Monday, October 21, 2019

The Future We Want





















Thanks to Mayor Adler and his appointment of me to be a Special Envoy for the City, Dr. D and I found ourselves on a 777 headed for Paris in early October.  We were ultimately headed for Copenhagen which would be the site of the World Mayor's Summit, a C 40 event dealing with climate change.

We decided to spend several days in Paris, mostly to see my pal Jim Haynes.  Jim has been my anchor in Paris for over 30 years ever since he spent the night at one of my apartments in Austin in the late 80s while he was on a book tour.

Jim Haynes is the guy in Paris who has a Sunday night dinner at his house in the 14th arr. every Sunday, and he has been doing that for decades.  This from Wikipedia :

In 1966 Haynes relocated to London in the middle of the "swinging 60s". He became deeply involved in the underground cultural scene, co-founding the alternative paper International Times, known as "I.T.", together with Barry Miles, John Hopkins, and others.[1]
In September 1967 Haynes co-founded the Drury Lane Arts Lab space for mixed-media; it closed in late 1969. That year he co-launched with William Levy, Germaine Greer and Heathcote Williams Suck newspaper in Amsterdam to promote sexual freedom; it was also distributed in the United Kingdom. The first issue contained a long and unrestrainedly descriptive erotic poem attributed to W. H. Auden and an explicit photo of Germaine Greer.
In 1968 he co-founded Videoheads with Jack Henry Moore in London.
In 1969 Haynes moved to Paris, where he taught Media Studies and Sexual Politics for 30 years at the University of Paris. He frequently held open house dinner parties on Sundays in Paris, and published an irregular newsletter about his life and times. In addition he has written an autobiographical memoir, titled Thanks for Coming."
We were pleased to learn that Jim was still holding his dinners but now just the first Sunday of the month.  We had learned from other mutual friends who had just come back from Paris that Jim had a serious health event  that had knocked him off his feet for several months, but that he was on the mend.  (He was born in 1933)

We elected to take the Uber deluxe down to his place in Alesia.  It's hard for me to say something nice about Uber, but in this case it is easy.  They were fast, efficient, and reasonable.

Jim is such a good and genuine human being.  He loves people.  And he has touched perhaps a half a million lives in his soon to be 86 years. His autobiography is worth the read.  And the documentary of his life entitled Meeting Jim  should soon see distribution.

In one of my favorite escapades, Jim once developed and printed up an Earth Passport.

As he said, "I got into a little trouble for that"





















By Tuesday, we were on our way to Copenhagen for the Summit.  We arrived a few days early so we could see and walk the city.  I had been told that the city employed bicycle transportation extensively but you have to see it to believe it.  Fully 50% of all trips are made on bicycles of every stripe. Whether it is raining, you have children, or you are an executive, Copenhagen loves their bikes.

At the C 40 Summit, the production values were really strong.  Bloomberg does it right.  The curved screen behind the speakers was at least 100 feet wide.  It was a strong backdrop for great speeches from Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, from Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of LA, for Al Gore, for the Secretary General of the UN, for the Mayor of Rome, and for the Mayors from every continent.

When I bumped into one Mayor, I asked how big is Karachi?  "Guess?" he said.  "A lot!" I responded.

He responded 30,000,000.  I said if he was a state in the US he would be the 2nd most populous.

He liked that.

The closing speech was delivered  by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and it was a hum-dinger.  Inside the naturally lit, tree covered conference hall, once empty seats were now taken.  She spoke passionately of a Global New Green Deal.  The standing ovation she received agreed.  And the new Chairman of C40, Eric Garcetti is on board with that direction.























The 100 Mayors attending represented 25% of World production and population.  Inside that Summit, the future we want not only seemed possible, it became an imminent reality.  For two days I lived in a bubble of hope that we just don't get to feel in the US.

Now that bubble must harden into a crystal ball of prophesies and actions that will transform the entirety of our little blue ball so it will once again become a suitable habitat for all of life.

The Future we Want,

Must become the Future we Demand.

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