Flew via Sao Paulo on Wednesday to Florianopolis, in Santa Catarina State, for the 2008 Eco Power Conference. The other international speakers were Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown, Fritjof Capra, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore and, on cleantech, Ron Pernick. Asked to do the final keynote, I had come in late and arrived after they had all spoken – but managed to meet up briefly with Lester Brown after his press conference. Happily, my session seemed to go extremely well. Inside, huge interest, especially from young people. Outside, however, the rain scarcely stopped all the time I was there.
People told me the rain had been crashing down for perhaps two months. On the last evening, I was filmed for a documentary, ‘Sector 2.5 – The Film’ by some wonderful people – including Maria Fernanda Gayoso. The rain was still thumping down as I went out to the airport yesterday, Saturday, and the taxi driver kept turning back over his shoulder to express amazement at the sound of the rain drumming on his roof – and the lack of visibility, as he drove along at 85 miles an hour. I was glad to get out and onto solid ground after aquaplaning much of the way.
Despite the huge umbrellas they gave each of us to walk out the plane, I was splashed up to the waist. The tarmac was an inch deep in running water – and I steamed gently for much of the trip back to Sao Paulo. Finished Mrs Lincoln, by Janis Cooke Newman, almost as the plane touched down at Heathrow. Astounding book, a forensic exploration of grief – and a completely different angle on a president struggling with epochal challenges. Almost tempted to start it over again.