Where Do We Go From Here?

Now that you have all had a chance to reflect on your experiences with the climate conference role-play, I want to hear your thoughts on a few issues:

1) Was it worth your time? What did you get out of it?

2) What is one thing you would change about the assignment?

3) If you were to do it over again, what would you do differently?

Finally, the end of our discussion on Thursday was a bit of a downer- after suspending disbelief on two levels (allowing for the countries to be far more cooperative than they might otherwise be, and allowing for country groups to pledge more aggressive action than might be realistic), we found that the efforts were still not enough. What does this mean- that we shouldn’t even try? Find another way?

Please post your comments early. We will discuss them in class on Thursday after discussing our last reading.

18 Responses to “Where Do We Go From Here?”

  1. McKenna Lehman says:

    1) Throughout this activity I was very skeptical about the whole thing, to be honest. What do a bunch of kids know about budgets for billions of dollars? But then, at the very end of the last class when we looked at our numbers and how basically in a perfect world, even then Climate Change is inevitable, THAT made it worth it. This whole conference made me realize that not only people actually do this in real life, but that it’s MUCH harder for them. They don’t get along as well as we did, and they have countries at stake, not just a grade. It seems that the problem is much bigger than any of us could imagine, and that was shown when we realized that after 4 days of hard work, plugging and chugging those numbers, even THAT didn’t help this predicament. It put it all in perspective for how deep down the world has dug itself into its hole.

    2)One thing I would change about the assignment is the amount of people in the groups. The only reason I say this is because for Developing A, we had about 11 different countries, with 9 different people in our group. It was hard for us all to constantly be emailing each other back and forth about things, and when we met, not everyone could make it. Scheduling is always hard for large groups like that, which is why during the debate some of us weren’t able to talk as much as other because we didn’t have all the info for whatever reason. I would also change the two different tracks, that was a bit hard for me to fully grasp. I think the first day should be completely spent on giving a background for all the countries, the 2nd day starts with the media, and then we just discuss, discuss, discuss. I still really don’t see the purpose for having different countries presenting on different days since they ended up giving a short background anyways on the second day.

    3)If I were to do it over again, I would have researched my opponent better. For instance, the US and Australia brought SO much to the table, they created a great debate and really played their part well. I wish I had dug up more dirt on them so I could have contributed more to the debate they were bringing on. I also wished I would’ve stayed true to my country more. Thailand is actually in really good standing with America, and so my debating Stephanie at one point was totally out of character.

    4)The depression that filled the classroom in the end was, well, really disheartening. It definitely makes you re-think every little thing you do to help the environment, and you begin to wonder if it’s even worth it. But really, it is. Because even though we didn’t reach our goal of being under 2 degrees celcius by 2100, we still dropped A LOT than we would have if we did nothing. I know it seems a waste if we’re all still just going to die from global warming, even if it’s later rather than sooner. But in the end, this is our Earth, and we’re just people living on it. It’s not ours for the taking. I think we should all just do our part for the fact that Earth is fragile, and without IT, we wouldn’t be here.

  2. Valerie says:

    1) I definitely think the exercise was worthwhile. Like McKenna I agree that it helped to put things into perspective. We always want things to be easy, and then get frustrated when they aren’t and this exercise showed exactly why it can’t be easy and it can’t be quick. There has been a lot of talk about developing new energy sources, but little talk about what happens when we stop using the old energy sources than many countries have built their economies around. When you are asked to represent a country and likewise their interests, these are things you consider when you might not normally. Yes, we should all have a vested interest in protecting the planet we live on, but when you are representing more than just yourself it makes the desire to do that all more urgent, and even more frustrating when you are bogged down with economic concerns. The exercise we did was only a small taste, in a real life situation I can only imagine that it would be far more difficult.

