World Team Now Bestows Inaugural ‘Pioneer for the Planet’ Award
To Ocean Conservationist Fabien Cousteau
NEW YORK and MALIBU, CA – World Team Now, a non-profit organization devoted to the sustainability of human development and of Planet Earth, announced today that it has bestowed its first “Pioneer for the Planet” award to Aquanaut and ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau, founder of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (New York City, NY).
The award was presented at a recent gathering in New York for a current project “Sustainable Solutions: Ocean Opportunities & Small Island States (SOS-IS),” a United Nations (UN) – afforded multi-stakeholder partnership made possible by the Paris Agreements on Sustainable Development Goals. SOS-IS was first registered at the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017 and comprises Fabien Cousteau’s Ocean Learning Center, The Hydrogen House, Renewables 100 Policy Institute and World Team Now which are all teaming on behalf of small islands and ocean projects – representing direct action from peoples and organizations in the United States.
“Fabien’s work for community engagement and education regarding ocean protection, and its projects such as those protecting and restoring corals, sharks, mangroves and sea turtle populations – as means for protecting humanity and the planet – is tireless,” said World Team Now Founder Suzanne Maxx, who noted Cousteau launched the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center in 2016, and most recently at World Oceans Day (June 8, 2017) in conjunction with the UN Oceans Conference.
“Oceans and the health of hydrogen ecosystems are essential for the survival of our species on planet Earth – they breathe in carbon and breathe out oxygen — and 193 nations of the United Nations have just agreed to recognize, in the face of climate change, how integral ocean diversity and protection is to human life,” Maxx said. “Fabien’s work underscores not just the spirit and legacy of his grandfather’s and family’s namesake [Jacques-Yves Cousteau] but also embraces immediate action to rally public support for positive change. We can and must take remedial actions to heal our oceans – and we need such actions to achieve sustainability in all its forms – planetary, social and economic. Fabien exemplifies this fortitude, courage, leadership, and bias to act.”
The World Team Now first “Pioneer for the Planet” Award is launched to recognize visionaries and leaders who prompt action to effect restorative conservation efforts in pursuit of sustainability for a renewable future. These pioneers of new frontiers, new systems — have the experience with exploring new territory, going beyond perceived boundaries; in the ocean, on land, or up into space. These Aquanauts, astronauts, and explorers may pioneer scientific research, alternative transportation, or even technological innovation. [Editor’s Note: A complete biography of Fabien Cousteau is available here.]
“It is a privilege to be recognized as a Pioneer for the Planet by World Team Now,” Fabien Cousteau said, “and an honor to be a World Team member. We have a significant obligation toward future generations as we are living in challenging times.”
Fabien quoted his grandfather, Jacques-Yves Cousteau: “People protect what they love, they love what they understand.
The award was presented June 9 at Grand Banks, Pier 25, in New York City, where World Team Now provided donors and guests an overview of its initial SOS-IS projects, including its work in Fiji, and its launch in the Pacific Island Region, to build renewable energy micro-grids toward energy independence, clean water and power, biodiversity protection, and demonstration of leading technologies in sustainability for a renewed future – particularly as small island states grapple with rising oceans. Attendees dined on sustainably sourced seafood there, aboard the wooden schooner Sherman Zwicker. The event also was made possible with the support of Earthx – an annual Dallas, TX Earth Day event organized by Trammell S. Crow.
World Team Now 2017 Gala June 9th 2017
About World Team Now
World Team Now is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization World Team is a multi-media project with a platform launching in 2017 supported by people, like you, who realize that they are citizens of the world. We are committed to discovering ways to unite people beyond country, culture, religion, politics, or economic status and awaken the common commitment to living in balance with our natural resources and embrace global environmental and social issues of consequence. We intend to show people what it is like to create a big vision one person at a time, one resource at a time… and to share the journey with the world. www.WorldTeamNow.org
Join our non-profit World Team Now for an exclusive event to celebrate the launching of the World Team project’s SOS-IS multi stakeholder partnership and surprise announcements of members of the World Team. The event includes open bar, oyster tasting, amuse-bouche, soft shell crab, sea scallops, ricotta toast, tomato and watermelon, and french fries. The event is being held at Grand Banks, a celebrated oyster bar aboard the historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker located on Pier 25 in Manhattan on the Hudson River. See http://www.grandbanks.org/ take in how special this event will be. You might have noticed the .org – Grand Banks is famous for its leadership in the sustainable seafood movement and is a partner in The Billion Oyster Project and generates funds to support maritime conservation, education, and preservation.
