Upon Reflection: Looking Back at a Week of COP21

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 4.32.14 PMToday the first delegation team is wrapping up its work from the first week of COP21. I am writing this post from the Relaxation Room, provided as a space to get away from the bustle that comes along with COP21. Today, most people in this room are lounging or sleeping with feet propped up and shoes off. Today, people are exhausted. But also energized.

Two days ago I couldn’t imagine a scenario where a streamlined text was successfully passed on to the COP Presidency for final negotiations. And yet here we are. The deadline was set, and the parties rose up to the challenge. Even amid our own small delegation team, members were awake into the wee hours of the night finalizing briefing memos on recent changes to the draft agreement. Party delegations were likely up even later.

This week could be charactScreen Shot 2015-12-05 at 4.19.56 PMerized as a gathering of people suffering in solidarity. But more accurately, it was represented by a group of people united in their determination to create a document that would have lasting and effective change. While at times the deadlines and the differences seemed insurmountable, in the end these were outweighed by a unified desire to change the world.

This solidarity, even in moments of complete contention, is what I will most remember from my time in Paris. People united by a common purpose can complete the impossible.