Along the main corridor connecting venues of the Marrakech climate summit stands a foot-high sculpture, of a nurse caring a globe, made with trash jars, rusty nails and screws, entitled “Our mother Earth is sick.”

Similar pieces of artwork dot the site of the United Nations conference, where delegates were bickering over how to save the “sick mother.”

Although a broad consensus looked unlikely at the gathering, Marrakech has showcased a model of green ideas and moves, with its diligent actions through the whole process of the conference.

REUSABLE STRUCTURES

Located at the Bab Ighli, which was a gate to old Marrakech city, the whole conference site covers 25 hectares, of which 10 hectares hosts light structure.

In keeping with the message of sustainability at the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), all the buildings at the site will be reused after the summit and distributed to local associations.

The “Marrakech” hall, the main venue, is made of identical wooden elements without any trimming or architectural siding; a building of two symmetrical restaurants is constructed from sustainable materials; and an enormous canopy is formed into tensile tented structure, translucent and waterproof, which protects the aisles and corridors from hot climate conditions.

Particularly, the predominant use of oriented structural board in pavilions and structures of exhibition corners ensured flexibility during construction, which will be easy to dismantle after the event.

GREEN SERVICES

The services during the conference are also in line with the green principle, echoing the historic December 2015 Paris Agreement, which took effect on Nov. 4 this year and has been ratified by 111 parties.

Environmentally-friendly exterior lighting is facilitating optimal energy efficiency, while 90 solar panels and solar trees are contributing to the power generation.

Most of the art decorations, display booths, posters and display walls are made of recycled or reusable materials, showing stunning pictures of global catastrophic impacts by climate change.

On both sides of the main corridor, a set of three trash cans are placed about every 20 meters for three waste categories, namely “paper,” “plastic” and “others.”
For transportation, around 50 Chinese electric buses are serving COP22, while arrays of French self-service bicycles wait outside the venues.

NOT A SHOW

As China’s special representative on climate change affairs, Xie Zhenhua, stressed here, fighting climate change needs more actions than just making shows.

What Morocco has been doing echoes the Chinese official’s assertion. Its green campaign goes far beyond the 25-hectare site during the 12-day spotlight summit.

No plastic bags are served at any mall, supermarket, convenience store, or street kiosk in Marrakech, which in fact has become a strategy in the entire country.

A landmark bill was passed by the Moroccan parliament last October, and entered into force on July 1 this year to ban the production, import, sale and distribution of plastic bags across the country.

The ban is part of a larger environmentally conscious effort across Morocco to go green, which, along with ambitious goals to crackdown on carbon emissions, has turned the country into a green leader among developing nations.

Before the ban, Morocco was the world’s second-largest plastic bag consumer after the United States, using about 3 billion such bags annually, or 900 for each Moroccan.

However, earlier worries that consumers may need years to fully adapt to the ban turned out to be ill-founded.

Where there is a will, there is a way. So is the human struggle against global warming. Enditem

Source: Xinhua writers Zhang Xu, Tang Peipei/NewsGhana.com.gh

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