The Skywriter

Inside Cancun's Moon Palace (VIDEO)

7
Dec

Inside Cancun's Moon Palace (VIDEO)

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Moon Palace, where the UN climate negotiations are taking place, looks just like what it sounds like: a sunny college campus meets Hilton Head golf club resort. Amidst somewhat bewildering lawn sculptures and manicured palm trees, high-level negotiators trek between palatial buildings with names like "Maya" and "Aztec." Not once but twice did I see the U.S. lead climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing, marked by his distinctive beard, shuffling between meetings, carrying his worn-down red canvass bag. Alongside negotiators, members of civil society organizations toggle between observing negotiations, picnicking on the vast estate lawns, and holding side events. It is truly remarkable how peaceful the talks appear; almost as though we are merely here to attend a lecture or two, and then go home to study up for a test.

Little at Moon Palace belies the anxiety that many feel about the outcomes of these Cancun talks. And yet, the peaceful setting does embody some of the contrasts between Cancun and Copenhagen, where tens of thousands of civil society representatives waiting outside the Bella Center in the freezing December rain, shut out of important conversations. Today I had the good fortune to sit in on a wonderful dialogue about the global youth climate movement, facilitated by Jeremy Osborn of 350.org. Together with nearly a dozen youth leaders from around the world, we discussed what these talks represent, and how to move the ball forward together as a united front. Below is a video of Anna Collins, a member of the UK youth climate movement, discussing her hopes for Cancun:

Particularly amongst youth, the desire to get on the right path here in a peaceful and sustainable way feels within reach. And from the jolly banter between the Jordan negotiating delegation and GCCA youth negotiator bird-doggers on the bus ride back from the Moon Palace, it does seem like a slow crescendo toward action might just happen.

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