There is an Icon parking garage on Greenwich St. just south of N. Moore, and limited street parking on the northbound lane of West St. There is also street parking on streets in neighborhood of Grand Banks,Tribeca
Inside the United Nations looking out- Photo Credit World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx
New York, New York USAToday at the United Nations 175 Countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement on opening day, Earth Day! Our World Team project is especially grateful for the leadership on the first 15 United Nations members that both signed and Ratified the Paris Agreement by Earth Day. This is a critical step to have the legal governmental framework for the revolutionary work to move towards our “100% Renewable Energy” global vision.
The most vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) know the reality of Climate Change, ironically they have to bare the most severe effects of the most developed regions actions. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon’s request for “All hands on deck,” from all U.N. members, comes to relevance especially in places like Fiji.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama
Video: UN Web TV footage
Just recovering from Tropical Cyclone Winston, with another threat coming at them now, Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama was front and center, contributing and bringing the gravel down to close the day’s session. Republic of Palau’s President, Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. captured the spirit of this time proclaiming, “On days like this you feel like you are part of a team”.
World Team has been on a long journey and search for a location that is eager to make that renewable energy transition. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need all the support we can give, and they hold the most promise for World Team project’s public work. SIDS are the most impacted and have the least. When we realize that over 62,000 people are displaced daily from climate or weather related events, it is stunning. Climate change refugees are growing. The funding coming from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will help, but that support needs to have been there yesterday.
For the Paris Agreement to come into force, 55% of the UN’s members must sign and ratify it, and this must account for at least 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. All members have a year, until Earth Day 2017- but obviously, the sooner the better.
Each country created their own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for the Paris Agreement, their status is here. Next we need all the INDC to become Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). These contributions are required to be ambitious and progressive, to be updated, increased, and submitted to the U.N. every five years.
The fundamental step of putting the governmental framework into place is happening; the nations are coming up with determined commitments for our species and our planet to help tackle the climate change challenge. Although what was started in Paris in 2015 is growing with efforts like the Renewable Energy Innovation Plan for Africa; the 70 Initiatives to find a broader solutions; Mission Innovation for Green Technology, and the Carbon Pricing Leadership. We all realize that this cannot be done by nations alone.
It will take many sectors to build to the change that is sustainable. The action of the signing sends signals to all markets. Some illuminating information was announced and shared over the course of the day. “Taking climate action to the next level: Realizing the vision of the Paris Agreement” was the title for the afternoon.
Key financial and business pledges are being made by entities teaming up to further the global goals of the Paris Agreement. Anne Stausboll, representing CalPERS, the largest U.S. public pension fund with almost 300 billion dollars in assets gave the update; watch here. She shared that Ceres, a nonprofit organization leading adoption of sustainable business practices, has joined forces with the CalPERS pension fund, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change. To mobilize the Paris Agreement, 400 investors with 24 trillion dollars in assets have been enrolled. “To achieve the goals of the Agreement, we know the world must invest at least one trillion dollars a year in clean energy for several decades,” she explained, “The Agreement has unleashed an unprecedented opportunity for institutional investors worldwide – a powerful global green light to shape tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.”
The Green Climate Fund which came out of the Paris Agreement is targeted to 100 billion a year in aid to developing countries. President Obama has pledged $3 billion to the GCF over four years. The first $500 million of that pledged amount was transferred. Countries are all together rising to action. The efforts of the two biggest emitters USA/China is supported by their agreement to one another.
Canada addresses the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement Credit: UN Photo
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, explained his country is committed to helping developing countries, “Since they should not be punished for a problem they did not create.” Canada’s $2.56 Billion (USD) pledge is good kindling to ignite a fire of support to assist developing countries to grow to be cleaner, and more sustainable.
Hoesung Lee from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared about how they have accepted the task to integrate science into implementation phase and submit mission reports on “Climate Change and Land Use,” plus reports on “Ocean and Ice”. In two years they will turn in a report that studies whether emissions targets of 1.5 degrees is the magic number that could halt the growing catastrophic effects of climate change, to see if that is indeed enough action. Private, public, businesses, NGOs financial sectors, and all citizens are all needed to team up, as people come to realize prompt action needs to begin now.
CEO of Unilever Paul Polman highlighted how the business and financial sector are lining up to address climate change:
At the Business and Climate Summit held May 2015, trade associations that represent 6.5 million businesses committed to addressing climate change.
A report by the New Climate Economy stated 90 trillion will be going to be made over the next 15 years in addressing urbanization and population growth issues and 13.5 trillion is already pledged for clean energy investments, which he said is a “good direction”.
