Bienvenido a Cancun. My partner, Wan Park, and I spent our first night in El Rey de Caribe, an eco-hotel in downtown Cancun,which uses solar heating, recycles grey water and composts its waste. The night clerk and I had a long conversation about comidas vegetarianas when we checked in. We met Eduardo Rodriguez, the owner of the hotel, who started this business in 1983 and has been interested in finding ways to minimize impacts and resources. University students visit to learn about these practices and how he implements them. Eduardo’s wife, like us, would be attending COP 16, the UN Climate Change Talks.
When we arrived at the COP 16 exhibit hall yesterday, we spent some time talking with Hyun Joo, Lee, of Green Korea United. What attracted us to this exhibit booth were the slogans on their banners, which included, “Eat Less Emissions, Give Peas a Chance,” and “Meat = Methane.” Green Korea United is advocating the Meat-Free Mondays campaign in Korea,and many organizations and educational institutions have signed on. Seoul University is involved, and they even have a vegetarian restaurant on campus. The mayor of Gwangju in Jeollanamdo (South Jeolla Province) is also on board and working to get vegetarian options in elementary, middle and high schools.
It was nice to see folks at COP 16 discussing this issue and learn about their efforts back home. We then had to travel to Puerto Morelos to set up camp at the EcoVillage at Klimaforum, the parallel civil society forum being held at the same time. Unfortunately the two venues are quite a trek from each other and the travel logistics were more complicated than anticipated. We took the free shuttle bus from COP 16 as far as it could take us, and then had to take a taxi from there. We were pleased, however, to see a pro-vegan ad on the vehicle!
At Klimaforum, the links between diet and climate change are not only part of the agenda but also incorporated into the planning of the event. All meals are vegetarian, with an emphasis on organic produce. We each wash our reusable plates at the end of the meals.
We spent last night camping under a starry sky and were awoken at sunrise by birds in the trees surrounding the campsite. We just finished our desayuno of fresh fruit and granola and are getting ready for the day’s programs.
Today there will be panels on veganism and climate change and also organic farming. Brighter Green and our colleagues will be presenting our case studies on the globalization of factory farming later this evening. We will keep you posted on those events and hopefully the conversations and meals taking place at Klimaforum will find their way to COP 16 and beyond.