    2 &3) I also agree with McKenna that the separate tracks were not needed and were confusing and that the groups could be smaller. It was also frustrating when we were all throwing around numbers we had gotten from our own research, and everyone was coming up with different things. While I realize this would be how a real world conference would go, I think for the purpose of the class it might make things go smoother to have a fact sheet with general information about each country distributed prior to the conference, so that everyone can learn a little about the other countries, and then can do supplemental research with their own country. Also, it seemed counter productive to have the goal be for the developing countries to come up with amounts of money to receive from the developed countries. I know this has been done in the real world, but in our exercise it led to far more time bickering over numbers we really had no true concept of, rather than debating over the issues, which I found to be far more interesting and productive. Furthermore, as a country that would have been on the receiving end, but wasn’t in dire need, I really didn’t have much to add to that discussion, and I think many of the other developing countries felt similarly. It set the discussion up to be dominated by the countries handing out the money.

    4) I believe that the goal to cut carbon emissions is a valid one, however, I don’t think global warming is entirely caused by humans. The earth has historically gone through cycles of heating and cooling and to think that we alone caused the problem and therefore we alone can solve it is a mark of human arrogance. This is not to say that we haven’t helped it along and quickened its pace, but I believe that even without human involvement this would still be happening. I mean the ice age ended before cars were ever invented. The earth got warm, things melted and no one called it global warming. So to think we can “solve” anything is foolish. We can become more sustainable and more environmentally responsible, and these should be our goals. We should try to limit the impact we make on the environment, but if our goal is to solve global warming, then yes we might as well give up now because this is a goal that will never be realized.

  3. Sara Zolnick says:

    After participating in the Global Climate Conference, my knowledge about the environmental issues was definitely heightened, which I am thankful for. This conference was definitely worth my time, as it was a great way to understand all of the concepts we are learning about: environmental issues, ways to fix these issues, and the rhetoric involved to do so. I learned the details of greenhouse gas emissions and I learned how to cooperate with conflicting ideas. Overall, it was very beneficial to me, personally.

    If I could change one thing, I would probably ask for a little bit more of a guideline before starting the project. Maybe set end goals that we could all reach at the end of each day. I felt like, as the days went on, we were talking in circles. Even though we were completing our tasks, we were still discussions the same issues as the day before. With a little more detail for each day, I think the conference could run a lot smoother.

    If I could do it over again, I think for my group especially, we would break down the developed countries better. Originally, we had enough people to separate the United States while having one person with Australia, one with Canada, and one for Europe. After our group member for Europe left, Stephanie and I were still on the United States. If we had been able to separate ourselves, with one person the US and one Europe, I think the developed countries would have a smoother presentation.

    After coming to our saddening conclusion, I feel as though it is a great start. We wont be able to fix everything completely right from the start. Things like this take work. So, yes, it is disappointing, but I think with baby steps the world can complete the overall goal.

  4. kscrimsh says:

    1) I believe this role-play assignment was worth my time because of what I got out of it in the end. At first, I was not too sure about myself or my country, but I started to get the feel of it a couple days into it. It was very interesting to dig into my country (Canada), and really understand what their position is in the whole scheme of things with regard to the Global Climate Change situation.

    2) What I would change about the assignment is how much information is given to individual countries beforehand. I think that we should have been given our countries’ money statistics before the role-play started and that way we could have gotten to dive deeper into issues within our specified countries instead of struggling to find our specific numbers. (Now, I am not sure if anyone else felt that way but I seemed to get stuck at certain points on specific money values). I feel that it would have been more interesting and perhaps even a more in depth discussion if we were able to talk about other things than just the specific funds. I know the funds were kind of the point, but I guess it would have been just a bit more interesting talking about what specific countries were willing to do, and what technologies they were developing, instead of just getting stuck on the money for almost the whole time.

    3) If I were to do this assignment over again, I would probably go into more depth on how I would fix the problem, rather than just throwing money at it. I find it very unfortunate because all the money talk that was being discussed seemed to be leaning a lot toward technology and how it will save us…As we have discussed before, technology may not necessarily be the answer. With regards to going into more depth, for example, Canada has been a big player in the nuclear and hydro power industry, willing to share their technologies with the developing world. And, although I did touch on that point a bit, I wish I had gone it no further detail as to how they were willing to do that. I would also have been very interested to hear about other countries’ solutions to the problem in more depth. And, on another note that had to do with monetary funds, I feel like it is not even worth throwing around so much money because in the end, money (especially American money) is not worth half of what it used to be, and on top of that, the US is in so many billions of dollars of debt…so perhaps we should keep handing out money until it is no longer worth anything?

