By Roman, political advisor, in Bali

The scene was like that of a first day class at an open university taught by a nobel laurate. It was a full house, standing room only, with lines outside the door. Those who were able to make it got an incredible lesson on climate change and forests. This is my first COP/MOP and the first side event I ever helped organize… and i felt lucky to be among those in attendance. Class was most definitely in session.

The Governor of Papua, home of Indonesia's largest remaining tropical rainforests, spoke passionately about his people, the forests they depend on, and the need to protect the climate. He said he “stood with Greenpeace in the effort to protect the earth.” and pledged to protect his forests if the world would only help him do so. Next came Paulo Adario, a Greenpeace legend in the forest campaign and head of our Amazon office. Paulo described the many problems of forest destruction in Brazil as well as Greenpeace’s efforts to end all deforestation in the Amazon by 2015. He concluded his statement with the call: No money, no forests, no climate, no future.

Then came Bill Hare, Greenpeace’s chief climate negotiator and another legend in the organization. Deforestation accounts for an astonishing 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions(!), and Bill unveiled Greenpeace’s proposal on saving forests to protect the climate. We need to protect the forests to save the climate… and protect the climate to save the forests.

All things considered, it was one of the best lessons I’ve ever been a part of.