Travel Day

Greetings to the blog readers,

Today we travelled! I don’t travel very well, so I forgot a bunch of stuff and decided to paint my nails and take a shower instead of making sure everything was packed. Security at the airport took forever for me because instead of going through the line like everyone else, I talked to everyone around me, felt bad that everyone was late for their flights, and let everyone cut me in the line. Whereas the rest of the class got through security in 10 or 15 minutes, it took me over 50.

On the plus side, getting on the plane was a good experience because I met two people who do work in climate change policy while waiting in the line, one of whom is going to the UNFCCC! That person was my seatmate for the entire 9 hour flight, and he told me a bit about the work he does as an environmental lawyer fighting for, among other things, the rights of small island states in climate change discussions. Since I plan on doing my research on the economic impact of climate refugees from small island states, I was really happy to hear his perspective on what exactly should be done. Further, his perspective was one that I agree with as well: The countries emitting the CO2 that raises the average global surface temperature, thus raising sea levels that threaten the survival of these states, should be the ones to pay for the remittances to and relocation of the populations of small island states. He is going to be part of a panel for small island states, so maybe I’ll get a chance to see him again and learn more about joining in his mission at the UNFCCC. Maybe I’ll be him in 15 years, sitting next to a student going to a conference I’m speaking at as a negotiator on behalf of a marginalized community. Maybe I’ll be on the forefront of climate justice issues, passing on my experience to someone willing to soak it in.

On another note, I didn’t choose my seat on the flight like most other people in my class did (my mistake) so I ended up in a middle seat near the wings of the plane, next to people who take up all the armrest space and snore, with almost no leg room because the overhead bins were too full to take in my backpack. Despite that, I’m still so happy to be here on this trip since I’ve already learned so much (about how to travel, about small island states, about networking) and we haven’t even landed in Germany yet. I nervously anticipate what will happen in Germany, and hope that the class continues to be as good of an experience as it has been so far. No matter how it turns out, I’ll definitely learn some valuable life lessons and teachable moments to take home with me, and perhaps cherish forever.