    4) It is really scary how much deep crap we are in with regards to the Global Climate Change. It was a rude awakening when we realized that even if we stopped now and changed for the better, and every country decided to work together….it is really not going to fix that much. Although it does seem bleak, I do not think countries should give up. It may not be able to be stopped, but if everyone were to work together, then perhaps we could slow this trend down and buy us, and the world, more time. Maybe there is no stopping it, even if humans had no negative impact on the world (which we do, I am just being hypothetical), maybe this is mother nature’s way of pushing humans to the eventual fate of the dinosaurs? Perhaps, opposing my earlier tirade in point number 3, technology will save us? Maybe someone will invent something that will curb the climate change and halt it in its tracks, making all right in the world. OR, just maybe, aliens will save us…..Whatever the case (although the aliens are a little farfetched, but you never know…), action must be taken to at least give us more time to help solve these issues.

  5. Brian Brown says:

    What made the conference feel worth it was not so much the research but the acting out of a role. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve come out of this conference having learned a great deal more about climate change. However, I don’t think that was the point. It was to play a role and stick to it. That’s what made the assignment interesting and challenging because its not so easy an idea you don’t necessarily support. It also brings about a more realistic discussion where everyone doesn’t have to end up agreeing on some level about what is said, as many other seminar/discussion classes turn into.

    One part I would change about the assignment is in the opening statements. I don’t think one should sit down and behind a computer screen giving an opening statement at a conference. Each country should have to stand up and give an opening remark to the room. Also, opening remarks mostly turned into a bunch of statistics being listed with brief assertions about what the country needs. There seemed to be few compelling remarks made during any of the opening remarks so it was quite hard to focus on what was being said.

    What I struggled with was trying to find stock, pointless ‘media’ type questions that could be asked during the conference. Choosing the Blaze had some drawbacks in that while I could provide an extreme stance, I didn’t want to impose this stance throughout the conference. There were times when I should have argued with the US over there policy but I just didn’t want to argue over a stance no one was going to adopt, no matter what I said. It would’ve simply held up the conference. So I think the best solution would have just been to ask general questions to help prompt discussion more.

    All I really have to say is that an ideological shift needs to be taken from seeing Global Climate change is seen as something that can be solved. It can’t. There are irreversible consequences to our actions. At best we can mitigate the problem. Hopefully, we will take part in making efforts towards adjusting for climate change, but again, considering the proceeding of the conference, I doubt any country is going to plan for the future in any extensive way. I don’t expect any significant, global changes to be made at any of these conferences. However, I do think some effort albeit small will be made, more so as the effects of climate change becomes more apparent.

  6. Jaclyn says:

    1) I really enjoyed the role play activity and would say that it was worth all the time I put in. Just experiencing how complex it is to work with so many different entities (countries) that al have different needs and at the same time find a solution was really eye opening to see how hard it is to find solutions to problems that we face today. I also feel like I was able to learn a lot about each country, even though it probably won’t be of any use, it was still fun to learn these new things.

    2) Things that I would change about the assignment is to make the blog posts more active in the information being passed out. Like maybe creating discussion topics to focus on such as ” from the countries that were introduced today, what do you think was the most common problem? Is this problem something that is a necessity for us to create to have our world function? What solutions would you propose to fix it?” Something that really looks at nd makes you think about the information and “discussion that went on today. oOr even a reaction post to discussion such as “Do you think the discussion of creating committees will be effective with the climate change crisis? What are the positives and negatives that could be in the outcome?”The second thing I would change is for each group to make a small introduction speech like Developing A countries did, I found this to be beneficial in stating all the countries we would be looking at and learning of special treats that they all have in common.

