Happy New Year!  What a year 2009 was, huh?  Well, full of optimism, 2010 looks really amazing from my perch here in lovely Paris!  It has been an amazing tour here in Europe this past month, as I ponder my trip as I plan my departure tomorrow to head home to NYC.  I have had the good fortune to connect w/ so many incredible people doing some wonderful work in the worlds of social innovation, but here this is ‘old hat’ as we say in America; business as usual.  It seems quite intuitive for Europeans to consider social, cultural and environmental values at the core of any decision.  It’s just logical when we live in an interconnected world with limited natural resources.  I guess this is just ‘smart’ thinking, which I propose is another way to consider ‘sustainable’ thinking.  Maybe ‘smart’ will be the new buzz word of 2010, along with ‘externality,’ which points to the external effects of any action and/or decision.

As we move into 2010, I have also been pondering ‘resolutions.’  This has been an annual practice of mine for as long as I can remember and has been instrumental in guiding me through each year.  For me, this is the year of ‘focus’ and decisive action.  This action is to support a world of ‘pure projects’ and to this end PURETIMES will focus on highlighting such projects.  There is so much power in writing down resolutions and sharing them with others.  It gives them life!  To this end, I urge you all to consider your own resolutions and sharing them with others.

I wish you all a wonderful 2010!  I will end this post with some closing comments in response to my experiences at COP15…

In responding to WiserEarth’s question re. COP15 on ‘what would you say to world leaders;’ I ponder…

Change takes time, commitment, persistence, and much more!  And a ton of patience on top of all that!  Naturally, it is a balance.  The world takes all types; leaders, followers, activists, policy heads, teachers, changemakers and the likes.  And we are at a tipping point at the moment where a perfect storm is brewing that requires us all to work together to create powerful/impacting change that must counteract the negative effects of society’s over-consumption coupled with massive population increase in the next 50 years.  Perfect also because we have never experienced such a time where a global society can truly unite under one cause and create change rapidly.  How?  Technology of course!  We cannot move backwards.  We will only consume more, travel more, etc.  This will not change.  But we must consume more efficiently, travel smarter, etc.  And we will, by implementing smarter design and use of technology.

Back to the question, what would I say to our world leaders?  Empower us, give us tool, implement policy that enables us to create new solutions that will move us forward into a more efficient and smarter future.  Government is an effective tool to empower society and should be respected as such.  There is a natural tension, but this exists in all of life.  But we must not forget that we, the people, have the ultimate power.  Technology is only increasing this reality.  Large interest groups and lobbys will no longer be able to compete with an organized network of impassioned citizens.  The large grassroots initiative that empowered the Obama campaign is just one example of this reality.  And even traditional media is weakening to the voice of anyone with access to the internet.  In the blogging world we call this the ‘long tail’ effect.  And the biggest example of all are the 3000+ vigils held around the globe in response to the 350.org campaign.  And on that, I will end this rambling by asking you all to watch this video and please get inspired to act, TODAY!  No deed is to small!  Thank you!