The business and financial sector is making progress with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unilever’s CEO emphasized that climate change is key to 13 of the 17 SDGs. Now to “level” (pun intended) the playing field with energy sectors. Positive price signals are needed and a subsidy is a negative price signal. We love that the sentiment from Unilever’s leader who said, “That is a negative price on carbon when we need a positive price.” That statement was echoed throughout Earth Day from many speakers. The message to cut fossil fuel subsides, and create a carbon market was clear, and consistently delivered throughout all sectors on Earth Day.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and renowned campaigner of human rights and climate justice. It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. Picture: Captured from UN Web TV footage
Mary Robinson declared, “The world must target for 1.5 degrees or below rise and that requires carbon neutrality at, or before 2050. She was empathetic on pointing out that with the Paris Agreement, developing countries now have more responsibility in addressing climate change as each nation has to evaluate their NDCs— the annex 1 or annex 2 countries distinction made in the past is no longer …
Opening ceremony of Paris Agreement signingCredit: UN Photo
This year’s Earth Day had many events leading up to the big focus of 24 hours of U.N. festivities in New York. Once again, there were powerful contributions from many of the people instrumental through the World Team journey— champions of the environmental movement over the many years coming together: especially California Gov. Jerry Brown, former US Vice President Al Gore, and even our friend Bertrand Piccard via live web stream from the cockpit of SolarImpulse2 in flight to San Francisco-the next leg of the around the world flight in the solar airplane! Bertrand said, “More than protecting the environment, it’s the clean technology revolution, the solar airplane is like a smart grid with distributed energy”. He encouraged leaders saying in the webstream, “Be pioneers for solutions, don’t let resistance take over…”
Andre and Bertrand, pilots of Solar Impulse, with World Team Now’s Suzanne Maxx.
Actor, Activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, Leonardo Di Caprio reminded leaders of their power in choice quoting President Lincoln, “Our case is new, so we must think a new, and act anew.” He drew the parallel analogy of the defining issue of our time, between being free of fossil fuel, to the past, in being free from slavery. He explained, “Everyone knew it had to end, but no one had the political will to stop it.” In regards to bold Climate action he exclaimed, “You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them…”
Leonardo Di Caprio inspires leaders to create power for just action. Video: UN Web TV footage
In addition to U.N. member states, states like California are taking significant action on their own. Once again, World Team Now based in New York and California was excited to hear from our Gov. Jerry Brown who spoke about some of the key steps that California has taken and will take— including their own cap and trade program that is also connected with Quebec and Ontario. Al Gore, in comments he made after the afternoon panel Jerry was on, pointed out that California’s leadership under Jerry is from a position of influence— he explained, “If California was a country it would be the 5th largest economy in the world.”
Governor Jerry Brown of California speaks at the Paris Agreement at signing at the United Nations on Earth Day April 22nd. Video: UN Web TV footage
Some of the highlights from New York Mayor de Blasio’s speech shared the commitment to having every new car in New York’s City’s fleet being an electric with the goal of an electric fleet by the year 2025. Retrofits are required in both public and now private buildings and new buildings will have to be 60-80% more efficient than existing buildings.
In India, every light bulb is required to be LED, with the program launched by the government they have driven the cost down for the bulbs by economic demand, and now they are cheaper than other kinds of light bulbs, now priced about 80 cents and about 100 million have been installed Germany plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050.
President Barack Obama welcomed the signing of the climate agreement and said it will allow all of “our children to inherit a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet.” He said in a statement on Earth Day, “As the world’s second-largest source of climate pollution, America has a responsibility to act. The stakes are enormous — our planet, our children, our future.
John Kerry Signs Paris Agreement With Granddaughter on Lap High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement Credit: UN Photo
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, signed the historical agreement, ensuring it be witnessed by future generations by having his 2-year-old granddaughter Isabelle on his lap. Kerry followed up on President Obama’s Announcement which proclaims that the United States “looks forward to formally joining this agreement this year.”
It has been many years of attending these United Nations Climate events (COPs) dreaming that we could come to an agreement, sign it, and move into action. That day has come, it is here. World Team has been active with Earth Day for decades, but this was the first Earth Day that the distant dream for the global action by world leaders is being realized.
What an action packed period of time, this time has been, with record breaking action from countries around the world, and it’s about time. The pace is set we need for climate action, and the global renewable energy revolution, and it is happening, and it can’t happen quick enough. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are all interrelated and helpful to have delineated.
