Saturday, November 19, 2016

Finishing touch of COP 22

As the COP 22 conference is coming to a close, the feeling of urgency, with a mix of exhaustion, pulses through the tents. Final attempts to influence and educate flood the conference.  Doing my best to take advantage of this, I have tirelessly filled my days with sessions and actions in an effort to educate myself on the many aspects of climate change.  One part of the climate change problem that I have found especially interesting is how intertwined it is with business. This became very apparent to me while listing to Edward Cameron, the Managing Director of Business for Social Responsibility, speak about the sixty main risks of business and how they are directly connected to climate change. Mr. Cameron showcased this beautifully when he used Wal-Mart as an example. Wal-Mart is one of the largest corporations in the world, and is a great example for demonstrating how businesses are at stake due to the consequences and repercussions of our current climate crisis. Given Wal-Mart’s wide array of products the climate dilemma can affect them in many ways. One specific way is produce. As the climate continues to change growing seasons as well as the farmland used can change drastically. This has been seen in Zimbabwe Africa. A country once able to support themselves now struggles to provide the minimal amount of food to survive. This should not only scare businesses into compliance with the climate initiative, but also motivate them into further action.

As the day moved on our group decided to leave the conference for a taste of the culture of Marrakesh.  The city was hectic. Cars, buses, and motorcycles weaved through the lanes of traffic while dodging the brave pedestrians that dared to cross the street.  Upon reaching the main square of Marrakesh I was taken aback by the sheer noise and population that I became immersed in. We started down the crowded street as vendors did their best to persuade us to come in or to buy their art. When I found a small store I wanted to go in, it was as if I had called in advance, for the owner was already at my side ushering me in. Once inside, the sale began. Before I had time to think, he was blinding me with scarves and souvenirs of every color.  Once I had picked out some I liked, the dance of bargaining commenced. With each penny coming into play, each of us seemed to have a fun time pushing each other’s “final price” After the haggling stopped we continued to walk down the pathways of shops. Some of my favorites to look at were the produce and spice shops. Fresh fruit and nuts were on display on my right, mirrored by mountains of unknown spices on my left, their tempting aromas flooding my senses. Although we had two hours to wonder and explore, I felt like I could spend a whole day exploring the many shops and still not even scratch the surface of the Marrakesh Square.

After a long day at the conference and the square we were all desperately in need of a good meal. Despite this, none of us were prepared for the amazing feast and entertainment that awaited us in the following hours. The restaurant was spectacular. Soft live music accompanied by the soft sound of falling water created the perfect calming atmosphere for appetizers and punch. After the appetizers concluded we were led to a gorgeous room where our table awaited us, covered in rose pedals and surrounded by comfy couches. It was here that we eagerly awaited our first meal. The first meal was brilliant; we had strategically ordered different dishes allowing us to get a taste of each culinary masterpiece. We took turns passing around the many dishes. My favorites consisted of the pigeon pie, lemon chicken and the pigeon pancake.  As the night continued two more courses were served to us, each equally interesting and equally delicious. What really made this night unforgettable was the entertainment that came in waves through the night. The first to come was a singing and dancing duo. The two men came in slow, sitting down, singing softly playing some kind of guitar accompanied by a rattle.  As the minutes went by, the man with the rattle became increasingly bolder. Soon he was up, dancing and singing at the top of his lungs while the rest of us clapped along. He was even able to coax Daniel into getting up and dancing with him until we were all laughing so hard our sides hurt. All the while the servers came to our table filling our water glasses and bringing new food. The second wave of entertainment came at the end of the night. We were all excited and amazed when a belly dancer came to the table next.  We learned that this was typical Moroccan entertainment. The experience was highlighted when each member of the party got invited up for a small lesson on belly dancing while the others around the table laughed.  Throughout the night new dining experiences surprised us. Though what really amazed me was the staff’s attention to detail starting from pouring warm water over your hands at the beginning to the rose water at the end, they never missed a beat. From calming ambiance, to the exceptional five course meal, to the unbelievable entertainment. These experiences will keep this night in my memory forever.

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