COP15: day 7

12/13/2009

Jennifer, Darian, and Ryan

Cest la vie!  With some sadness and a sigh of relief, I currently write you as I travel to Berlin for a week to catch up with some friends there and explore some opportunities for the Pure Project.
Today was another wonderful day, albeit much calmer!  The Danish rest, as much of Europe, on Sunday.  After a week in the heart of Danish country, I figured it was time to see what a ‘real’ danish tasted like!  Although, I’m sure I’ve had my share of danishes on past trips, which are a distant memory!  Anyhoo, I must say that my coffee and three danishes (yes, I ate three danishes!) were worth every bit of the $23 (113DKK).  I had no idea that this was the most expensive town on mainland Europe.  And with the weekend British Pound, CPH is likely the most expensive town in all of Europe.  Regardless, I loved my Sunday danishes!
In an effort to soak up the last bit of this beautiful town and to say goodbye to my local friends, I made my rounds about town. First off was Mr. Ice Bear, who amazingly made it to Sunday, and if the freezing Arctic Breeze keeps up, he may make it to witness a binding and powerful agreement at COP15 on Friday!  After a few other stops, I made my way over to Jaga’s boat for the Uchronian Community.  They were having a interesting discussion about why people buy a product, but in relation to Jaga’s radiators.  Jan exclaims, “they are buying into a philosophy.”  But as an American who respects Jaga’s high quality product, I know this not to be the case, as most Americans do not have a clue about this wonderful company.  So I spoke up and shared my thoughts with the group.  After a stimulating conversation on what makes a company and a project, we decided to hit the streets as a group and check out the city a bit.  After stopping by the wonderful exhibit on ‘100 things to see before they are gone,’ we strolled over to Hopenhagen Live and caught the end of the ‘electric’ car show.
The Jaga crew grabbed some grub and I headed back to the Pavilion to say goodbye to my good friends there, namely Stan who founded hubculture.com and the COP15 Pavilion I worked out of all week.  I was able to snag a few bamboo fiber ‘Hopenhagen’ shirts, which will be my new favorite shirts.  As I was leaving, Jennifer from Taking It Global popped in to say hi.  She had brought in a friend from the Carbon War Room.  When Darian handed me his card, I realized that we had connected earlier in the year right before he left Craigslist Foundation as the Executive Director.  I just love these synchronicities.  The three of us locked into a magical moment and Jennifer shared a beautiful poem, that she will forward shortly and I will pass on to you all! We had our moment and then Darian got an emergency call from his Carbon War Room and they were off.
My final stop before heading to the airport was for a shwarma sandwich at the Crown Prince’s favorite shwarma shop.  And what a fanally!  Off to the airport, where my dear buddy Nils met me for a final goodby for this time.
One simple and powerful lesson from this week: this is about people and working together!
Here are today’s pictures.  And thanks for following my daily posts on this inaugeral week of PURETIMES.  If you have any suggestions for posts, improvements, etc., please let me know!
Thanks and chat soon!

COP15: day 6

12/13/2009

Earth Doctors

Earth Doctors

Yesterday, day 6 of COP15, was again another stellar day!  I began the day meeting my friend Summer Rayne Oakes and her friend Randall Koral at my favorite design hotel, Hotel Skt. Petri, in Copenhagen for breakfast.  Summer and my friend Benita are launching a company to help fashion designers and brands source sustainable fabrics.  Randall is the Editor of Above Magazine, which calls upon the environmentally conscious and everyone else interested in the future by sharpening its focus on the endangered beauty of the world.  Julie Gilhart, Fashion Director for Barneys, poped in for a moment to say hi.  She was in town speaking at a side conference on fashion and sustainable solutions for the industry.  Randomly (or not), Julie happened to be friends with Summer and we all had a jolly talk.  About 4 hours latter, Summer, Randoll and I snuck out for a peek at the action outside.

We had heard that 30-40k people were assembling in front of the parlement for a demonstration and massive march to the Bella Center, where Bill McKibben & Desmond Tutu would hold a vigil.  Per today’s news, Bill McKibben (350.org) & Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke in front of 100k+ at COP15 vigil.  Full article and video.  We got some amazing pictures and the energy on the street was magnificent.

Unfortunately (or very fortunately), I had to cut out early to attend what I thought was a party at the Kronberg Castle (setting of Hamlet).  I met up with Julie again, who was also invited to this ‘party,’ and we took a taxi together.  I soon came to find out that I would be attending a very high-level conference attended by delegates and business leaders on the topic of clean energy.  Full details here.  I have to admit that the event was a bit dry and uninspiring, with the exception of a few presenters.  One highlight was a personal video address from President Clinton.  However, Kronberg Castle is absolutely amazing!

Back in CPH, Julia, Jonathan Hiskes (staff writer for grist.org), and I met up with some people for dinner at Nyhavn 71 (a beautiful hotel on the canal).  I only stayed for a moment to say hello, and it was an interesting mix of people including a chief UN negotiator defending the Kyoto Protocal, the president of the National Corn Growers Association, California’s Secretary of Agriculture, an executive from USDA and another from Conservation International.  COP15 is amazing!

Time for bed, so I met up with my friends from Uchronia on the ship and headed back to their apartment in Christianshavn, situated on a beautiful canal just next to Christiania.

What a day!  Some pictures here!

