It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the “historic” COP21 agreement, wherein a majority of the world settled on goals for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Since then, I’ve been asked by countless family members at holiday gatherings how my experience in Paris was and what I think of the agreement that came out of the conference. I’ve struggled to convey my feelings to them, unsure of how to put into words the mixed feelings I have about COP21.

It’s 7:30 pm in Denver, CO, where my Iceland Air flight took off from a few hours ago. After we land, I’ll have a brief stopover in Reykjavik en route to Paris, France. Following years of unsuccessful climate change conferences and the tragic and barbaric attacks on Paris a few weeks ago that almost brought the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to a halt before it’d even begun, the world waits with bated breath to see what will come of these ever-important climate change negotiations.