Green living & the Paris Climate Talks

Energy station
COP21 participants cycle to recharge their batteries. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

From free rides in electric cars to stations that allow participants to cycle in order to recharge their batteries, the Paris climate talks have offered options to ‘live green’.

“It is young, but it must be the future,” said Lorent Darrigarand of the electric car, the Renault ZOE.

He is the driver one of the Renault ZOE fleet of motocars made freely available to participants for transport to and from their hotels.

According to Darrigarand, it cost only 2 Euros to park and fill up on gas for the electric car in Paris, while it would cost 5 Euros to park a gas car in the city — on top of the cost for petrol.

The car, he said, runs about 140 kilometres before needing a refill — perfect for going to and from work within city limits.

It also handles well, with an easy pick-up and virtually noise-free engine.

The ZOE can be purchased for about 15,000 Euros, Darrigarand revealed in a conversation with the Gleaner.

But it has not stopped there at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) that constitutes the talks, where paper and cardboard are materials that make up chairs on show at one booth.

At the same time, welcome bags — some red, others green — and sections of the venue are made from repurposed material.

There are, too, several sorting bins — labeled with the message ‘Give value to your waste’ — that allow easy and appropriate separation of plastics from paper and organic items.

Bin
One of the sorting bins at COP21 which encourages “give value to your waste’. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

In addition, in buying a warm beverage from Alto Café, participants pay forward a Euro — on top of the cost of the drink — for the ‘Eco Cup’ in which it is served. Should participants return the cup, they are reimbursed the Euro.

Eco Cup
The Eco Cup that earns its holder one Euro back of money spent for a warm beverage. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

“It’s encouraging to see that the organisers are doing as we would say in Jamaica, ‘dance a yaad before you dance abroad’,” said journalist Desmond Brown, who has been covering the talks.

“The steps I see being taken here, though small, tell me the organisers are not only talking the talk about saving the earth, they are walking the walk,” he added.

Together, the efforts count toward making the negotiations climate neutral “by measuring and reducing the carbon footprint” of participants who have flown from across the globe to be present.

 

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Author:

I am a Jamaican journalist, writer, development worker and nascent 'social media student'. I have had a longstanding interest in environmental reporting, thanks in part to my first editor and good friend, Charmaine Clarke, who threw me, head first, into the coverage of same. I have no regrets.

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