When negotiations don’t move forward, they somehow stop to be inspirational enough for me as a blogger. And above all: I don’t dare to bore you with yet another deadlock-report. Luckily enough, we also have some nice side-events here in Bangkok, among them being a “Vegetarian Educational Dinner”, a Field Trip to the countryside of Thailand and a “closed meeting with Yvo de Boer.
Starting on wednesday, I enjoyed some fabulous, but far too spicey vegetarian food in the 20th floor of the Prince Palace hotel. I originally intended to attend a meeting held by the World Bank, explaining their newest report on adaptation costs, but failed to find the room, when I was caught by six to seven (!!!) smiling waiters and waitresses that were more than eager to show me their Educational Party on Vegetarian Lifestyle and its importance for stopping Climate Change. And indeed, it seemed to be something I have so far forgotten on my personal Activists Agenda: The production of meat is indeed one of the major causes of Climate Change… the Landuse (deforrestation included), the Methane,… the transport of the Meat… all those factors are not deniable. And they wouldn’t give me a chance to deny anything either. While eating my vegetarian dinner, three lovely, but quite pushy ladies kept talking about how they found their way and got Vegetarian. I kept smiling while chewing, thought about it and made a video-interview with one of them that I still need to upload on YouTube :-)
Tonight, I will make yet another attempt and visit a Vegetarian Thai Restaurant for dinner, together with all my tracker friends. The reason, to be honest here, is not that I am an instant Vegetarian, but that this food is just much better than everything else I have tried here so far.
Well, things changed quickly in depth and style when we went on a field trip on Friday, visiting 3 different Thai rice farmers in the countryside, 3 hours away from Bangkok. I felt kind of helpless and stupid, sitting there with an all fancy HDD Camcorder, witnessing how Climate Change is affecting the lifes of those farmers, their families and probably thousands of other families alike – NOW, not 20 or 50 years from now.
One of them told us that he already is highly indebted, since he couldnt harvest as he used to during the last couple of years… and is now needing about 100.000 Bahrt (= 2000 Euros) to pay back his debt… but makes only 40.000 Bahrt in a good year. And there won’t be many good years to come, as even Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, told us in our closed meeting with him today:
“Even if we manage to limit Climate Change to about 2 degrees Celsius, it won’t help the rice farmer from Thailand. There will be no rice farming at all the way we used to know it with 2 degrees of global warming.” And Yvo most certainly knows that the nice little recycling waste bins at the UN Conference Center won’t make a big difference without the political will to take bigger steps forward…:-)
So, what’s the recipe to manage our own expectations and feelings regarding this fact?
Why don’t we ask the farmer, we thought. If there’s anyone who knows, he would… “You know, I keep hoping. I know I have no chance, but I keep hoping. Because without hope, life is meaningless.”
About the authorOle Seidenberg
Ole is a sociology graduate and blogger from Hamburg, Germany. Having worked as an intern for both the United Nations General Assembly in New York and a development NGO in Sierra Leone, Ole has witnessed both diplomatic meetings and their failure to achieve clearly visible and effective decisions.