Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ain't no big thang

Climate change is a big deal, but some of the measures that can be taken to fight it aren’t.

The U.N. is demonstrating some of these small things at its Conference of Parties to the Framework Conference on Climate Change (COP16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, November 29-December 10.

One very small thing that COP16 officials expect to make a difference in the carbon footprint of the conference is the dress code. For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, outside the tropics, early December can be downright chilly. The mean temperature for December in Kentucky, where I live, is about 38 degrees. But the mean temperature for the same month Cancun is about 80. Combine high outdoor temperatures with hundreds of people packed into meeting rooms in business attire, and you need air conditioning and lots of it.

The COP16 answer? Ditch the business attire.

No, U.N. delegates aren’t going nude, but they aren’t wearing the worldwide corporate and government uniform, either. No coat, no tie, no hay problema.

Instead, U.N. organizers are recommending guayabera shirts and light-cotton dresses, traditional Mexican attire adapted to deal with the warm climate. Air conditioning will be minimized in order to reduce the impact of the large, multi-national gathering.

My personal recommendation? Ditch the air conditioning all together. Hold the meetings on the beach.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010