I haven’t quite figured out the weather patterns in Grahamstown. Even if it’s hot and sunny outside in the morning, there is always the possibility for dark clouds and rain in the afternoon. I have especially bad luck trying to predict when to do my laundry. It seems that every time I hang my laundry out to dry it always finds a way to rain. The intern and assistant teacher at the Holy Cross School, Bongisani, likes to tease me and says that I smell bad and God doesn’t think I wash my clothes good enough, so God decides to wash my clothes again with the rain. Despite my bad luck with laundry and my inability to figure out South Africa’s weather patterns there is no denying the changes that are happening to our climate and environment.
I recently took the bus up to Durban to join thousands of others from all over the world for COP-17 (Conference of the Parties), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. I traveled to meet up with Mike Schut, the Economic and Environmental Officer for the Episcopal Church, who flew into Durban to be present for the negotiations. Although I wasn’t actually able to get into the UN negotiations, I was able to attend a number of interesting side events and workshops ranging from nuclear energy, environmentally friendly products, re-usable energy, South Africa’s stance on climate change, etc.
It was interesting to see organizations from all over the world lobby and strategize in attempts to influence the delegates who will be making the decisions regarding the earth’s future. I also experienced the frustration and anger that results from selfish agendas that stymie progress in creating a cleaner earth. “We only have one home…” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a rally before the conference, “If we destroy this home, we’ve had it!”
(clockwise from top: Mike Schut describing what the Episcopal Church is doing about climate change, Archbishop Tutu addressing a crowd before the conference, presentation on re-usable energy)