. During the talk, it just so happened that I looked to my right and saw U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry walk by, which was an exciting surprise.
The COP tires you out, and after a few hours I was ready for a break. I relaxed for a bit at the U.S. Pavilion, eating my snacks and chatting with those around me. The next event there happened to be a NASA Hyperwall Presentation, so I decided to stick around as I had heard good things. I got to see beautiful satellite images on a large screen and the visuals were interpreted by a scientist presenting. I was lucky to be sitting up front, so I was provided a free NASA book on nighttime satellite imagery. Next, I headed over to one of the main presentation rooms, where I met up with the rest of the ACS crew to watch the Gap Report, which essentially summarizes the successes and failures of the parties in achieving their 2030 climate goals. While it was tough hearing the shortcomings of the year, it was motivating to see U.S. emissions dropping in particular.
Part of the group and I decided to head over to the Green Zone for the afternoon. The Green Zone is the area of the COP open to the public and is filled with art to browse and many booths from industry, academia, and other sectors. We spent some time engaging with the booths as well as buying local artwork from some artisans. After, we walked through the Biosphere exhibit, which contained dark rooms filled with protections representing different biological systems on Earth. Finally, we grabbed a bite and headed out on the buses after a long day.
We arrive at our AirBnB. For the next couple of hours, we hung out and worked on updating various channels of social media. I am taking over the Instagram of my undergraduate college, Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science & Technology, this week, so I edited some photos of the day to publish. Finally, I planned out my schedule for the following day, and exhaustedly climbed in bed.