I have been in Warsaw for two days now, and wow! It is an amazing city. Both yesterday and today I took went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city, and was able to visit the Palace of Science and Culture, the Royal Castle, Oldtown, the National Gallery of Art (a contemporary art museum), and a variety of shops and parks! The city has a rich history, especially surrounding the Second World War and the communist takeover of Poland in the latter half of the 20th century. Many of the buildings are characterized by either being the original buildings or being re-buildings of structures blown up by the Nazis during the war. Stalin was a major influence as well, and there are many memorials constructed to celebrate the Russians– the Palace of Science and Culture in fact was a “gift” from Soviet Russia to Communist Poland. A significant portion of Poles dislike this building because they view it as a sign of Soviet control, yet is still stands as the tallest building in Warsaw.
Tomorrow the COP19 conference begins, and the knowledge and background we have been preparing all semester is put to the test. (For more information on what COP is, please visit unfccc.int) We have been setting up our schedule, and tomorrow we will be attending the Opening Plenary from 10-1 pm (Warsaw time), and following that will be going to a session “What to Expect in Warsaw from the Negotiations”. We hope to explore the exhibits during the afternoon, and hopefully make contact with people interested in sharing their knowledge with our delegation.
I am part of the research team working on the implementation of REDD+ (visit theredddesk.org) in the Amazonian basin.