I made it. The flight was incredibly long, though British Airways keeps you well fed and the food is good. However, I didn’t sleep at all on the flight – I never do on flights – so I am exhausted. And worse, they lost my luggage. As much as I like Ohio State sweats, I don’t want to wear them for days on end, and I’d really like a change of underwear.
I arrived at my hostel – St Christopher’s Inn, or for COP21, Place to B. They don’t officially start the COP21 event until 3pm, so I couldn’t get into the room until then. It is a typical hostel. I’m in the room with the least number of beds – four – but they are bunk beds and I am on top! I have to climb a tall ladder to get up there. This will be interesting – haven’t done that since age 12.
Inside P2B was a hub of activity this afternoon with staff trying to get ready for the conference, so I decide to go elsewhere for lunch. Just around the corner was a place billing itself as “The world’s best vegetarian Indian restaurant,” so I decided to stop there. That’s when I realized I’m not in Ohio anymore. The menu was in a mix of French and English but at least the dishes had names I recognized. I ordered mutter paneer only to find you had to order rice separately. You also have to ask for silverware and water separately. The wait people probably got tired of hearing from me.
I did sneak in a short nap after lunch and am hoping to get to a meeting with the Citizens Voice team. Meanwhile I’ve been catching up on email. I got signed up on several email lists from Climate Action Network, an umbrella organization for climate groups all over the world. The past few days people with CAN have been sending a constant stream of emails with information about events, briefings, badges, security, and who knows what. One of them even dug up an old sticker from the very first COP in 1995!
A reception at Place to B starts at 6 p.m., but I may have to go buy some toiletries and go back to bed instead. Between my last term paper and an overnight flight, I can barely keep my eyes open. Paris is 6 hours ahead of New York – and Ohio – so it will be like going to bed at noon the next day. The Bose noise canceling headphones we got may turn out to be a crucial investment, especially for people sensitive to noise as I am.
I did get to the reception. First was mixing and mingling, where I met the other Citizens Voice contributors. Things were very crowded so it was hard to do much beside say hi. Then the event started. First was a a visit by Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development, and Axelle Lemaire, French Deputy Minister for Digital Affairs. Then we spoke with two artists behind a project called the Bureau of Linguistical Reality. The idea was to coin new words to capture the concepts behind climate change, which is something humans have never faced before. Besides the fairly well-known “anthropocene” were words like “ennuipocalypse” and “gwilt.” Citizens Voice team member Jeremy Lent did interviews with both artists, now up on Youtube.