COP15: day 5

12/12/2009

Peaceful Protest

Peaceful Protest

Started the day witnessing some peaceful protests in Nytorv Square just infront of the Hub Culture Pavilion and WWF Arctic Tent.  The goal of the protests is to block any corporate meetings taking place during COP15.  The protest mission is to prevent companies from producing financial gain from the environmental movement.  Some reports here.

Went over to tcktcktck.org/freshair for morning briefing at 11:15 am on days main events.  Before I could get settled, I got pinged w/ an invite from my dear friend Tamara Giltsoff who just launched Abundancy Partners, who was attending a presentation on a new initiative called Environmental Commons.  The program was hosted by the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders at a private home in Christianshavn.  After a quick overview of the program, I was on the street.  After a swift rush across this gorgeous town I was at the most beautiful townhouse just infront of the marvelous Royal Opera House.  I was absolutely blow away by the panel, topic, content, and small group of approx. 15 Young Global Leaders.  This was by far the highlight of my trip!  Environmental Commons is, in a nutshell, a robust strategy & platform to connect projects, people, and resources around environmental solutions.  The second half of the meeting focused on assembling a team of advisors/supporters to move the project further forward.  As I have been passionate about building platforms to support connecting ‘pure projects’ to resources, I offered to put my organizations full support behind the project.

One of the Young Global Leaders in attendances was Mattias Klum, an incredible photographer for National Geographic.  After the conclusion of the meetings, he offered to take us over to his most recent exhibition being presented during COP15 and addressing the effects of climate change on Borneo called The Testament of Tebaran.  The exhibition is absolutely remarkable and I have complete images attached at the end of this post.

From there I was off to catch up with some new and old friends around the city.  In the mix of all this I ran into Jennifer Corriero who was also at the YGL event just before, who was looking for the subway to head back over to the Bella Center to meet with one of the lead attorneys representing the island nation of Tuvalu.  Jennifer is the co-founder of Taking It Global, which is a large online community of youth interested in global issues and creating positive change.  She had offered to activate her large community of youth leaders to support Tuvalu’s call for an immediate and binding agreement.

After dropping Jennifer off at the subway, I ran into my friends at Polar Conservation Org. at the Jaga Experience Bus.  PCO is committed to the establishment, maintenance and monitoring of relevant international framework agreements for a sustainable future of both Polar Regions.  They have teamed up with Jaga to activate their bus (images in link at end of post) as a meeting location and media hub in Kongens Nytorv Square.  I then went over to their ship on Nytorv Canal to invite Jan Kriekels to do an interview for my buddy Andy’s documentary on innovative companies implementing environmentally sustainable strategies.  On the boat, Koen VanMechelen was giving a presentation in Flemish on his Cosmopolitan Chicken project, which includes the worldwide experimental project with which Koen hopes to develop a super-hybrid chicken.  If your in NYC, look for his project on Fifth Ave in the 50s in March.

I capped the day with an panel discussion at the Fresh Air Center, being moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.  More info here.  Canary Project did a presentation as well.  Please have a look.

As I was busy blogging away, I young lady from Greenpeace sitting behind me, asked if I could mention their time capsule release party on Dec. 13.  This sounds like an amazing event.  Please have a look at Love Letters to the Future.

After running into some dear friends from other parts of the globe who just arrived in town, a huge group of us all went for the ‘best’ schwarma in CPH and then to see the Yes Men in action at Hopenhagen Live.  If you don’t know these guys, please look them up.  While we missed their partially failed 20 second stunt, we did catch a after-party full of art cars a la burning man, but CPH style.  And boy do the danish know how to party.

Here are the days pictures.  And some interesting links from the day.  Enjoy!

Climate Demonstration in Christiansborg Slotsplads.

Fresh Air Center Opening Presentation.

Seal the Deal! campaign!

The Canary Project produces visual media, events, and artwork that build public understanding of human-induced climate change and energize commitment to solutions.

Two videos from yesterday, the Youth and Future Generation day, that exemplify the challenges that we face as young people in trying to shape the negotiations. These videos convey the frustrations, hopes, anger, and compassion that young people from the developing world are facing as they see their negotiators and their nations’ mainstream media delay and misinform.

