Rob's Journal from the UN Climate Change Conference
SCI Representative, Rob Tyrrell, shares his time at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain by capturing the sights and sounds of COP25. We are excited to share a special insight into Rob’s experience through the following series of excerpts from his travel journal.
“No firewood, no fuel! Just sunlight!” That is how SCI has greeted many visitors to our booth here at COP.
My name is Rob Tyrrell and I have been lucky enough to be here with the SCI team at COP. We’re only a few days into the conference and I can already see how important it’s been for SCI to be here! It has been so powerful to see the impact SCI has had here, because many visitors to our booth knew nothing about solar cooking. “You can cook with just sunlight, really?” That has been the reaction of many visitors, drawn to our booth by the bright, shiny solar cookers we had out front. It has been gratifying to see that many people who desperately need affordable, effective cooking solutions are seeing solar cooking as that solution. When a visitor looks at a solar cooker for the first time and realizes that her entire village can cook food without any fuel, that connection is very powerful. It makes being here worthwhile! I look forward to more of these connections as the conference continues – stay tuned!
Solutions – that is why we are here at COP! I witnessed a great solution being born just the other day when we stopped by an exhibition from Institut de la Francophonie pour le Développement Durable (IFDD). That organization came to COP just to find solutions like the one that we can provide! The Institut de la Francophonie pour le Développement Durable (IFDD) needed to find ways to feed populations across 88 countries without destroying their forests and without paying for fuel. We were able to meet with them to discuss how solar cookers could help solve their problems. It has been wonderful to connect with them. If SCI had not been here at COP, that connection would not have been made. I feel lucky to have watched a solution be born!
Connecting people with solutions – that is why we’re here! One of the best things about the SCI booth at COP was how it showed visitors an immediate solution to a problem. One morning, a gentleman from Uganda stopped by, drawn by the shiny solar cookers on display. He knew about solar cooking and wanted to start, but he did not know who to talk to for help. We told him SCI has a Global Advisor in Kampala who is already an expert solar cook. He was very excited! Being able to help people find local contacts in their area has been very satisfying.
New relationships! Another critical benefit of being here at COP has been making new contacts, just from chance encounters in the hallway. Yesterday we happened to pass a small group taking a picture, who were conversing in French. Our Science Director, Alan Bigelow, started chatting them up, while they noticed the solar cooker that we were carrying. They were very curious! This led to an unplanned, but very productive, half-hour discussion about the solar cooker and how their group could use them. We talked about cooking different kinds of foods, how to make cookers, how long the cookers last and more. The group was very eager to get more information! This connection would not have been made if SCI had not been here, and it was gratifying to see it happen.
*Photo credits: Rob Tyrrell and Mike Paparian