05/05/2010 04:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Voices From the Hopenhagen Ambassador Contest

On Sunday morning, while still in bed, I received a call.

Me: "Hello?"
Phone: "David, hello, this is Katherine Goldstein with the Huffington Post. I'm calling to let you know you have been chosen to be the Hopenhagen ambassador."
Me, jumping out of bed and running around the apartment: "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!"
Katherine: "So, I guess you accept the position?"

After confirming that my loud monkey-like hooting was a "yes," Katherine and I talked logistics. I would fly to New York later in the week (now today) for media training, and then fly to Denmark on Friday night, where I will be representing the citizens of Hopenhagen. (If you missed the video contest - click here.)

The goal of Hopenhagen is twofold: 1) To communicate to people of the world the importance of the Copenhagen conference and 2) To share with our leaders your hopes for a solution to climate change. As the Hopenhagen ambassador, it's my job to share your messages with our leaders and report back to you.

Winning this opportunity is an enormous honor--especially because many other contestants were worthy and capable of representing you. I thus asked a few other contestants for their messages of hope. I asked:

1) Give a short bio of yourself.
2) What gives you hope at Copenhagen?
3) What message(s) do you want to send to the delegates?


Victor de Salles Brasil

1) I'm Victor Brasil, born in 1987, state of Bahia, Brazil; since I was a kid, my passions were people, music, book and environment; I clearly remember a trip to a mountain region in order to talk to an isolated black community that preserves slave traditions; there I climbed a 1.958m mountain (extreme sports is another hobby). I have made songs about going green and environmentalism, 'cause I'm sure that we'll only win this battle against those that don't care for the environment if we get people into it. Then I studied in UEFS Biology Institute including an etno-anthropologic research; and now I'm pretty passionate about environmental law in the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). (Victor has two songs on youtube you can watch: "Going Green" and "Hopenhagen")

2) I'm seeing that people has been assuming an active citizenship, they're more conscious about their role towards the environment. This is what gives me hope.

3) My message to the delegates is: the world is crying out loud for change. Many changes. Let's start with climate change which is something that affects every single person on Earth. Listen to them. My message to you, David, is to show in Copenhagen every little thing that you have learned in the past years with research and bike traveling. And have the time of your life.


Graeme Somerville
1) I'm a 6th grade science teacher and 7TH grade geography teacher - Pasadena CA. I'm an outdoor educator, environmentalist, former scientist, geographer. world traveler, mountaineer.

2) I have hope that the leaders, delegates and dignitaries understand fully the magnitude of the event they are currently attending. I also hope that they remember first and foremost that this is a message they are sending to our kids. I am hoping that they step up and go beyond expectations, and look at the world from a global perspective rather than an insular and introspective view based on politics and economics. I also hope that they will forge a commitment to a sustainable future that creates 'new' jobs and a healthy economy based on this.

3) I am a science teacher. I hope more than anything I can report good news from Copenhagen to my students.


Kerry Trueman

1) I'm an environmental activist and blogger who advocates conservation over consumption

2) The galvanizing force of grassroots groups like yours--people power is the ultimate renewable energy source.

3) Industrial agriculture is the leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. It's time to free the world from the fossil fuel food chain!


Jim Killingsworth

1) I'm a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran who after returning from Vietnam became active. I was a social worker and community activist/organizer in my younger years before becoming a management consultant internally within a public utility company before starting my own company. I'm now retired.

2) That people my age are involved and getting more involved every day in environmental issues. I'm also encouraged by President Obama's decision to shift his attendance to the end of the conference rather than the first. It will lend more credibility and American leadership to the final product.

3) Environmental interest is no longer a fringe issue with what many have believed are only "tree hugger" but is now a mainstream issue with not millions, but billions of mainstream people looking to them for leadership and answers.


Anna Brones

1) I'm a writer and social media strategist with a love for travel, sustainable design and the outdoors. I've lived in Sweden, France, Guadeloupe and the Pacific Northwest and traveled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia. I co-founded Under Solen Media, a consulting firm where we develop social media marketing strategies to positively align brands, causes and adventurers. Before that I worked as an editor for Wend Magazine, so you could say that my passion for tying adventure and activism together has been around for awhile.

