Posted by: Emmanuel Smith,
I awoke this morning to the unnecessarily loud alarm clock at 5:00am. We arrived at the Bella Center at 6:30am via the S line metro. At that point, we were not the first people to get in line for registration, which opened at 8:00am. It was cold. And dark. A few minutes after 8am, the guards allowed us to move forward and after a near stampede we found ourselves in another line for a “quick” security check. Note to self: you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the 30 or so security lines as Chris found out after a guard swarmed on him within seconds of snapping a photo.
Once through security, we found ourselves in yet another line to get our actual passes and photo IDs and were finally able to enter the conference at about 9:15. We made a mad rush to one of the first talks of the day where Dr. Menas Kafatos was a panel member with representatives from the Korea Green Foundation, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, and Green Korea United to give a talk on Building Asia Network for responding to Climate Change. It was a good talk and clips of the video will be up soon. After that we were able to do start to take everything in around us.
The Bella Center is simply massive, and was pretty much full by 11:00am. We met up with our hosts from the Korea Green Foundation and RTCC after getting slightly lost in the maze booths. After a quick lunch our group split up to go to the various talks, panels and other events. Camera crews and reporters buzzed around every where you looked. People were energetic and the atmosphere could be understated as “lively”. I headed to Al Gore’s talk on Greenland’s ice sheet – Melting snow and ice. Whoops, I was 30 minutes early for the talk, yet about an hour too late to get in line. The room was already filled to capacity and a mob of camera crews were shoving their cameras through the cracked doorway hoping for a glance (me included).
The rest of the day was spent wandering the Bella Center, collecting literature, passing out Chapman literature, talking to people in the various booths (no shortage on those by the way), trying to get a seat in full conference halls, absorbing as much as I could. Finally feeling the lack of sleep from a day and a half of traveling and the weight of heavy duty recycled paper strapped over my shoulders I found the first chair I could find and watched the conference swirl around me in full swing. Many of these people have been doing this for a week already, and I was seriously wondering if I could last the day. I’d go through the schedule of events but there’s just too much to list here. Tomorrow will be better after some much needed sleep. Until then.