Woody circa awhile back...
So what do Mexico, Miami, and Iceland have in common?
And yes--I did just say Miami, and not the United States. Call me a statist, or in this case a city-ist--but I see the U.S. more as a group of city-states rather than a whole nation with one resounding perspective--especially thanks to the powers of bipartisanship visible in these last midterm elections...
But wait! This blog is not about politics. Personal point taken. Moving on...Let's do this in parts.
Mexico--or rather at the moment, Cancun. What you say? Cancun has come up twice in the last few months? Well yes--it has. At the moment, it's the epicenter of the world's 16th set of international climate talks, and its/our (say as you please) next attempt at creating a follow up of sorts to the Kyoto Protocol. Copenhagen was an interesting experience last year in December, so of course, international policymakers, think-tankers, governments, and companies decided going to Mexico in the beginning of North America's winter would be more conducive to consensus. JOKE, but wouldn't it be cool if that is how they actually decided to get down to Mexico? I hope the better weather does inspire these important people to be honest (God know I get the worst case of seasonal depression, thanks a lot to growing up in Chicago).
SO yeah--so far, no such great news, but the talks just began. There is a really fantastic article that was put forth by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government recently, outlining the point of climate policy and legislation, and what might encompass the best possible outcomes from Cancun. Honestly--it was the most concise and clear and CORRECT piece of policy recommendation I'd seen in a long time. Read it here. Some lovely ladies at The Climate Group agreed with me as well--so it ain't just my environmental soap box. In essence, we need to look at 2050 not as a goal by which to decrease emissions by a certain percentage, but rather as a time in the future where we look to obtain a certain number when measuring our natural resources. Does that make sense? In other words--limiting carbon emissions by percentages is contentious globally, especially since not everyone (see crazy people) believe in climate change, but what is reasonable is knowing what amount of carbon in our soil and our air and amount of pollutants in our oceans could be acceptable (i.e. we can live with this). Capiche? It's a pretty fair perspective indeed.
Well, as of right now--as in literally, at this moment right now, the U.S. negotiators in Cancun decided to announce that we would have a climate bill passed within the decade. Okay...that's a lofty announcement considering how this all went down this year, but it would clearly make me a happy camper! I'm just a bit confused as to how we are making such promises when this is not necessarily how our democracy (congress) is run...as this article in the National Journal (thanks for the link Bryan Walsh) succinctly states, "it's a promise that the U.S. continues to make and break decade after decade..."
But yes--there's your update on party city Cancun, with their international conferences, their underwater sculpture gardens, and their really good drinks.
Miami--the hostess with the mostest when it comes to Latino culture, nightlife, dancing, a warm beach, fun people, and another darn good place for conferences and events (and I can't forget Grandparents too!). Today, at Florida International University's Americas Venture Capital Conference, social innovator fund Tres mares gave a grip of money to a South American company focused on combatting Cancer. This is lovely, but the big picture here is that there is an Americas Venture Capital Conference, and that there is a group investing in social innovations in Latin America!
After my recent trip to my new favorite country, Colombia (which I went to on a whim thanks to my discovery of a deal on Twitter--no joke, I kid you not), I came back ever the more intrigued with finding out about how nations in Latin and South America are dealing with not only resource and weather related issues, but sustainable and infrastructure related development.
Lucky me I work at a company with loads of information, and even more, super smart writers and analysts who have been able to quench my thirst. Speaking of thirst--since I left, Bogota and Cartagena have been dumped upon by the rain gods and are experiencing crushing floods--displacing people from their homes, rendering drinking water nonpotable...yes it's very bad indeed. And this country, for some reason, just doesn't get the same amount of international coverage as would a Haiti or Indonesia per se.
But yes--so good things are happening in South America for the most part in relation to development, improved democracy, infrastructure, and social innovations. It may be slow--but this continent, and especially the Pacific countries (Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador if they ever get over their "marriage" to Chavez) are the next places to dare I say invest? Not to mention--it was a whole bundle of fun to visit and meet the incredibly beautiful and warm and inspiring people who I met down there. Colombia--que chevere!
But yes--thank you Miami for housing this conference. Oh yeah--and Art Basil is this weekend too, but this is something I will not address out of pure jealousy since I won't be there. Hmmph.
Finally--last but not least, let's tackle the awkward kid in the corner that is Iceland. Dude! Reykjavik, what has been up over the last year? The crazy volcano that essentially put a stop to European American business and trade for a few weeks, and now, you housed Julian Assange's WikiLeaks operation? Don't you know that Australians with white hair and who moved 37 times when they were way too young can't necessarily be trusted not to hamper your international image (and broke ass bank account too while we're at it)?
Listen--I'm not taking a stance on this leak. It's too complicated to even remotely address in this blog post. I believe in transparency and openness and digital and media democracy, but I also studied international diplomacy and relations and politics and as such have a very structured belief system.
But, I think an interesting angle here is looking at how Assange decided to go to Iceland--a country which is named as such originally in order to keep people out of it! You know--Greenland is really the icy mass, while Iceland is the beautiful, lush and tourism worthy destination. The sneaky settlers who named Iceland in an attempt to keep other people away--little did they know they would attract an international causer of chaos per se! Maybe they read it in the cards, but I think it's pretty darn funny that he went to Iceland and shacked up in a house with the windows closed all day.
So back to the entire point of this post.
Important international and environmental and socially innovative (good or bad or neither) things happen in the darndest of places.
Happy Woody Allen's 75th to you all. One of my favorite quotes of his, and particularly relevant to this post:
“To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.” – from Stardust Memories,
In other (erica) words: It's all about your frame of reference.