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moons called for all hands on deck to: "Turn Aspiration Into Action" - Countries Sign Paris Climate Agreement. Video: UN Web TV footage
It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. We are enthusiastic about the platform World Team will offer for all people as tool for engagement. We can see this renewable energy revolution is happening, but it will take a team, all of us. We have much to celebrate, yet much to do for humanity to live in balance with our resources and one another here on earth.
United Nations - "Protecting our Planet and Combatting Climate Change" is part of a UN short film series "The Story You are Shaping" produced by HUMAN, which premiered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015. Video: UN Web TV footage
Photo highlights of of the UN High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change can be found here and a text highlights of the ceremony can be found here. Below are some selected UN videos of the Ceremony:
It’s Groundhog Day! Today the Groundhog has not seen his shadow, so we can “SPRING” past winter! This is according to Punxsutawney Phil, and a team of other Groundhogs, in different locations.
Today, the energy sector mirrors the Groundhog Day’s dynamic, not seeing the shadow, overcome by light! Fossil fuel drops further, till #100%RenewableEnergy is global. This is the kind of global Groundhog Day that deserves repeating!
“The energy sector reflects #GroundhogDay dynamic, shadow-fossil fuel shares drop, light #100%RenewableEnergy grows!” WorldTeam1 wrote on Twitter. Does it sounds like we said this before? Well, “Yes.”–it’s Groundhog Day, and we will repeat! May this reality repeat.
“Groundhog Day” lives now not just as a weather, or community ritual to predict when the winter ends and spring comes. Groundhog Day has grown into a collective expression. The expression “Groundhog Day” refers to a situation that repeats until it changes.
We reflect on the core stages of awareness with the movie Groundhog Day. Each time when the situation repeats, there is growth. When the situation stops repeating altogether, then there is total transformation, and freedom from the past. Sound familiar? Watch to see hedonism transcended or uncover many religious, moral and ethical principles through Groundhog Day’s stages of awareness that reflect upon life’s spiritual journey. Dig deeper and you’ll see hints of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ principles on death and dying–All played out in a comedic way in the movie Groundhog Day.
May this Groundhog Day dynamic repeat until we have reached 100% renewable energy globally. Power to the People shows, we can participate in renewable energy power generation. Our energy’s source of power can be in balance with our resources. Let’s do it, and REPEAT! “Groundhog Day” is true for us too, “Living Into A World Team”! Let’s play to transform ourselves and our world.
A Message of Freedom and 100% Renewable Energy from Paris. Hundreds from around the world unite in a giant message of freedom, standing with the people of Paris and calling for 100% renewable energy, during the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit. Can you spot us? We from World Team Now made up the rays on the left side of the image. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Spectral Q
COP21’s victory signals to the world that global transformation is in the works with adoption of the Paris Agreement by the United Nations. It’s historical to have almost 200 nations agree to take action, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” a UN goal.
COP21 Convention Space at Le Bourget.
Those of us breathing inside of the global climate movement over the years know this moment is a win— a valuable step and an important place to start. At Le Bourget, the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Fabius brought his green gravel down to tears of joy and applause for the agreement exclaiming, “It’s a small gavel, but I think it has a big impact!” With the perspective getting diverse entities consisting of countries from different regions of the world to agree on anything is significant. We at least have set a course and direction together. Many of the outcomes we considered in our prior blog post were covered in this agreement. Here is the text of the Paris Agreement. Here it is made simple to digest. Here are some more of our favorite articles and speeches, that break this historic time of the Paris Agreement down to understand:
Within the global environmental movement, there are many people that have been on the journey for decades— each of us has a piece of this puzzle— that are core to who we are, and it lives outside the boundaries of a location, as it is for our earth, and all of humanity. This consciousness is now becoming contagious, thankfully— as it will take teams of people, industries and many sectors of society for the transformation to take root.
The stage is set for our World Team project, and next year 2016, we plan to be public facing with our World Team platform. World Team will be an interactive tool to entertain us while playfully engaged in transformative projects achieving the realization of our most ambitious and collective goals for humanity, and our planet earth. It is not only technology, innovation, policy and funding that will change the global game of our changing climate. The game starts to change when all people are aware of the power of human capability of choice. Change will occur when we choose to prioritize how we use both our internal and external energy. When we prioritize living in better balance with our resources, we will then play the game to transform ourselves and our world.
The co-located Climate Generations Areas, open to all, was a first for the COP meetings. In prior COPs, Civil Society had open side events that were distant from the UN negotiations.