2) The fact that social media has allowed so many people around the world to be connected and interact with the conference without physically being there. It's inspiring that there's a solid web media blitz happening right now, all focused around the conference and the debate surrounding climate change. With so many voices, it's going to be hard for delegates to ignore the fact that the global population wants change.

3) We need solid global action in order to set an infrastructure in place that facilitates living more sustainable lifestyles. It's a well known fact that reaching global agreements is no easy matter, but when it comes to climate change, countries need to get on the same page. This isn't just an environmental issue; it's a humanitarian, social, economic, and cultural one that affects ALL countries.


Diane MacEachern

1) I am a long-time environmental activist, small business entrepreneur, and best-selling environmental author. I've spent over 30 years working to mobilize the public to protect the planet. My latest book, Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, has been called "the big green bible" for the many practical but inspirational suggestions it makes to help us stop climate change, reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, and clean up pollution.

2) The fact that so much of the discussion at Copenhagen is focused on "how" rather than "why" gives me hope. Previous international gatherings have devoted hours debating why we should act, even though proof has been accumulating for decades that we should! Copenhagen is rightly focused on how we can act to bring climate change under control.

3) The delegates will do well to keep the impact climate change has on people's lives front and center. There will be a tendency to focus on money and politics during the talks as the delegates consider how climate change strategies might affect their business interests or political office. But the impact climate change has on people - especially on poor women and children, the aged, and those living with compromised immune systems - is reason enough to take action. I hope the delegates will be selfless in the commitments they make and fearless in the goals they set.


Laura Robert-Niner

1) Co-founder and CEO, Ms. Laura Roberts formed Pantheon Enterprises, Inc. with a fierce commitment to shattering the myth that green technologies are less effective and more expensive. Dubbed "The Toxic Avenger" by Forbes Magazine (Forbes Article) and "tree-hugging elementary school teacher" by Inc. Magazine) Inc. Article, Roberts is the innovator and leading force behind the company's strategic development. Following a comprehensive market analysis, Roberts co-managed development, testing and OEM approvals for Pantheon's entire line of non-hazardous, environmentally safe chemical products. Now a global leader in the several industries including aerospace, Pantheon's mission continues with the development and commercialization of products that promote sustainability, health and safety, and social responsibility.

2) I have hope because the U.S. and China seem to be seriously at the table. And irrespective of the fact that there is a contingent of folks who seriously doubt global warming, there seems to be consensus with most that pollution, waste and alternative energy are worthy of stern discussion.

3) It is time to lead. It is a pivotal point in history in which we need to find a way to motivate people across the globe to feel compelled to act - to rally to a common cause - and to first and foremost realize we are all in this together.

The definition of "Sustainability" should evolve and mean something closer to - the "long term health, safety, happiness, freedom and viability of the human race"...

Perhaps that is something that more individuals - from every political, ethnic, religious and business walk of life can get their head around...


Dr. Toni Bark

1) I have a medical degree from Rush medical college in Chicago, 86, I received my LEED accreditation in 03 and started the first sustainable design and build store in Chicago and co-founded a renewable energy company with my husband, American Renewable Energy. We design and install geothermal, CHP, solar PV and wind for residential and large commercial institutions. I have been encouraging my patients to lead a more sustainable life by reducing the amounts of meat and dairy in their diet as well as avoiding all fast food chains. I was part of an initiative to have the American medical association vote on school programs having to offer alternatives to meat and dairy at school lunches. I have one son, a step son and a foster son from Rwanda.

2) I don't know what gives me hope at Copenhagen other than people around the world are getting together to possibly come up with solutions. I just want the solutions to be real and not just talk.

3) We need to stop subsidizing the wrong kinds of farming and industries. We also need to farm in a more sustainable way.


Do you have a message of hope that you want to share? Email with "Hope Message" as the subject. In your email, answer the question: "What gives you hope that we can solve climate change?"