    3)One thing that I would change in my own work concerning the role play is allowing myself more time to not just learn about the country, but to learn a lot more on the specific issues, so that causes for these environmental problems can be evaluated not only on my national level but a global level.

    4)Certain counties were very nice in trying to take on a higher amount of funds because they are a larger contributor, such as China. Even though this is true China is a big part of the global climate crisis economically speaking this could really cause the Chinese economy to suffer and the wealth of China, a powerhouse, to decline drastically. As a powerhouse they should also keep in mind what their other goals are. The US on the other hand is usually a lot more accommodating in the simple fact that the US generously gives out funds to causes such as this all the time. The contributions were disproportionate, sometimes too willing to take the blame, and I believe there was not enough acknowledgment on the budgets of these countries, and the personalities of these countries. I think the problem can be reduced in its actual problem, but never actually solved. Economically speaking it would takes years to pay off the debt. What we need to change is the lifestyle people live today to just stop or slow down the progress, but that is not working, people are aware, but are choosing the luxury of capitalist societies, the need to have more and more rather to just use what they already have. The solution of the problem should not be dependent on just these countries, but the people that make up these countries- if we don’t have these two things working together there is no way there will ever be a solution to the problem.

  7. Amanda Howland says:

    1) I think that the climate change conference role-playing exercise was absolutely worth my time. It was a valuable learning experience and taught me a great deal. It showed us what it takes to make a real climate conference actually work, and it gave me an insight in the trouble it takes to make real, climate changing decisions with the rest of the world. One of the major things that I got out it was that it is hard to reach a conclusion on what to do. Even with this being a mock conference, we still debated over a lot of things and quite a few countries were unwilling to give in. If our conference had quite a bit of trouble, I can’t even imagine what it takes for a real conference to reach a conclusion. It really put it all into perspective about these conferences in real life. A lot of cooperation is needed, and overall, I think we did a really good job. However, as our results showed, that even if we do reach a conclusion that satisfies us all, it is too late to completely reverse climate change. Even with every country chipping in to reduce emissions, it is going to take a lot of work to reduce the major effects of climate change, like sea level rise and temperature increase, and not even all of it can be stopped because its already in effect. We came up with good numbers and even then it still wasn’t enough to completely combat climate change.
    2-3) One thing that I would change about this assignment is maybe give us a class period to work on this with you there. I feel like as a class, a lot of us were confused on what exactly to do and it was hard to get everyone to meet. My group, Developing A, had a lot of people in it and it hard to get everyone’s agreement or a time to meet with so many of us. To do this all over again and something I would change for next time is having all the countries present on the first day, we had some time left over that could have been filled by other countries presenting. To achieve this, I would recommend maybe giving each country a strict time limit, like the four minutes and not go over it. That would give every country a single day to give their position and from there spend the rest of the conference discussing. Also, to do differently is maybe to have more guidelines on what we needed to achieve. I feel like we talked kinda in circles each day, and it mostly concerned money. Money was our main focus, and since my country (Singapore) is developing with a lot lower GDP than major countries like the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil and China, I felt as though there wasn’t much to contribute to the conversation since I had no money to dish out. Perhaps going more into depth about how to fix the problem and what each country needs to do would be a little more worthwhile, and not to mention very interesting.
    4) Even though our results were not incredibly realistic or actual in the real world and we were more aggressive about reducing emissions than some of our countries are in real life, we still did not completely reverse climate change with our mock numbers. However, this does not mean we should give up or not even try. It means that we need very aggressive actions to combat climate change and we need to quickly reach a decision on how to reduce emissions. New energy sources quickly need to be found and I feel like each country just needs to give in and completely invest in finding suitable, renewable energy sources that wont produce greenhouse gases. Even though natural gas a lot better fossil fuel then the rest, it does still emit carbon and it not renewable. The world will run out of so it is not a good solution. Each country needs to find out what is best for them and work with the world in combating climate change. Doing nothing would be a bad idea, and even small steps would help overall.

