I got to Baltimore in the early
afternoon. Before I went to the meeting I had to find my hotel
room and drop off my bag. On the way there I saw this great bike
Once I got there they were in
process on workshops. I went to the one where the speaker was
David Doonan, a Village Mayor from Greenwich, New York. He talked
about his challenges. Turns out that he had inherited an abandoned
mill and put enormous energy into getting the site to become a
productive resource for the community. The battle is still going
on. It's not a simple problem. It was great listening to the
problems of governance in an old rural town.
After supper there was a forum for
international greens. The MC was this woman, coordinator of the
international green party working group.
The first speaker was Dr. Joachim
Denkinger, Deputy Secretary General of the GREENS/EFA Group
(Greens in the European Parliament). He explained that because the
Greens are an international party, we are key to European
integration, in that many of the delegations have green party
members on them. We are often on the forefront on international
issues like the environment.
Toussaint Hinvi of Benin was the only African that spoke to us. He
said that many of Africa's worst environmental problems are caused
by extraction industries pushed by American companies like Exxon
and Chevron. He pointed out that as Americans we (he said you)
have more access to them than his people could dream of getting.
He called on us to make those companies better global citizens.
We listened carefully. I hope his
words resonate widely.
Rick Leckinger represented New
Zealand. He said that "like you we have banks running amok", among
other things. He also said that "unlike you, we have a growing
block of Greens in Parliament." Turns out their Green group in
Parliament is up to fifteen members and still growing. He also
mentioned being an American expat who remembered living just a few
blocks from where we met.
I didn't catch the name of the other
guy. He was the representative of a German foundation that invests
money in good ideas.
After the meeting there was
considerable schmoozing. The Kiwi gave me a "door prize", a Green
pin. I gave him a MEND YOUR FUELISH WAYS sticker. He said it would
end up on the bicycle of their Parliamentarian who specializes in
bicycle related issues. I told him I'd be honored by that.
What I really remember of the time
was the general murmur of interesting conversations in the cooler
evening air. This building across the street was so interesting I
couldn't resist taking a picture of it.