Even in celebration there is caution that clouds this historical time, which finally acknowledges humanity’s role in climate change, and sets forward a plan of action. If we can’t get to 1.5 degrees, stop destroying our forests, heating and acidifying our oceans and eliminate burning fossil fuel today we are writing ourselves a death sentence. The framework is now in place to start the journey to arrive there tomorrow— it was a successful negotiation. As Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon said, “This a time when we need all hands on deck”. Multiple sectors are taking active roles in also setting targets, and here is the key; team work, over time, with ALL of us in action. This thread was there at the events happening at COP21 during this time in Paris.
Akapusi Tuifagalele, Director National Disaster Management of Fiji (SIDS), with Suzanne Maxx & Albert Boulanger of the World Team project.
It’s exciting when leaders of countries agree to take a stand, and actually strive for targets and a framework for an agreement. Can we move to a firm 1.5 degrees quickly enough to reverse the damage of climate change? When we will phase out fossil fuel? Our oceans and forests, all species together in balance— how soon can we achieve rapid change? Will there be justice for the indigenous people, and those of small island developing states (SIDS) in the long run? Now we have some agreed upon goals. Can we overcome the antiquated categorization of defining a country by developed, developing, and least developed? Will each country begin to support the other with sustainable development based on what they are able to contribute, as the reality takes hold of cliché, “we are all in this together”?
The seeds of reaching the answer to these questions in reality are planted. How quickly we can reach these targets, and more will be the long term success of the Paris Agreement. All is not there in the Paris agreement yet, but it starts with the will— we celebrate these milestones even though the real work has just begun.
Ban Ki-moon preparing to talk at the Earth to Paris Conference during COP21
Now to have all countries ratify the Paris Agreement so it becomes legal structure— whether that be a Treaty, Accord or Protocol. The opportunity for world leaders to sign, and ratify the Paris Accord begins in New York on Earth Day April 22nd, 2016. All leaders will have one year to endorse it, but early participation is being encouraged. The plan looks to not just meet the deadline, but also to indeed demonstrate the will and understanding of urgency for all of us to keep the work moving fast forward. The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is charged to organize the activities around the signing on Earth Day.
We will need more action over time, the government sector with public policy is needed, but the real change will require many other sectors, to jump into the action—and we will. It will be the collective cumulative action that matters most over time. World Team plans to officially announce our first team in 2016 and we
plan to officially begin our media platform.
There was a thread to all events happening at COP21 during this time in Paris. It’s exciting when leaders of countries agree to take a stand, and actually strive for targets and a framework for an agreement.
For decades we dreamed of this day when countries might all agree on action for our future. It is a collective starting point to a commitment of an aligned global direction for humanity. The Paris Agreement will need work but much of the direction we are going collectively has seeds that aligns with the vision that many of us hold in our hearts for a sustainable future. We are now challenged to follow the Golden Rule Principle too, as Pope Francis encouraged in his UNGA and USA Congress speeches. Now to unpack many of the principles of how we will realize the change for our common home, and integrate them throughout our policy, and ways of life— this is the challenge. The challenge of not only of the Paris Agreement, but for humanity at this time on earth.
These “Trees of Hope” outside COP21 produce renewable energy by their leaves turning to generate sustainable wind energy turbines.
At the coming of age with the United Nation’s COP21, there was a climax from the collaboration, of not only nations, but also, with civil society. The power of the people to deliver the messages creatively captured the true spirit of the renowned artistic and cultural mecca Paris, France.
The Paris terrorist attacks happened literally the day the plans for the people’s climate march and other NGO activities’ press releases were set to hit the global media. All activities planned for this period of time in Paris were then colored by the darkness of fear. Initially there was concern about what could actually take place under this “climate”. Most of the outside public events for people, with venues in the streets were canceled, understandably with the security concerns of safety. Security was heighten and restrictions were imposed.
Suzanne Maxx rolls on a plane to Paris
The initial activities that World Team Now planned, with our goal to launch “World Team” during this time, became impossible. Quite frankly we, like many others, did not know we would be able to make it to Paris for COP21 at all, our efforts seemed thwarted, until it was all actually happening. After finally making a plane to Paris, I was pleased to be able to board with my roller skates on, the most efficient way to travel through these long international airport terminals, demonstrating human powered renewable human energy for sustainable transportation.
We’re all getting used to rolling forward regardless of external circumstances of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We were not alone—this was a common challenge to many others who have the understanding of what is at stake for our planet and humanity breathing through the core of their being.
The sunshine rays in the aerial art piece below. World team members were in one of them. The photo was shot by Suzanne in one ray viewing other rays and the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop and part of the aerial art design.
There are moments in life that live outside of time, which cut to the core and encapsulates a spirit. With our bodies on the ground, sitting on the yellow strip of cloth on the sand to emulate a ray of sunshine, we became the font of the aerial art image captured in this photo which has become an icon of COP21 Paris.