COP15: day 4

12/10/2009

1 Carbon Tonne Cube on the lake!

I woke up to over 100 emails from our listserv for the COP15 blogging community.  Don’t ask me how I got on this list, and I’m not sure yet if it’s a curse!  Currently, I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by all the daunting news today!  Yesterday I was feeling guilty for checking out on Sunday, but now I’m thinking it could get quite insane here!  More and more police on the street ready for ‘something.’

We started the day with a series of interviews of CEOs, CSR executives, and the likes on the topic of the role of corporations to address environmental responsibility.  We had Nike, Rainforest Action Network, JohnsonDiversey, Green Order and a few others.  The goal will be to release these stories through a social media campaign, and then to cut a feature link documentary film when there is enough footage.

I spent some time at the Pavilion today (staying out of the rain) speaking with several interesting individuals.  Had a nice chat with Anna Klemmer of the Center for Climate Strategies, whose goal is to help states and nations tackle climate change.  We focused our conversation on the need for negotiating climate agreements among states or at the local level, as a means for cutting out red tape and getting to a deal faster.  It sounds like they are doing great stuff!

I later ran into Marcus Ryan who runs the DC Project, which helps implement home weatherization as a method to revitalize communities.  We had crossed paths at the White House forum on Clean Energy last week, but did not get a chance to speak then.  Please check out his project!  He seems like a great guy!

I also spoke with Jorge Machado, who runs an organization in Brazil called Solutions from the Amazon.  There goal is to help local/indiginious populations become more self-sustaining.  We talked about an interesting program to help local farmers in the Amazon re-forest their land with CSA-certified eucalyptus trees.  I will pass this opportunity on to our team at Pure Planet.

I spent a ton of time catching up on updates from the COP15 listserv and #cop15 twitter feeds.  Some of the stuff that stood out I have included below, if your interested.  After the whole day inside, I stepped out for the opening event & panel discussing at tcktcktck.org’s Fresh Air Center.  Had a quick chat with Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, who was hard at work on another one of his epic blog posts.  Will schedule an interview tomorrow with Bill.  So, the Fresh Air Center is a large collaboration and community center for those blogging and otherwise communicating on COP15.  Here is info on Fresh Air Center Opening Party.  Here is an excellent stream of live updates from Tck Tck Tck.  And you can see all the best blogging all in one place.  I will be blogging from Fresh Air Center most of the day tomorrow.

Oh, I heard that tent villages are beginning to set up around the city to accomodate the crowds coming in for demonstrations, as the city is maxing out on accommodations.  I will take a look around town tomorrow and report back.

That’s a wrap for tonight!  A few pictures from today.

Some interesting stuff from today…

Passionate protest at Bella Center supporting Tuvalu’s call at COP15.

Climate scientists speak up!

Today is day 35 of climate justice hunger fast.

CNN/YOUTUBE Climate Debate.

Climate Spark Business Forum Webcast.

COP15: day 3

12/09/2009

Casting as Brad Pitt

Casting as Brad Pitt

It’s official!  The heat is up!  Today, there was a very noticeable rise in the energy level both around the city and certainly in twitter-dom.  For those interested in following the madness, search #cop15 in your twitter reader of choice.  The highlight today was my unintended casting as Brad Pitt in ‘Brad Pitt Saves the World in Copenhagen.’  More on that in a moment.

I started the day over at the klimaforum sitting in on a panel on ‘sacred activism,’ lead by several spiritual and religious leaders.  Was interesting, but a bit too ethereal and crunchy for my current mood.  I am really focused on grounded, clear and decisive action towards implementing real change.    While there is surely a important place for both, the energy of the day was clearly moving in a different direction.  And the proof is in the pudding as they say!  Over at the Bella Center (HQ of COP15 talks), a the small Polynesian Island nation of Tuvalu called for a legally binding deal to come out of the negotiations.  China and India, among others, made discouraging remarks about the potential for the treaty.  As my friends at 350.org report, the talks were then suspended for a few hours, at which time an impromptu civil society action took place in support of Tuvalu and a fair, ambitions and binding deal.  More here.

