Bali report card

Samlara Canin-Henkel from Clunes has a pretty important job for a 15-year-old.

Shes been at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, which runs from December 3-14, reporting on whats been happening for the NSW Education Department. She was invited to host a live webcast that was streamed to several NSW schools and is also writing reports that will be used as an educational resource next year.

This is the first of Samlaras reports, written during the first week of the conference.

I arrived at the Conference Centre in Bali on Monday morning. After registering as an NGO delegate, I was given the news that Australia had just received a huge ovation at the announcement that our new government was going to ratify the Kyoto Protocol!!

In this first week, small groups have been discussing technical elements of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week the world leaders arrive including Australias new prime minister, Kevin Rudd. On Monday, the president of Indonesia will launch a campaign to save the orangutans. Leonardo Di Caprio, Al Gore and Terri Irwin are also expected to arrive sometime during the second week.

There have been many actions and demonstrations around the conference site this week, including Uncle Sam chopping down three large inflatable trees, homeless polar bears, and a troupe of Balinese dancers doing a spectacular representation of the importance of tropical forests.

I also attended a press conference where the Indonesian Minister of Forestry gave a very positive announcement about Indonesias future plans to protect their forest. He gave his support to the REDD concept Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation that is being widely debated here in Bali.

Greenpeace has put up a massive thermometer outside the Conference area to highlight the rising temperature of the world. There are 14,000 people here, and the security is very intense and scary. There are men with sunglasses and machine guns looking very intimidating, and the security cameras scan the underneath of all vehicles entering the area.

The press are absolutely everywhere and technology plays a major part at the conference. Definitely the most popular place is the wireless lounge which is full of people with their ears glued to their mobile phones and their eyes glued to their laptops.

All in all, there is a buzz in the air that something amazing is going on here. I am witnessing the gathering of the largest group of people ever assembled to deal with the biggest challenge facing humanity the future of our planet.


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