  8. Kelsey Voss says:

    The work that went into the conference was worth my time. The previous reasons we blogged about as to why a role-play would be a good idea were proven to be true. Although grim, it gave me a new perspective on the issue.
    There is one major thing I would change about the assignment. I think there should be a group of scientists present at the conference. The scientists can provide the delegates with more detailed information about renewable energy. Looking up a country and its viewpoints on an issue are one thing, but when we began to come up with solutions, I found that we knew very little about the things we were proposing. The scientists could be in charge with briefing us on each type of renewable energy out there, as well as any new breakthroughs in science we might not be aware of. For example, although we may have been talking about solar panels, we didn’t really know what we were talking about. Scientists would be able to tell us how efficient a solar panel is, and what they cost. (as well as how much energy produced from them) The scientists would tell us more about nuclear power plants, and give us a better idea of what the cost of these things are. This could have led to a more realistic budget.
    One more minor thing I would change is to have everyone present their opening statements before discussion. Also, 5 minutes is a long time to give an opening statement, especially since we were only left with a day or two to actually discuss. My opening statement was not 5 minute long, but I strongly believe I said everything that needed to be said. A lot of countries were talking about things irrelevant to global warming in their statement. I found myself thinking… that’s great, but why do we care? I think having a 3 minute minimum instead of a 5 minute one would defer people from speaking about tangents and would give us more time for discussion.
    Honestly, there is nothing I would do differently. It would have been helpful to research renewable energy in detail. However, I think I put in a lot of work to researching my countries position on the issue, and looking into these things would have been overwhelming, which is why I there should be a group of scientists to help the delegates along (because that is how it is in real life too!).
    Our class definitely suspended disbelief, but that is because our class really wanted to solve the problem. Obviously we shouldn’t give up. We should do everything in our power to curb emissions. However we can’t lose sight of future technologies, which could make a big difference later on. It looks as if science is really all we have left to save us all 😉

  9. Tomoya says:

    1.) I enjoyed the role playing exercise and do feel like it was worth the time I put into it. The issue surrounding the conference was what really had me interested. To take on an issue which required every nations cooperation is exactly what the issue of climate change needs, so it was great that we got a chance to role play what needs to be done in the class room. Though the end results showed that even with the extreme measures taken from each country the change wouldn’t be significant enough, it revealed how much damage humans have brought to the earth.

    2.) The only aspect I would change about the exercise was the grouping of countries. not all countries needed money or faced the same problems from climate change as other countries. Having the majority of countries grouped into developing made it a little difficult to form a group goal on CO2 emission stop and decrease dates. My country, the Philippines, for example had been decreasing since 1997 and didn’t need to make any more drastic steps than what was already being taken. Other than that I think everything worked out and that the class as a whole worked well with the organization of the exercise.

    3.) The only thing I would change would be more participation out of myself at the beginning of the conference. Other than that it was great seeing that everyone was very well prepared to talk about their country. Though the outcome was still grim and that even with unrealistic numbers and cooperation from countries, actions should still be taken in each country so we can at least decrease the harsh effects of climate change.

  10. Mary McClellan says:

    1)I thought it was worth the classes time to do such a project. At first I found the assignment a bit overwhelming because I have never done anything like it before and my political knowledge is lacking but I found that it was easier to keep up with then I had anticipated.

    I feel like I got a sense of accomplishment out of it. I liked seeing the class come together and come to a solution even if it wasn’t a realistic one. I also really enjoyed people’s sense of creativity and humor! Hands on assignments where you really have to try and represent what is going on in real life is something that I don’t think we get to do enough and it was definitely worth it to do so.

    2) As a member of the media I felt like I couldn’t participate as much as the other countries. I really had nothing to contribute to the conversation since I wasn’t really representing a single country or coming to a conclusion as to what money is spent where. I think that if we had played a little more active role other than recapping each day that would be better. One good thing about the media was that when I was doing research on the China Daily, the paper that I was representing, I felt that by reading their actual newspaper I got a really good feel of the countries mindset and not just facts about their GDP, pollution etc.

