jueves, 10 de diciembre de 2009

Relaxing day, at last!

Yesterday I had a day for myself. The week up to then had been very tiring... So I woke up at eleven and went with one of my hosts, Freia, to try to buy chorizo in the supermarket as I had promised everyone I would cool "lentejas" for the night.

We went into town with the bikes and I really enjoyed the ride as Copenhagen is such a bike-friendly city. And we stopped by the zoo! They actually have elephants here! Which came such as a surprise to me, as I would never expect that... Silly, as I knew there used to be lions in Europe... if you have a thick skin or a lot of hair, you can live anywhere! The elephants can be seen from the park that has the zoo, the only animal that can be seen for free! It was a nice view, it took me back to Africa for a few moments, elephants are such majestic creatures, big, slow, solemn...

Then we went to the supermarket and they only had organic chorizo (ho ho ho), and not that expensive as I thought it would be (especially for being organic), but thought I would find it cheaper in a supermarket near the place where I am staying. I didn't in the end, so I thought I'd cook vegetarian lentejas and remain in accordance with the philosophy of the conference :-)

They seemed to like them, although maybe they just wanted to show gratitude :S I think they were not bad... Then I gave them the chocolate I got in Brussels and the little lizard Gaudí-style :) I am having a lot of fun with these people... we are 6 in the house now, Emma from Australia and Niell from Canada who are together and then the Danish couple Freia and Andreas, and a friend of them, Marcus is sharing the living room with me at the moment, but he does not count as CoachSurfer I gues... All the Danish people speak Spanish, and Andreas and Marcus speak it perfectly... Andreas even has an Argentinian accent, and Marcus has no accent, so that makes it a very valuable Spanish I guess, although that's relative... I get along with all of them and I actually think I will miss them... I might ask to stay a little longer, as I am supposed to leave on Saturday... Marcus is now playing songs by Serrat! :D

Today the guys are making pizza and I made some salad :) Later on I am supposed to go a film with Rajenda Pachauri (Chair of the IPCC) in Klimaforum, but I'm not sure the pizza will be ready by then...

Yesterday was the best day lecture-wise so far... I wish I had known that lectures there are better than in the Bella Center earlier... By the way, Papua and New Guinea and Tuvalu seem to be somewhat blocking the negotiations, asking whenever they can the voting system to be changed... go them!

I attended a lecture about de-growth and transition towns, and found it quite exciting. This guy Tim Jackson works for the UK government and amazingly enough the government is interested in this kind of idea! This lecture is linked to the one I went to today. It was a lot more extensive and with another good contribution from a Swiss guy. I can actually say that today has been of the most productive days of my life. I have learned that since the world cannot cope with the consumption we are used to in the West, there will be a turning point. The world we know and are used to will not be like this not long from now. Peak oil is a point in mind. So we have to learn to live with less and our lives could actually be dramatically altered, as we will not have access to what we have today. Transport will be more expensive, also food, electricity, etc. The third speaker, a very old man who works for the Danish Institute of Technology, focused on work and in particular in less working hours. Apparently, Roosvelt through the New Deal tried the American workers to work from 40 to 30/hours a week, but the Congress did not pass the bill (surprise surprise). This would have had a dramatic effect in how we understand many things today. Keynes had predicted that we'd work less, but in fact we work more than our parents, and possibly earn relatively less. The guy had a final quote, because when people realized they could not have sex all the time, they invented work, "The sexiest proposal at COP15 will be to have to work less and work less".

But it all has a point. Increasingly since the 1960s the average American worker would like to work less and get income deducted. There would be more employment without the need of some much growth, and this is the key question. The American economy needs to grow at 2% to keep up with employment, and the whole system feeds on this. Companies and governments contribute to create a culture of consumerism to keep up with growth, and this is where we are.

Tim Jackson with the thought that one way out, maybe, which no one has thought or explored so far is to do with getting negative returns to investment (it has a word, but cannot find it in my notes), which means, getting less money when you invest, or, the opposite of the current system. But it has a point, because that means that there would be a higher social and environmental return to it, it's like destroying money but guaranteeing a better and sustainable society... I have lots of thought on this idea. It obviously needs a cultural shift, which will not happen any time soon! Other ideas came into the equation, like setting limits, knowing what we have and what we need as resources, because if something goes wrong, at least we can plan for it...

Ha ha ha... I have just received finally an e-mail from King's College!!! Everything happens for a reason... :D I have not been accepted in the Masters I applied for, but I have been offered an alternative! And I think today is the first time that this would be good news, because I have been clinching to the idea that this was a good thing to do, until today... :D I have checked the Masters programme again and actually the one I applied for does not make any sense at all... and the one I have been offered does! Not sure I want to do a Masters next year anyway... I have a lot to think :)

Pizza is ready! I have to leave this very intensive two days to come back later or tomorrow...

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