I can’t believe that it’s still less than 3 weeks since I arrived in Tarawa. Already the 104 days I spent on the ocean seem like a fast-fading dream as I get back up to speed and start looking forward in earnest to Copenhagen.
I was delighted with the way that things worked out in Tarawa. Thanks to Nicole, Ian, Conrad and Hunter, I was able to leave the Brocade clean, shipshape and fully functioning, and safely ensconced in the Marine Training Centre.
Getting to meet the President of Kiribati was a very special occasion. We had a long chat about his hopes and concerns for his country. Kiribati really is on the edge of existence, literally and figuratively. Few countries are more remote, and with no point of land higher than 6 ft above sea level, few countries are more vulnerable. It boggled my mind to think how I would feel if my own country was expected to disappear in the next 40 years – the places where I had been born, gone to school, made friends and created a life, all gone. Yet the President is facing this challenge with courage and pragmatic realism. If only all heads of state were as clear-sighted about the impacts of climate change.
The President and I now find ourselves in the same place yet again, half a world away from our last meeting. He is in New York for the UN General Assembly. We’ve been trying to coordinate another meeting, but his schedule has been packed so far – as, indeed, has mine.
It was a last-minute decision to come to New York for Climate Week, but well worth the mad dash to get here. At the Age of Stupid premiere I was able to do a couple of media interviews and also met Ed Miliband, the UK’s Minister for the Environment. Last night I was in DC for the Ocean Champions reception – a fun chance to catch up with friends and fellow ocean campaigners including Margo Pellegrino of Miami2Maine paddling fame. Thanks to David Wilmot and all the Champs for a great evening, and to Shaw Thacher, tireless activist and kind provider of a couch for the night. Great also to see Doug DeMark there, the photographer who earlier this year took some great pictures of a rather tubbier me by Chesapeake Bay.
I am writing this blog on the train on the way back to New York to meet with my editor at Simon & Schuster as we prepare for my book tour. You might have noticed we have a new section on the website for upcoming events. You’ll see details there of the book tour, as well as my forthcoming presentations – one for the Ocean River Institute at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and for National Geographic in Washington, DC. Both are open to the public, so I hope to see you there!
Tonight I’m having dinner with Naomi, one of Roz’s Regulars. This will be the first time we have met in person. We’ll be eating at Pure Food and Wine, a rawfood restaurant in Irving Place, NYC. Looking forward to it. See you tonight, Naomi!
Tomorrow I’ll be packing for the Climate Ride, a 300-mile bike ride from New York to Washington DC which starts on Saturday. I’m a bit worried about it – I’ve been pounding the exercise bike in the gym this week, trying to rediscover my cycling muscles, but I think I lost them somewhere mid-Pacific! I’ll be blogging and Tweeting from the road, so you can find out how I get on.
Assuming I survive the ride, the event culminates in a bike rally in front of the Capitol next Wednesday. All are welcome to come and join me and the other 150 riders. Attendees include Bracken Hendricks, senior Fellow at Center for American Progress; an architect of clean-energy portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; founding executive director of the Apollo Alliance, Betsy Taylor, founder and President of the Center for a New American Dream, co-founder and now President of the Board of Directors of the 1Sky Education Fund, and various Members of Congress (TBA).
So life is hectic – but very good. No time to rest on my laurels when we have a planet to save!