So, with the constant tweets of all the commotion, I had to run over to the Bella Center to see for myself.  On my way over, I passed a huge gold metalic trailer with the worlds “Brad Pitt Saves the World in Copenhagen” on the front and back.  I had passed it other days and it was closed, but it was open this time.  I was so curious what this was all about, I had to take a peek in.  This has to be some kind of joke, I thought.  As I approached the door, two people opened and asked if I wanted to try out for a part playing Brad Pitt in a film about saving the world.  I told them that I was not in town for long and pried a bit further to verify that it was not a joke.  I do, however, think these Danish film producers are having fun with Brad Pitt’s recent fame connected to his humanitarian work.  But what the hell, I thought!  I chocked it up to this once and a lifetime experience.  Ironically, the Dutch TV came in at the same time and asked if they could film our casting, so I imagine that will air sometime soon!  Too fun!  I was number 66 and they were to end casting within 30 minutes to select someone for the part.  We shall see what happens?  If i get picked, I will have to delay my trip to Berlin Sunday.

Finally, I was off to the Bella Center.  It was 3:45 and already getting quite dark!  By the time I arrived everything had calmed down and most of the delegates had already left for the day.  Come on guys, it’s only 4pm and our planet is in serious trouble!  Do you think you can put in a few more hours?

I decided to head back to my buddy Stan Stalnaker Copenhagen Pavilion to get some work done and catch up on the day’s notable events.  Stan is the founder of Hub Culture, a network to merge online and physical world environments.  The organization’s mission is to elevate the the collective conscious while focusing on worth creation, with provisions of workspace, online collaboration tools, and critical support services for members.

I ended up meeting up with my buddy James Hanusa who just got in from San Francisco to work on an amazing social media campaign focusing on CSR (corporate social responsibility) and the great strides some corporations are taking to become more sustainable and otherwise environmentally sensitive.  More on this in tomorrow’s update, as we begin the filming then.  I was asked to help out, so I will get the full scoop then!

We ended up going to dinner with his team to get to know one another and set a plan for the forthcoming days’ events.  What an inspiring group!  Andrew Behar is a documentary filmaker, inventor, entrepreneur and COO of Influence Xchange, a sustainable social media company.  Check out his films here.  Then there is Karl Burkart, Creator & Executive Producer of Planet Green’s newest show Planet 100.  For those that may not know, Planet Green is the Discovery Cable Network’s new ‘green’ channel.  What an interesting guy and apparently a well respected blogger.  Enough so that he was invited by the Finnish governement to tour (and blog about) there most interesting sustainable projects.  And then there was the interesting Justin Winters, whom also joined Karl in Finland, and who works with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Foundation.  She was also involved in the production of his film ‘The 11th Hour.’  It was an amazing night full of inspiring conversation and it ended with an invite to some swanky party on Saturday night with many of the delegates at Kronborg Castle, which is famously known as the setting for William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet.  What a night!

Some pictures from my journey’s today here.

And below is a stream of inspiring bits from the day.  Loosing steam.  Back with more tomorrow!

—-

Christiania is hosting the Climate Bottom Conference with the aim at settling the scene for sustainable living.  This event presents a number of practical initiatives from sustainable cities and eco-villages from around the world under the theme “Windows of Hope.”  More info here.

Official COP15 press releases and webcasts here.

Cute little video on ‘dop-en-hagen.’

Youtube channel on COP15 here.

Send your greetings to COP15, courtesy of Danish Government here.

Free bikes a huge success at COP15.  More here.

Some bold news from host country Denmark, which is one of the first countries to earmark financing for developing countries to strengthen their capacities to tackle climate change in the short term.  More here.

More up to the minute news, blogs, and tweets from Uptake.

Thankfully Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is optamistic about reaching a robust agreement to combat climate change.  More here.

http://www.illumenarts.dk/?cmd=page&lang=en&mid=27&page_id=16

http://www.kunstindustrimuseet.dk/en

http://www.millenniumart.org/  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yomQQ9fgqds&feature=player_embedded

http://www.bryggen.dk/default.asp?Doc=29&Lng=EN

http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/un-climate-talks/global/2009/the-flood-is-coming

http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/un-climate-talks/global/2009/demand-climate-justice-in-copenhagen

http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/un-climate-talks/global/2009/join-us-in-copenhagen-for-the-flood

http://blogs.panda.org/climate/

all official cop15 press updates: http://www2.cop15.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop15/templ/live.php?id_kongresssession=3&theme=cop15

