28 June 2008

More Norway pictures

The Oil Museum's playground was very popular. It consists of items formerly found on oil rigs and ships. At first glance, it doesn't actually look like a playground. I'm sure the Canadian playground police would disapprove of all the hard surfaces and fun potential.

Elections for the Junior Board, who plan the next conference, were conducted using the UN system of 1 vote per country. This picture is of the Canadian delegates selecting their favourite candidates by region.

Our group was pretty happy to discover that their Macoun Marsh project came first in a Toyota Friends of the Environment competition.

More fun at the Oil Museum playground.

A large sea life mural was created at the conference. It will be displayed at the Beijing Olympics.

We spent a lot of time in this tent at the conference. All of the plenary sessions were held here. It worked pretty well, until the fifth day of rain, when the waterproofing gave out.

Our group hosted a Biodiversity Challenge workshop. There were kids from around the world who played and went away with a lot of Canadian swag.

This is one of the yarn stores in Stavanger. M could spend a lot of time here.

23 June 2008

Some pictures from our Norway trip

We had a barbecue at the Iron Age Farm, a reconstructed farm built on a 3000 year old archeological site.

The view from the Iron Age Farm.

At the opening ceremony there was a parade of the flags of all 105 countries which were represented at the conference.

Madeleine enjoying an ice cream with her friend Stephen on the tour of Stavanger Harbour and the local islands. Unfortunately we didn't get out to the famous Lyse Fjord.

A typical street in old Stavanger.

A view from the campus of Stavanger University.

Stavanger Cathedral, finished in 1125.

Madeleine on one of the many cobblestone streets in downtown Stavanger.

Madeleine learned to spin and dye wool during one of the workshops at the Iron Age Farm.

These enormous bronze swords are a monument to the battle of Hafrsfjord in the year 872, when Harald HÃ¥rfagre (Fairheaded Harald) united Norway into one kingdom. The swords, which are about 10 meters tall, stand for peace and unification. This site is just outside the gate of the Madla Camp, the army camp where we stayed.

20 June 2008

Beautiful Stavanger

The highlight of my day yesterday was a quick trip to Stavanger, a city of 113,000. What a liveable place. Much of the downtown is pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and even the other streets have a very safe feel. Cars all drive slowly (that's what 13 kroners/litre will do), there aren't too many of them (ditto), and the drivers are courteous to an extreme. The streets are very narrow, but cars are very secondary. There are lots of scooters. I don't think I've seen 2 cars in any driveway. We were in town after most of the shops had closed but there were many people walking the streets and enjoying the place. I have seen Ikea here, but no other big box stores, and certainly no big box mall monstrosities.

When I get back I'll post pictures and more descriptions.

19 June 2008

The real reason fresh water is scarce in much of the world

- it's currently all in Stavanger falling in the form of continuous rain.

Enough on that.

The week is going by quickly and the kids are participating in all kinds of activities. The schedule is very busy for kids especially, so they're certainly getting their money's worth. I've been very impressed with some of the kids, especially a boy named Felix from Germany who is working on Climate Justice. He's 11 and organizes a lot of tree planting events, but when he gets everyone together he speaks on climate justice. It's far more complex than the standard plant a tree and sort your garbage solutions that everyone else drones on about. Google "climate justice" and I'm sure there will be lots of information on that.

I've got to pick M up from her Action Group. More info later.

18 June 2008

Some Things I'm Learning at the UN Conference

  1. People are all the same.
  2. People are really different.
  3. Birds have accents.
  4. Corporate representatives from oil companies should not give power point presentations to 700 children and 300 adults who haven't had a pee break in 3 hours.
  5. If you get up at 5:00 am the lineup for showers won't be very long.
  6. There are some pretty amazing children in the world.
  7. Life can be very lovely, even if gas is $2.65/litre.
  8. If there's a seedy side to Norway, they're hiding it well.
  9. There is breathtaking beauty in this country.
  10. There appear to be no mosquitoes or squirrels in Stavanger.

16 June 2008

Norway update

After a very long trip we finally got here yesterday afternoon local time. We were completely beat from having had just about no sleep all night but we're mostly rested up now and enjoying our first full day here. We're in a 10 room dorm which has extremely basic amenities. The kids are all thrilled because there are bunkbeds, and not much else matters beyond that if you're a kid. There are limited washrooms and showers (communal) and our room is directly over the main entrance so it's very noisy. Hopefully, tonight will be quieter as people are settled in more. Oh yeah, the food is really cold for some mysterious reason. The "messebygge" (Mess Hall) is a brand new glass structure with high tech everything so maybe they haven't sorted out the steam tables yet. But......Stavanger is amazingly beautiful and after the jet lag wears off I'm sure we'll settle in to the routine here and be just fine. There are people here from everywhere.... we're sharing our room with people from Herzegovia, Azerbaijhan, some African country yet to be determined as they just arrived and somewhere in Russia near the Ural mountains.

We're visiting the University of Stavanger for the first time today. It's where we'll spend most of our time over the next week. It's very modern and quite a contrast from the military camp where we're sleeping. People watching is proving to be one of the most interesting pastimes as there are people here from literally everywhere. Norway has a familiar feel to it, perhaps a sign I've spent too much time at Ikea over the years. It seems that every Norwegian speaks perfect English, especially if they're under 25, so we're not getting much practice using our three Norwegian words.

The conference itself officially starts tomorrow and I'll try to keep the blog updated with anything interesting. I'll have pictures on the blog when we get home.


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