Saving the whales...in the Czech Republic??
Trip Start Oct 15, 2007
17Trip End Dec 20, 2007
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Lisa arrives in Prague this evening, we reconnect, and when we finally find our new host's home, I'm back in the environmental groove again. Three people live here...one works for Greenpeace, one is an activist around car-free communities, and the third works for an NGO that keeps track of whether or not funds are spent in environmentally sound ways. My focus in traveling this year is to look at global envt'l sustainability and to interview activists who are contributing to envt'l welfare. I never realized it would be this simple to find so many networks of people who direct their energies towards this end. I'm looking forward to talking with each of these people, one Bulgarian, one Czech and one Hungarian(?), and learning more about what they do.
Well this household is impressively full of people taking action to reshape the world in an environmentally sound direction. I learn a bunch about the car-free cities movement...which I never knew existed...Justin fills me in on the global network of organizations whose actions are directed towards alternate transportation, towards reducing our dependence on cars and thereby reducing noise and air pollution as well as some of the stress in our lives caused by both. Desi tells me about working with the watchdog NGO that monitors the spending of various organizations including, for one, the World Bank. But she is on her way to a conference and so we move into her room in her absence.
I spend some time with Lenka, a Greenpeace activist-she is an action coordinator...and incredibly passionate about her work. I'm invited to visit the Greenpeace office and to help work on the banner they are constructing. On Monday, Dec 4, the international conference addressing Global Climate Change begins in Bali. It's a very big deal and all over the world activists are making statements in various forms. By the time you read this, the conference will be well underway and the actions will have already taken place. The plan here is enormous and I'm pretty much awed by it. It involves 10 people climbing a chimney (at a coal fired power plant) that's 300m high -that's about 1000 feet!!! - and hanging a banner that's 30m by 10m from it. And staying there for 4 days!!!!-- with food, tents, media equipment including computers and all that people need for 4 days. And then there's the ground crew that'll provide support and protection. The extremism of the act just blows my mind....the thought of climbing 300m up, in the dark, in the winter, carrying weighty stuff...I'm really awed by the passion and intensity of the people involved. And thrilled to be interacting with them, interviewing them, working by their side doing some small part to contribute to the banner.
A group of us head out in a van to this space outside of town which is large enough to paint a big banner in...right now the floor is completely occupied with the term CO2...that's how large the banner is....today we're painting STOP...and this group is really fun but very motivated to stay on task since Dec 4 is right around the corner. I've now met Greenpeace activists in Hungary and in the Czech Republic and I think they're doing some really good and important work....makes me want to see what we're up to in the states...