Monday, December 7 – Earth to Paris

Earth to Paris

Me at Earth to Paris

The highlight of today was the Earth to Paris conference.  Joe Robertson of Citizens Climate Lobby had told CCL volunteers about it a few weeks ago and asked that we attend if possible.  At the time, all registration was full, so I applied to attend as a member of the media, citing CCL’s Citizens Voice as my media outlet.  Last week I got a message that media spots were taken but I could register as a regular attendee, which I did immediately. Later I got the registration link from Place to B, which was good for about a day before registration closed again. So I was happy to get in.

Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall

Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall interviewed by Jeff Horowitz.

I had picked up my badge the day before, which helped with getting in. Still had to go through the security line though, which took awhile.  Finally I was in.  The conference had already started but was still on the welcoming speakers.

The lineup was pretty amazing. Announced speakers who I had heard of included:

  • Jane Goodall, UN messenger of peace, and Sylvia Earle, National Geographic explorer in residence, talking about forest and ocean degradation and conservation
  • Jerry Brown, governor of California, and Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen Climate, on political strides in California
  • Bill McKibben, founder of, and Emma Ruby Sachs of Avaaz, on the climate and environment movement
  • Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and founder of Photo Ark, giving a 10-minute version of the talk he gave at Ohio State last year
  • M Sanjayan, vice president of Conservation International who produced the Nature is Speaking videos. He will speak at Ohio State this spring.
  • Anthony Lake, president of UNICEF, and Angelique Kidjo, singer and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, on the effects of climate change on children
  • Gro Harlem Bruntland, former prime minister of Norway who invented the idea of sustainable development. She spoke at Ohio State this year.
  • Alec Baldwin, actor who presented the UNDP Equator Prize to Mayan leader Cristina Coc, who spoke at the Mershon Center last year.

Those were just the ones listed on the program. Late additions I didn’t know about before that day included UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and a 20-minute one-on-one interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Paris all week for the climate conference. I got photos and video and live-tweeted most of the event.

I didn’t know all of the speakers going in.  One who I didn’t know about was Dr. Laura Stachel, a doctor who started We Care Solar to bring solar suitcase lighting kits to hospitals in underdeveloped countries that had no electricity.  Simply having light during births, especially at night, cut maternal mortality by 70 percent.

The conference wasn’t over until 7 p.m., at which point I went back to the same restaurant as the night before, Le Bis Repetita.  It was just as good the second day as the first.  I had thought about getting in a swim that evening, but was too tired after the long day to do anything but go back to the hostel and fall into bed.