I feel quite privileged, and a little worried, about being asked to mentor at the 5th Geoengineering Summer School in Heidelberg. It's nice to see some old friends and some fresh new minds (I hope that geoengineering doesn't feel completely normal to the newbies and that I do not in any way normalise it). I am going to write a short post on each day (yes, I am already a day late, thanks for the prompt Anthony Jones), starting with Monday 28th July.
'Today' was a day of introductions, both in terms of people and basic knowledge. The first session was a round-the-room introduction where we were obliged to stand up and introduce ourselves when our photos appeared on screen. I thought it would be great to introduce some humour and settled on 'Hi, my name is Matt Watson and I am an alcoholic', intended as a statement that (a) I found the whole thing a little uncomfortable, (b) a wry nod that some 'geoengineers' keep themselves in the closet somewhat (or at least it is not a particularly fun thing to admit) and (c) an admission that I have found being the SPICE PI a stressful experience. Not completely convinced it was the right thing to do. It was great to see people from other than Europe and the US, with several representatives from Africa.
I found one talk, by David Morrow, particularly interesting. I cannot really quote him as we agreed Chatham House Rules but his talk was very engaging and provided a new philosophical viewpoint of people considering geoengineering, particularly around researchers opinions of the anthropocene and our relationship with nature. In general I am not sure that Chatham House Rules really help here, I agree it does allow for a certain anonymity but I suspect most folks would be happy being attributed, I know I would. It also engenders an air of secrecy which is neither appropriate nor really necessary. I worry it is becoming an habit at meetings like this.
In other news, Pat Mooney feels the heat from chemtrailers for being funded by the Ford Foundation and the CIA (not completely sure if this is true, but it will be interesting to see how ETC group respond) and calling chemtrails an urban myth. Good to see it coming back around...