A Message of Freedom and 100% Renewable Energy from Paris. Hundreds from around the world unite in a giant message of freedom, standing with the people of Paris and calling for 100% renewable energy, during the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Spectral Q
Raising World Team’s hands in celebration of the Paris Climate Agreement at Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile
One of the more engaging conversations at the Earth to Paris Conference was with Andrian Grenler, Actor, Entrepreneur & Dell Social Good Advocate, Paul Bunje, Lead Energy and Environment XPrize , and John Wollard, VP of Energy Google
In many ways it was more than a reunion for many of us that began this journey in Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit/Global Forum in 1992, where the seeds of the UNFCC’s Conventions began. Paris COP21 was the opportunity to complete this long term collective goal. Back in 1992 at the first Earth Summit/ Global Forum, I don’t think any of us thought it would take this long to get an agreement for humanity and our environment, and after COP15 in Copenhagen many of us wondered about the possibility of the United Nations to agree on what matters most. Many of us were traumatized, as we headed home for the holidays confronted and bewildered with unmet expectations— this was a common theme over the 21 years, if not longer for some of us. Back then, it was a relatively small team of us that journeyed, not because it was our job in a convention sense, but because the future of how humanity lives in balance with our resources was a central precept to each of us, at the core of our beings.
Secretary of State John Kerry was also one that attended the Earth Summit Global Forum in 1992
The first time I journeyed to a United Nation’s conference with the hope of global policy was for the Earth Summit Global Forum in 1992, where I stepped into an incredible opportunity to join presidential candidate Jerry Brown’s entourage. Powerful people who were leader were all part of our group. Many of these people have gone on to become not only world leaders, but also leaders of what is referred to now as the global climate movement. Some of those people that have been around the global climate movement and part of the personal journey with World Team which made it all more meaningful for us at Paris.
Earth to Paris, UNESCO’s Afternoon with Robert Redford
Meeting of indigenous people at one of the many Civil Society side events in a Climate Generations Area
A mosaic of the people’s movement from Earth to Paris, UNESCO’s Afternoon with Robert Redford, and other civil society events helped to augment the action demonstrating the power of the people. Many groups, like the International New York Times produced events like their Energy for Tomorrow. Many individuals and groups found ways to join together and creatively express their voices. With the world watching these events from many diverse sectors and groups of people succeeded.
Suzanne Maxx outside the COP21 Convention Space at Le Bourget.
What is truly remarkable is the capability of the human spirit to preserve and endure. While celebrating, the climate movement, I can personally attest that while we are now climbing to these heights of possibility, it was not easy-and we still have a long way to go to touch down to the ground. We have had some success in Paris with our casting initiative and look forward to being in action in 2016/
Finally, French authorities allowed a peaceful gathering of Climate Justice activists towards the end of COP21
Outside COP21 with the flags of the United Nations.
LE BOURGET, FRANCE. Fortunately here at COP21 there is no longer the question of if climate change is happening, check out this slide show. It now is a question of how quickly we all can act to meet the challenge, and when we will have strong global policy. COP21 was supposed to end yesterday, but true to the history and form of the complexity of these agreements, it is still in process.
Photo of Suzanne Maxx by Albert Boulanger for World Team Now at Climate Generations Area
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) holds annual meetings of the delegates Conference of the Parties (COP) and each year it grows older, left without a process to manage the world’s actions, climate change’s impact on our world increases. COP has come of age at 21 here in Paris, now it is truly like a 21 year old— legal but not yet quite responsible— perhaps an appropriate metaphor for the upcoming results of the much anticipated Paris Convention/Accord.
The bottom up approach to each country choosing what they are capable of contributing seems to be working with the “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) all countries submissions are public here. COP21 had a jump start, and with the delivery of so many INDCs, COP21 was set on a fast track to global transformation, which lit the fire of possibility to “dream the impossible dream.”
On the opening day of the COP21 when the family photo of world leaders was taken, and Mission Innovation was announced, all eyes saw the possibility of transformational global policy. Clean Energy Innovation R & D will be doubled by 20 major economies with the help of the private sector. Billionaire Bill Gates at the helm of an impressive Breakthrough Energy Coalition that reads like a “who’s who” of game changers helps Mission Innovation.
With so many world leaders in Paris for the beginning of COP21 the stage of this conference was set to change the game. In 2015, there were multiple preparatory conferences all producing a draft of the policy. The regular meetings increased the chance that all could agree here in Paris, and we would have global environmental policy. Historically, the leaders would arrive at the end of the COPs after a few weeks where their representatives would try to negotiate a deal. This year’s COP was different, not just because all world leaders agreed to come at the beginning of the COP, having worked out what they are able to contribute on their own, but were standing for the success of finally attaining climate policy. To have these world leaders in the same place after the vulnerable attacks here in Paris demonstrates a commitment to the statement: “There is no darkness that can overcome the light.”