    3) If I were to do this over again I think I would do one on one interviews with the people representing the countries that I really focused on in my article. This would be what real media would do and it could even serve to influence other countries decision after such a biased report comes out.

    4)It was very sad that we didn’t reduce emissions as much as we thought but I don’t think we should ever stop trying! If anything it really shows how much of a problem there is and that we should try that much harder.

  11. James Cruz says:

    1) Was it worth your time? What did you get out of it?
    Even though it was not feasible for a couple of college students to understand the complexity of the situation, it definitely was worth my time. I feel like we all learned about our own country’s environmental policy as well as other country’s attitude and relation to the environment. We also learned about how difficult it can be to reach an agreement even when the stakes are not higher than our grade in the class. In particular, one thing I learned was the most important in the conference; the necessity of action as soon as possible. I learned this when we put in our ridiculously high numbers of carbon reduction and it was still not enough to reach our goal.

    2) What is one thing you would change about the assignment?
    The one thing I would change about this assignment is to provide at least some structure for the conference. Without structure there is a serious obstacle for any semblance of productivity. Perhaps a lack of structure inspires a heated debate, but a heated debate does not necessarily entail a productive debate. Another suggestion I have is to preface the conference with an emphasis on the process of the negotiations not so much the emphasis on the logistics of lowering our country’s carbon emissions. All throughout the conference we focused on an arbitrary global fund that could not have taken into account every single variable that affects how the fund will be used or even if the fund will be used for its intended purpose. I understand Dr. Rao wants to have an open discussion, but the emphasis on actually reaching a solid number of carbon reduction inclines the students to try to focus on funding the project.

    3) If you were to do it over again, what would you do differently?
    I would have researched other countries much more. I only had researched my country extensively, but I was approaching a global issue through individual action. Even a country as big as China cannot hope to stop and reduce carbon emissions by itself. In a global climate conference every country needs to bare in mind the feasibility of asking for money, giving out money, government oversight and the political institution of other countries before really trying to address the issue. I understand this would have taken a huge amount of research and it probably would not be reasonable for this class to ask this amount of research, but at least a suggestion to keep in mind other countries relationship to our own would starts us off on the right foot.

  12. Emily Sherman says:

    1.) I think this activity was worth our time because we really got to play both parts of wanting to help the environment but we were also very conscience of every aspect the global economy. Usually when climate change policy is discussed in classes it’s only done from the United States perspective. Not only did this activity let us hear other countries’ opinion but it also let us play off one another, argue for a solution, and form alliances as it would have been done in a real conference (not just one country forming a solution, isolated from the other countries).
    2.) If one thing could be changed I would say that this could have been done on the final exam day so that we could have discussed it for a longer amount of time. (Not the countries’ introductions, just the discussion). This would have allowed for a better discussion because time would not have been a constraint and we wouldn’t have had to stop discussion and wait 2 days before we discussed it again.
    3.) If I had the opportunity to do it again, I think that I would have asked for more money (as the Indonesian rep.) for reforestation. Looking back, I think it was unrealistic for me to ask for so little because the solution was way more than what I originally asked for.
    4.) I think that the conclusion of this discussion means that it’s harder than we thought (which was expected) but it only means that we have to try harder, not that we shouldn’t try at all. I thought that the alliances made between countries to fulfill a ‘wedge’ was really impressive. I think that if we were to have more time, we could have made those alliances go together in an overall plan to stop increase emissions and decrease over a period of time. I do think that there is a plausible solution, I just think that more time has to be spent.

  13. James Cruz says:

    Whoops I forgot to include the last part so here it is.

    4. There really is no option, we MUST act because the future of humanity depends on it. Global climate change will and can have dramatic consequences for not only specific countries but all of humanity. All we have to do is refer to An Inconvenient Truth for all that could and will probably go wrong if we do not act. If we keep in mind there is no other alternative all we have is to move forward. Yes, we did not reach our goal but perhaps the most important change we need is to change the way we think about the environment. Technology in the end is only a human product, if we change our attitude about the environment we can change the world. I believe this can be accomplished by either valuing nature for its intrinsic or instrumental value.

