You might wonder – So what did you learn?
Personally, what I liked most, was the ‘holistic’ approach about being as ‘green’ or sustainable as possible and implement sustainable solutions on all obvious (and not so obvious levels). So in a way I learned that sustainable practices can be implemented and are possible, even on big events!
“The Climate Reality Project is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our training events and leaving a positive social and environmental legacy for future events in the host city and at the host venue….[and] implement[ed] a sustainable events strategy in accordance with best practices in event sustainability using international recognized systems, such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM green meeting standards.”
To list some of the things that were done:
- First of all, the C02 Emmission of all participants for the duratin of their stay were calculated. Including our travels to and from the location. The Climate Reality Projects then made an accordingly high donation to offset all our C02 emmissions!
- The location of the event was carefully chosen. In this instance they choose a Maritim Hotel, because of it’s “ProUmwelt Environmental Guidelines“.
- We were provided with only vegetarian (and vegan) meals and snacks. This was to show non-vegetarian participants, that it really isn’t a big sacrifice (in taste or nutrition), to eat less meat. Or even to go completly vegetarian. This measure also reduced the overall C02 footprint. And informative cards on the table plainly told us how eating no meat helped save a great amount of water and energy. The produce also came from local and/or organic farms (as much as possible).
- Even water was served in glass jugs to reduce the use of plastic bottles.
- All participants were encouraged to stay at the hotel or use environmentally friendly options to travel to the location. (Using trams, bicycles or walking. As for me I chose the latter and walked the 20minutes to get there.) And to bring and use their own re-usable water bottles and mugs.
- Every participant received a (thick) booklet, printed on FSC labeled paper. According to the same booklet, it was produced locally by a FSC certified printing company and the lanyards were manufactured out of 100% recycled PET bottles.
- Leftover food was supposed to be donated to a local food bank, but I doubt that there was much leftover food to be donated. The above 600 participants and staff diminshed any food the hotel could produce in very little time. 😉
The booklet itself
Was a huge information source. The event strategically was timed to take place during a critical time for Germany. At the same time as we were educated, the German government had to made some important decisions about our “Energiewende”. Particularily about our coal phase out. So the German coal phase-out and the importance to set an good example for our neighbor countries, was an important topic. The booklet also listed information how climate change was impacting Germany itself.
It also included the whole set of slides, of Al Gore’s famous slide show. (Apparently famous, personally, ignorant of many things as I am I had never heard of it!)
For many participants, especially some of my new young friends, was to see and maybe even meet Al Gore himself. We all got to enjoy the above mentioned slide show twice. The first time, we were introduced to all the effects and consequences of, as well as causes and solutions to stop climate change in a long presentation. I still sincerely regret, having slept so little for about a week in preparation to my travels, that I felt quite drowsy during the presentation.
While I was fighting an almost jetlag like tiredness, Al Gore was demonstrating that climate change was no lie and really happened. But luckily, I was better rested the next day, when he was giving an example of how we could give the same presentation – reduced to the most imortant facts and thus much shorter and easier to share with an audience.
But that’s not all
Besides the presentation there were different scientists and individuals invited who were discussing different topics they specialized in. I understand that these topics will differ from event to event, so I’ll only share with you the ones that I found most interesting.
- Climate and Migration – how severe weather situations make areas or whole countries less inhabitable. Which in consequence triggers people to migrate/leave their homes in search for a better future. Meaning if the place would support their existence, they would less likely chose to migrate. So in a way they can be seen as ‘climate change victims’.
- Decarbonizing transportation – a hot topic! The whole room where the presentation was held burst with people, as so many people were wondering, how this hurdle could be overcome.
- A so called breakout session held by Jaime Nack covered (briefly) how we can shape our impact. And how we need to think of ways to bring sustainability into any kind of aspect of our world. I very much enjoyed this one. Though it was a shame there was so little time to go deeper! Jaime is also the president of ‘Three Squares Inc’. You can visit their page to learn more about how to create sustainable events, meetings, festivals or even communities, etc.!
Connecting with others or ‘networking’
This was definietely taken very seriously by some. For others it was more of a positive side-effect and nice too meet people with similar interests. But as networking is very important, there were many opportunities provided to ‘mix and mingle’ with other people than those in your group.
It was recommended to bring business cards for this purpose. But when I finally got my head around to do so, it was much too late to order them, so I ended up with a few home-printed cards that a gave out sparingly and only to people I wanted to stay in contact with.
Some of the people that most impressed me:
- Definitely the young girls (and boy) in my group who had just finished their Abitur and were very involved with WWF and passionate about environmental activism. I could not help compare these ambitious individuals with my own 18-19 year old self. What a difference! Our young generations definitely are the future and meeting people like them, gives me hope for our future <3
- The Estonian author, Kadri Kaarna, of the blog Terviklik Ringlus (‘A warm Circle’ – google translate). Talking to her was very inspiring: How she had in her ‘youth’ been very extremist/ passionate about living a minimalist (zero waste) lifestyle. Though the blog has been inactive for a year or so, it is not outdated. In it she shared all her experiences and principles, by which she still lives. Kadri by now has finished her environmental studies and works as Project and Marketing Manager for Cleantech ForEst. Thus she is still fighting for a better future and actually making an impact out there.
- JP, who also is into photography and videography. I had read this much in the description he provided about himself before the event. But had not taken the time to watch his works. Now that I have returned to a stable internet connection and my repaired laptop, I finally got to see some of his works. They are great and inspiring to me. I hope my video making skills will one day (soon) be up to scratch with his. I like his ‘narrative’ style quite a lot! He also had gotten the OK by our mentor Eva, to take shots at the event and create a memoire for our group out of it.
You can watch it below – I highly recommend it. The song is by our mentor Eva herself and very beautiful too. Enjoy!
Becoming a Climate Reality Leader – a journey to Berlin from skigh.tv. (© Jörn Paessler)