The people, NGOs, and corporations also set up a powerful approaches to action, including a massive march planned for the Global Climate Movement. However, many Paris events were canceled, including the climate marches after the terrorist attacks, and subsequent state of emergency. Fortunately, the Global Climate Movement adapted with action around the world. We used our bodies as a font in the Eiffel Tower aerial art piece, that 300 of us or so took part in, led by artist John Quigley and Dancing without Boarders, This event miraculously prevailed and has become the iconic image of COP21, gracing the cover of many publications. Other powerful events in Paris for this COP21 time frame were pulled off successfully augmenting the action over at Le Bourget’s COP21 conferences like “Earth to Paris,” and the “Energy for Tomorrow Conference’’ hosted by the International New York Times. The Green Zone public “Climate Generation Area” allowed all people to be involved in the action, and there were some solid panels like “Energy Matters,” sponsored by the International Energy Agency.
Global Emissions Target of 1.5 degrees Celsius is what’s needed by at least 2020— it was needed yesterday — so ideally with a pre-2020 five year review and calibration. The target date may end up being 2050; this is one of the points of conflict in the negotiation. Will this be a realistic target that sets us on a trajectory that honors what we know to be true about climate change, and how it affects not only human health, but also the balance of all species on earth? The other sensitive point is: when will the energy transition occur? We would like to see 100% renewable energy by at least 2050. A firm date of when to phase out of fossil fuel is at the root of this controversial debate. The majority of countries now agree that 100% cut of fossil fuel will happen, but by when— is the question.
Courtesy of Climate Generations Area COP21
The forests and oceans breathe for our planet— they are more than our lungs. Together they are teeming with the bio-diversity— the flora, fauna, and all necessary for our human species. survival. We are waiting for the text of the final document to have language about the commitment to zero de-forestation globally. Our oceans need protection from acidification, and warming temperatures—this is imperative to take into account, and have specific measurable results in mind, along with global emission targets. We need to have goals for our oceans, islands, and responsibly embrace policy that is accountable for not only our air, but also the land, waters, and people. Global policy that allows all people to belong to the earth is needed, especially when whole nations, island states like Tuvalu are being annihilated by our collective use of resources. Justice is needed to balance the poor Small Islands and Least Developed Countries who are most affected by the results of climate change, with richer nations sourcing the problem.
Fossil Fuel subsidies are going to be phased out globally— much to both the dismay and celebration of many people and industries. Why subsidize the most profitable global industry anyway? Old paradigms can be hard for some to let go, yet our future depends on embracing this renewable energy transition, and also how fast we can move on a large scale. More than a trillion dollars a year— just think of how quickly we could change the energy game with those same subsidies going to renewable energy or into the Green Climate Fund. The 100 billion annual contribution to the Green Climate Fund would become a reality.
Naturally, it will be better to have an ambitious framework with a big enough vision for growth and change. There needs to be checks and balances in place — most likely discussed in more detail next year at Morocco COP22. An independent agency will need to be formed organically to both check and enforce agreed upon targets, much like the International Atomic Energy Agency reports to the Security Council.
Wind energy captured by these faux trees –outside COP21 Paris–sustainable device for biodiversity
The long term key will be the enforceable, critical language added, and systems put in place to realize the outcome of the global goals. It will take time to work out the logistics of how we live into these objectives collectively. That is why this is a convention with the goals to have a framework to build out over time, so it reflects the truth of what we are collectively committed to achieving. Transparent, enforceable global policy with mechanisms, systems, and a structure that we all— all nations and all people— can live into after COP21. This will take more time than allotted at COP21— that is why this is a process. This process can direct global markets, as well as steer the re-prioritization of our collective values— this is where change can take root. Here is a copy of the yesterday’s draft doc, and some of the key sticking points . It may take years to realize the “how,” but at this point, what is important is that we agree to common global goals and objectives that will set us in a direction to live into our future.
A few of us from our World Team project basked in the aligned vision of possibility for humanity living peacefully with all of creation, visualizing, singing; “and the world will live as one”. We have just begun to live this into reality with our World Team http://www.worldteam.tv , I keep saying ‘it feels like we are being towed into a tidal wave’.
