First day at COP27: From a beginner’s perspective
Hello guys! My name is Teresa Xavier, I have just come out of an avalanche called COP27 and I come here, with great enthusiasm, to share with you my first impressions of this event!
By Teresa Xavier
I described the COP as an avalanche, as this was the best word I could find to translate what that first immersive contact in that space was like. I left home (São Paulo countryside) on the 9th and arrived in Sharm El Sheikh on the 11th, Friday, at dawn, and on the same day I went to register, but even before entering the physical space of the conference, I felt the signs of the event on the way there.
In addition to having met several people from different delegations on the planes so far, the journey to the COP was marked by its sounds and figures. Accents, languages and music that I had never heard before make up a unique melody in the place, in addition to the singular fashion with unique costumes and adornments.
Upon arriving at the conference, I found the first intervention and protest in front of the venue, encouraging vegan food. This argument is linked to several benefits for the environment: removing animal products from the diet is important because they are responsible for significant emissions of greenhouse gasses. Interventions like this, whether on this topic or not, have been an important debate that marked the pre-COP period: they are an important part of the conference, but in Egypt is different because as an authoritarian country, it does not allow such demonstrations. Other silent interventions took place during the day, but I know that the scale and number of these protests are much smaller when compared to previous editions of the COP.
Despite this point of divergence, I witnessed another outstanding component of the Conference that remained the same (if not growing) in its size! There are many spaces and pavilions that make up the place that, despite having several maps scattered around, often leaves its participants lost. With so many activities it’s hard to choose what to follow, so it was very important to identify events of interest in advance, but also leaving the schedule flexible for an important element of this event: NETWORKING.
A space like the COP demands time dedicated to dialogues and exchanges, even from the most shy and introverted people like me. For the more outgoing and extroverted, COP is the perfect place to recharge through the conversations accumulated over the days: there are people involved in projects, initiatives and organizations who have a lot of experience to share and several inspiring stories that give us the strength to continue working on what we believe. For those who have greater difficulty, here is a huge invitation to challenge yourself and gradually expand your network of contacts (and friends too, why not?), the important thing is not to miss the opportunity.
It is worth mentioning in this last point that in order to have effective solutions for a crisis as complex as the climate one, we need to act together, not necessarily in equal projects, but by sharing these experiences, replicating projects, adapting from the experiences of other people, encouraging peers, finally, we grew in cooperation.
And I believe that it is this exact feeling of unity that I will take to the rest of the COP. We are all very different, with different realities and proposals, but we converge on a single purpose: the fight against climate change. Thanks for reading this far!