COP15: day 2

12/08/2009

Ghost Forest w/ Angela & Lucy

What a day!  The energy is quite wild here!  On one hand, the tension is high, on the other, there is allot of excitement in the air!  And then the city rolls on w/ every day life, many seemingly oblivious to what is going on in their home town, strolling right past massive unearthed trees, uninterested, like it was totally normal.  Maybe we should light them on fire!  To be fair, most people were totally blown away by Angela’s amazing work.  Sadly, the danish princess is hosting a state dinner right behind the trees on the 18th and they have to clear the place out by then.  Really sad!  I think Obama’s security detail is worried there are snipers that could hide in the trees, or something!  If anyone knows the danish princess, would you please ring her up and letter know her dinner guests really need to see this!  Maybe this will get them to go back to the Bella Center and sign a powerful deal combating climate change!

Today was intense for sure!  I started off at the Klimaforum09 for some amazing music, talks and exhibitions.  Klimaforum is the global civil societies counterpart to the official UN conference.  It is an open space where people and organizations from all over the world can meet, discuss, and develop a constructive response to the climate crisis.  As they say, ‘where politicians fail the people must take over.’  Needless to say this is an interesting place to spend some time!  The highlight was interacting with the meshmork they have developed to facilitate connecting people to projects and resources, a topic I explore often.  A bit disorganized from my experience, but full of interesting content and people!

After I got word of the the mess going on over at the Bella Center (COP15 headquarters), I decided I needed to take a stroll and absorb some fresh air and climate-infused creativity!  If you did not hear, some documents were leaked to the Guardian essentally destabalizing the entire agreement.  Full details here.

I started off by connecting with my new friend Angela Palmer to check out her mind-blowing Ghost Forest exhibition.  I cannot say enough good things about this piece!  I did a short interview for the press and had a nice dialog about the importance of presenting such work, even in the light of the magnificent and largely unsustainable methods of producing such a project/installation.  It surly is one to chew on!

I then meandered through the city a bit more stumbling upon some little surprises, like Greenpeace’s ice-breaker ship from Amsterdam.  I finally made it over to the ultra-cool and interesting alternative community infamously know as Christiania.  I wanted to take some pictures for you all but unfortunately pictures are not allowed.  Normally that would not stop me, but just as I was contemplating my journalistic strategy, some news of cops spread through the small village of 850 people.  The entire place was in shock and the energy was quite strange, so I opted to depart without your pictures.  Next time!  I did actually get a few shots as I re-entered the European Union.  Seriously, check the pictures!  These guys don’t pay taxes, last time I checked.

On my way back, I picked up some cash from the bank to repay the cafe that was so nice to let me come back another time to pay my bill.  I have been using credit the past few days, not having time to check the exchange rate in the past 3 days.  Thankfully, the Danish are some of the kindest people.  I just don’t get it, as the sun is only out from 8:30-3:30!  I would go mad!

I stumbled upon some beautiful instalations on my way back to the train station, derailing me for at least 2 hours.  This town is chock full of activity.  Check out Re_acciona, a spanish bread project to help supply water, energy, and infrastructure for a sustainable future.  They had a wonderful concert tonight and I took there survey.  The WWF Artic Tent was also fabulous!  It was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, so there was a mix of people, some clearly native of the Arctic Circle.  I did not know there are 4 million people living within the Arctic Circle.  Out front, my polar bear was melting away.  Global warming at work!  I don’t think he will make it to the party of Friday night!

Last stop, Hopenhagen Live, a city of futuristic ideas, inspiration, and eco-entertainment!  Loved the peddle-powered x-mas tree!  My highlight was my run-in w/ the Climate Debt Agents!  Cool cats for sure!  Their job; to get rich, industrialized countries to pay off their climate ‘debt’ to the developing world.  As they say, ‘it’s not aid, it’s a debt industrialized nations owe to the developing world.’  Check them out!

Time to head home to my lovely oasis on the forested beach in Sweeden!  Looking forward to a swim tomorrow!  Must join the Polar Bear Club!  On my way home, I had one final dream of Tivoli.  It is a beautiful amusement park in the center of town.  One of the oldest in Europe I hear.

Some pictures of today’s journeys here.  Enjoy and more tomorrow!