  14. Kelly Horvath says:

    1) Overall, I really enjoyed this assignment because it forced me to learn a lot about various efforts to prevent climate change not just in the United States but also from around the world. I enjoyed the idea of role-playing as leader from various countries and allowing everyone to interact with each other. Also, it was interesting to see the final conclusion of our plans. Even though we all worked together to formulate the best, not to mention highly unlikely, plan we could, climate change will strongly affect us within the next century. I think this assignment was a good use of time and learning experience.

    2) One thing I would change is the number of countries represented and the grouping process. I think that we needed a few more developed countries, such as the UK, and less developing A countries. Or, you could take those who represented the media and disperse them to the different groups. Although the media was helpful at the beginning, I think it would have been more interesting to have some additional countries and different viewpoints in the conference. Also, I wish that we were able to use one class to meet with our group so that we could work and ask any questions that came up. It was difficult to meet outside of class to work out a plan, so we had to resort to e-mail which was also confusing.

    3) If I were to do it again, I would conduct more research not only on my country’s problems and solutions but also on climate change as a whole as it affects the world. I feel that I did not participate as much as I should have/wanted to and that was largely due to the fact that I felt unprepared compared to fellow classmates. Also, I really only understood the problem from my country (Brazil’s) standpoint and it would have helped a lot to look at it from other countries’ viewpoint.

    4) The final conclusion definitely surprised me because I knew that our proposal was highly unlikely between the climate change fund and the time allotted to start the carbon dioxide emissions decline. Even though it was the best case scenario, we still did not reach the goal and climate change would still greatly affect the world. However, we did lower emissions and make a slight difference, which is significant. The conclusion just means that we must work harder, our future depends on it.

  15. Tori Wong says:

    1. I agree with everyone in saying that I definitely had fun watching the role-play develop and enjoyed learning about climate relations from such a different perspective. I’m not sure if 2 full weeks were necessary to complete the conference, and definitely would have gotten more out of it if more “countries” had participated fully, but I think our experience over the past 2 weeks has accurately demonstrated the extreme level of cooperation needed to tackle an issue as multi-faceted as global warming. We met outside of class several times during the course of the conference to discuss the format, structure, and particulars of the agreement. I think that the time spent on this, while being one of the only realist aspects of this assignment, is pretty representative of any international conversation.

    2. I think the entire conference would have run more smoothly had we set up a structure to follow before the first day. Multiple “solutions” came up throughout the 2 weeks, and we ended up changing course too many times to be efficient or productive. Before the conference, I brought up the issue of focusing so much of the conference structure on the division of “developed,” “developing A” and “developing B.” I feel like that is still a valid concern because there are SO many different environmental problems occurring in each individual country regardless of their social/economic development.

    3. I think it would have been helpful to review the rhetoric generally used by countries in this sort of conversation. It would have been cool to watch a hearing from the Kyoto Protocol or Copenhagen Climate Conferences to see how actual climate discussions proceed. I have virtually no background in International Affairs, and had a hard time telescoping all my research about my country, policy, potential solutions, past agreements, current CO2 levels, that I didn’t have time to research how international conferences are generally structured.

    4. This question seems kind of silly to me because it makes it seem like we have a choice of whether or not to act on climate change. There is NO choice. We obviously can’t change what we’ve already messed up, but we have to save what’s left and prevent it from expanding further.

  16. Brandy Simpson says:

    1. I definitely felt that this mock conference assignment was worth my time. From this assignment, the class was able to gain a first-hand experience of how grim the outlook is on global climate change. With everyone putting in 2 weeks of hard work into the assignment, I think that the class became really invested in the outcome thus giving the results even more of an impact on the class’ view of global climate change. I also believe that the assignment gave the class a better perspective on the challenges that policy makers deal with on a day-to-day basis in regards to this issue.

