I would be guilty of the greatest omission if I failed to include the famous NGO party in my accounting of being here in Poznan. On the Saturday night and Sunday morning between weeks one and tow of the conference there is traditionally a party thrown by the NGOs attending. The entirety of the Tuba Club was this year’s venue and the large cavernous brick Interior was reserved completely for that purpose. Admission was either being in possession of a conference entry badge, being with someone who had one, or likely knowing someone who worked at the club (which would explain the goodly number of extra Polish dudes and dolls there).
I am not much of a party person, let me say, but would quickly learn to be one if I lived in Poznan. The young set here (hard to dimension that generality) runs a cumulative social life around mobile phones, and so coordinates movements and party going. The UN crowd does not have that, uh, level of communication, so a mention in the daily ECO (the daily publication of the Climate Action Network, but another post on that topic – see ECO of the past, Omen of the future). The place was mobbed from 9 pm when I arrived and was still hanging in there at 4 when I left. Oh yes, I spent the first few hours of my birthday there after midnight as well.
Actually, as is my bent in the first place, the party was both a spiritual and a worldly experience for me. The beer flowed; the DJ was terrific so the music was right in the groove, to use a metaphor of my youth. It seemed that everyone was in the same space of comfort talking with anyone they chose to (highly subjective judgment that!). My mental model for the party was that this group (or most of it) spent their whole days working together, passing one another in the halls, and meeting rooms, eating at the next table, standing together at the security points, coat checks, lunch lines… basically imprinting each others’ faces… all in the service of the Earth… trying to forge an elusive consensus on addressing global climate change mitigation and adaptation (more on that to come)… briefing one another, debating one another, supporting one another and seeking common ground… toward trying to avoid societal and individual suffering now and in the future. That common purpose creates a sense of unity in the group, and that manifests as the best damned party in Poland on that particular Saturday night.
Actually, now that I think of it, the NGO party was the first thing about the conference I heard about from the young woman I sat with on the train from Berlin to Poznan when I asked her for a summary of the meetings I should be sure to attend, as there are literally meetings numbering in the thousands from which to choose over the course of the conference.
For the Earth – §