School children’s exuberating voices, and a festive scene inspired the next generation to live into the words of the song “Imagine”. Laughter, cartwheels, and all singing along with more enthusiasm I have ever heard in unison from a prayer, makes one’s soul sing. Appreciate the works of LennonBus,org bringing the gift of music to youth.
This sound was a welcomed break from the serious discussions and issues facing our world now and last week at the U.N., with the Sustainable Development Goals, REV New York, and Climate Week. Sunglasses and T shirts thankfully replaced suits. Youth now stood in the place of seated leaders with country placards- who were paving the way for the COP21 in Paris, where we are all hoping we have a significant global agreement later this year. These children here are the next generation, our future leaders, and their joy is contagious. The smiles, harmony and cooperation of all, ignite a spark of hope.
The sunshine, on this glorious warm fall day, left hearts open, as did the Beatles and all of John Lennon’s songs plus radio broadcast 104.3 live. We appreciate the love that transcends time that Yoko Ono holds, and augments through her art. Yoko said, “Imagine a dolphin dancing in the sky. Let it dance with joy. Think of yourself at the bottom of the ocean watching.” Us Sarah Lawrence alumni are rare indeed, with the degree comes an inspiration to make our lives a work of living art– a constant creative education. I am thankful to share an Alma Mater with Yoko Ono, thankful she envisioned this event—but the “Guinness World Record”—loss was predictable, as it is not exactly aligned with the spirit of a love that can be measured— is ineffable, immeasurable, and eternal…
The movement for global transformation, is building around the world. Everyone is needed— as it’s our common future, in our one common home, so we all are being called to take action.
Join an aerial art piece in Washington DC 4:00-6:00 AM, meeting at 7th and Jefferson. This human font Aerial Art masterpiece will be created by artist John Quigley of Spectral Q and is sponsored by the Franciscan Action Network, with Earth Day on the Mall— as Pope Francis addresses the US Congress at 10:00 AM you can watch the speech with a transcript here. A schedule of the pope’s visit to the US is here.
We’ll be in New York to “Light the Way”, “Under One Sky” in the evening across the street from the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 47th and 1st Avenue 4:30-5:30 a multi-faith Festival of Prayer and Music. You can participate wherever you are in the world tomorrow check to see if there is an event near you here.
Wherever you are you can watch New York’s leading conference, Reforming the Energy Vision, live. Tune in Thursday September 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. Click here to see the live panel presentations.World Team Now’s renewable energy microgrid continues, but that is for another blog. Here is a valuable article Power to the People.
Tomorrow, the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), has the Sustainability Summit through September 25th, you can watch it all on UN.TV here live. We are optimistic that all world leaders will sign on to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The deadline if adopted will be 2030, and although we need it to happen sooner, the first step is to tell everybody about the goals—spread the word to 7 billion in 7 days is the 1st goal.
It certainly helps that a team of individuals each with a big following are taking action, augmenting the efforts of the United Nations. Bill McGibben leader of the divest from fossil fuel movement and invest in renewable energy has specific measurable results to date over 2.6 trillion dollars of victory. Leonardo Di Caprio made the news when he divested his organizations funds yesterday celebrity power in the movement helps, but what will change the game is all of us together. Although creative master minds like Richard Curtis can orchestrate global game changing efforts on many fronts.
What we are creating is a global conversation through a multi-media platform that connects people, projects and the world. What we’re building a consciousness about change. And we can do that by showcasing socially and environmentally responsible projects that demonstrate how people can work together and play to transform the world.
UN takes on “Climate Neutrality” check out what you can do right now in your home or business to offset; Check out this resourceful website Climate Neutral Now. For more read the Press Release
IRENA puts out Global Atlas for renewable energy in your pocket, real time planning for solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and more! We are so eager to test this one out with World Team. They have launched a contest;
Participation is easy.
Download the Global Atlas pocket app (from Google play, Blackberry world, ITunes, Windows Phone stores)
Open the app, navigate to the Main Menu search
Add a layer of a renewable energy technology of your choice
Share the map on Twitter
Hashtag your country or region, the energy source, and add to the existing text in the share window. (Example: Mapping renewable energy potential around the world through @IRENA’s #GlobalAtlas #solar #mycountry
Here are some great articles, campaigns, events and related links we aggregated:
If you are wondering about the seriousness of the climate situation, and the timing of action– here is another article Why Waterworld Will Exist
On the Defense: One way to change up the game; Youth under the age of 21 sue the state and federal governments for not taking action on Climate Change read more here;
For John Lennon’s Birthday in October; Yoko Ono is hosting one of the largest aerial art pieces in history.”Imagine Peace: GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® attempt Largest human peace sign”. See you there? RSVP