    2. If I had to make one change to this assignment, I think the conference could benefit from adding more structure to it. It seemed that a lot of time was wasted on day 2 from trying to just plan what was to be discussed, instead of having an actual discussion about the issue at hand. While time may be a concern, I would also try to push all of the individual country presentations on the first day of the conference.

    3. As a member of the media, I would try to ask more questions of the countries during the conference if I were to do this assignment over again. During the conference, I found it difficult to think of a question that wouldn’t distract from the actual discussion. Looking back on the conference, I could have researched some of the countries’ budgets and questioned them on that.

    4. Even though the results were unfavorable, I don’t believe that we should just stop trying. I think that, by doing every little bit we can, we should at least try to protect what remains and try to curb the rate at which the Earth’s resources are deteriorating.

  17. willbennett2012 says:

    1. It was a nice change in the format of the rest of the class. I expected a lot less to get done and a less meaningful conversation and debate to come out of it than what happened in reality. It was interesting trying to learn enough about a country’s position on something to be able to defend it or make decisions based on what you think it would do.

    2. I think maybe speaking as blocs more often would have been useful. My guess is it would have been easier to incite discussion from people who were less active in discussion if they had been speaking around general ideas from a bloc rather than specific ideas from a country.

    3. I think the debates over money in the two funds got to be a little ridiculous. Obviously none of the class members have ever handled money in that quantity so it was fairly meaningless to us when we were divvying out billions of dollars at a time. Comparing it to national budgets was about as well as I could do to try to guess what sort of impact the money would have.

    4. I have no idea what the ending to the conference means. I was shocked by how little it seems like we can actually do. A lot depends on how reliable the algorithm that our numbers ran through is obviously. The prospects of the planet over the next 100 years look to be pretty devastating and terrifying. I left that class feeling a little bit depressed having seen those reactions to our probably unrealistically lofty numbers. The best I can come up with is that we better hope for a miracle or some really liberal government officials consistently for the next several decades.

  18. Kaley Huston says:

    1) Was it worth your time? What did you get out of it?
    I think the Role Play was an excellent exercise to both educate and engage the class within the realm of environmental issues and politics. Throughout the entire semester we have analyzed the rhetoric of different authors without going on the line to defend our own. By attaching ourselves to a country, such as in my case Peru, it allowed students to become personally responsible for everything that was decided and produced from the climate conference. It also made the reality much bleaker when, at the end of the conference, we realized we had not been able to accomplish as much change as we had hoped. This exercise served as a wake-up call to everyone who participated that everything we are doing, we need to do more. The question is, can we? I struggled whether to come away from this conference with a negative or positive lesson. I’m still struggling with it. During regular discussion classes before the conference, there were the usual suspects as far as participation was concerned. However, during the conference every single person was forced, and rightfully so, to speak their intended mind on the environmental issues at hand. Yes, certain leaders emerged but people whom I had never heard talk before shared insightful and valid opinions. I appreciated their input immensely because it gave them a forced medium with which to feel comfortable enough to have a voice they had previously not put forth.

    2) What is one thing you would change about the assignment?
    The one thing I would change about the assignment was the lack of moderator. I felt there should have been a much more rigid timeline with a leader to make sure we stuck to the topic at hand. I also think all of the individual countries should have presented on day 1, so they could feel more included in the proceedings and get their voice and opinions heard along with the other presenting countries.

    3) If you were to do it over again, what would you do differently?
    I think it would have been great to prepare for this conference by reading and watching environmental and political rhetoric, just so I would have better known what to expect. By learning more about international politics as a whole, I would have been able to understand the other countries’ views on climate change, which would be the case in a real life conference. Any kind of tutorial on Model UN or conference conduct would have been helpful. I was lucky I had experience with Model UN in high school or I might have felt lost.

    4) I think the negative results should do the opposite of deterring us and, rather, fuel the fight against climate change even more. By experiencing these negative results, we should better realize that by doing nothing, we accomplish nothing. By doing little, we accomplish little. These results should empower us to take a stand and do as much as we can to be able to impact Earth’s continuing deterioration.