Like a festival without the fun
Delegates from 182 countries are in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Sam fleet from Friends of the Earth Europe and also a member of the Young Friends of the Earth Europe movement (Young FoEE) is there.
The Young FoEE day began earlier than any would have liked, especially after the late night spent banner painting in preparation for Friday, but everyone was keen to get their first look inside Hotel Maritim where the climate talks were taking place.
After final rushed meetings in the bus and tram we arrived at the rather soulless area around the hotel, and after a brief stroll along the footpath, adjacent to a motorway, 35 of us congregated in the front entrance of the hotel for the first group shot. Young FoEE had arrived, and we were hard to miss.
After passing security it was like being thrown into a sea of suits, and as my first experience at this kind of event I was relieved to find that it wasn’t as scary as I’d expected. A rather small venue, considering the importance of the talks, and a disturbing number of smiling delegates… was this a reflection on the progress of the talks? Not if the FoEI delegation were to be believed.
The atmosphere inside the hotel was a surreal cross between music festival and boardroom meeting: all the freneticism, energy and legions of sleep-deprived people that you’d find in a festival, but with all the music and fun removed.
The hotel was full of surreal juxtapositions and the rhythm strangely hypnotic: I would later find myself signing off a press release for Friday’s action with a snoring delegate on the sofa opposite, a destitute polar bear below, and calls of “Fossil of the day” echoing through the corridors.
But, to work! The Young FoEE groups split again into three, and continued from yesterday’s sessions. Action locations were scoped out, and plans refined. Policy differences were ironed out and the media potential was explored. It was clear there remains plenty of room for the Young FoEE/FoEI message.