Category Archives: 2015

Bird’s Eye View of the Climate Movement ©

By Suzanne Maxx

Eiffel Tower Peace Symbol - 100% Renewable 06.12.15 © Yann Arthus-Bertrand _ Spectral Q

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.

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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, a SIDS

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.

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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.

Basic CMYKWe 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.

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These “Trees of Hope” outside COP21 produce renewable energy by their leaves turning to generate sustainable wind energy turbines.

Our Energy on Earth: People of Power @ COP21 Paris Stepping Out Beyond Boundaries ©

By Suzanne Maxx

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.

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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.

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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.

Eiffel Tower Peace Symbol - 100% Renewable 06.12.15 © Yann Arthus-Bertrand _ Spectral Q

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

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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

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.

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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.

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Earth to Paris, UNESCO’s Afternoon with Robert Redford

Meeting of indigenous people at one of the many side event in the Climate Generations Areas

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.

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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

Finally, French authorities allowed a peaceful gathering of Climate Justice activists towards the end of COP21

WorldTeamNow in #action2015

#Action2015 campaign begins officially today, 1-15-2015, calling on all people to take action in 2015.  World Team Now’s vision for this year is spelled out in our prior blog 2105: A Year of Global Transformation, #WorldTeamNow joins the coalition for action in 2015.  Suzanne Maxx, President/Founder of World Team Now, our social and environmental grassroots organization working bicoastal in the USA, said:

“This plans to be a big year, for us launching the World Team project, and for many people and organizations that understand that action is now needed for future generations to help all of us live in better balance with our resources to sustain this species on our planet. It will take many organizations teaming-up, working together for change in action”.

Suzanne, is not alone in realizing this needs to be a year with earnest sustainable development. According to new research, almost a billion extra people face a life of extreme poverty if leaders evade key decisions on poverty, inequality and climate change peaking at crucial summits  such as the the UN’s June 29th 2015: High-Level Event on Climate Change, and climaxing in Paris France at COP21 Nov 30th-Dec 11th 2015.

That’s the warning by more than a thousand organisations around the world which are launching a new campaign called action/2015 calling on local and world leaders to take urgent action to halt man-made climate change, eradicate poverty and address inequality.

 

The new calculation released by the action/2015 coalition shows that, even using relatively conservative scenarios,  the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day – could be reduced dramatically from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Based on work by the University of Denver, in the year 2030, about 4% of the global population would live in extreme poverty, (compared to 17% today) if critical policy choices on inequality, poverty investment and climate change are made this year and implemented thereafter. Estimates of other researchers, looking at a longer list of variables, show that the eradication of extreme poverty is achievable for the first time in history – a key objective of the campaign.

However, if leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious deals at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the UN Climate talks in Paris in December, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030. This increase would be the first in a generation (since 1993) and almost a billion higher (886 million) than if resolute action is taken. Under this scenario, 1 in 3 of the world’s population would live under $2 a day.

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder, who put her life on the line for the right to education said:

‘People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilized more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part. I will continue to work tirelessly to call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child. That is my goal and I hope that my voice will be heard as it is the voice of millions of children who want to go to school.’

Alongside Malala, dozens of high profile activists from Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Bono to Ben Affleck, Bill and Melinda Gates and Mo Ibrahim have backed the coalition of over a thousand organisations in more than 120 countries around the world. The campaign is calling on world leaders to agree on plans to eradicate poverty, prevent dangerous climate change and tackle inequality at these summits.

action/2015 – announced by Malala when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize – is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch – combining environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks. From household names like Amnesty International and Save the Children to many other NGOs working with local communities.  The movement aims to make sure the agreements of 2015 are shaped by the people.

Speaking for action/2015, Amitabh Behar, Indian anti-poverty activist said:

“If we get this wrong, we could see the number of people living in poverty increase for the first time in our generation. But if we get it right – tackle poverty, inequality and climate change –  we could eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. With two summits of this importance within just months of each other, 2015 could be one of the most important years for our planet since the end of the Second World War, but only if we rise to the occasion.”

At part of the launch, activities are taking place in more than 50 countries all around the world from Lebanon and Liberia to Nigeria and Norway to South Africa and Sri Lanka.

2015: A Year of Global Transformation

I think we all can agree that the time for change is here, now, and ripe! Next year, as the clock turns to 2016, may we look back on 2015 and realize we were able to take advantage of the freedom to play in the peaceful transformation of our world, and we indeed chose to take action and use our highest capabilities to imagine a better way forward.

Ready, set, CHARGE! Back when Electric Vehicle public chargers were just coming out in California, World Team Now helped the City of Malibu lead the EV charge. Screen the premiere of the edited footage of our “CHARGE”:

Jumping into the future we wish to look back and label 2015, as a year of “global transformation” –where our media platform; “World Team” became a tool to give all people the freedom and ability to play in the peaceful transformation of our world.  World Team Now’s mission, vision and goals were better fulfilled. Beyond the division of language and culture all people began to see the possibility of our World Team project.

In 2015 we teamed up to support our partner organizations and campaigns, in the environmental movement focusing on #Action2015, and honoring the clock’s time here on earth sounding, TckTckTck, the science behind 350.org made sense, and through Avaaz, our voices sung in harmony reaching more people, as we all teamed up for stewardship of our planet. A year everybody embraced change— to live in better balance with our resources.

2015 was a year world leaders reached an agreement to take action with global policy, better serving our environment with respect for nature, and humanity. Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical connecting faith and science helped  to move all people to better understanding and into climate action.

2015 events built the foundation for change in our structures; with actual buildings in “Getting to Zero”- National Forum, and uniting the nations in, Paris France at UNFCCC’s COP21 for climate action, resulting in global policy, that did justice to our planet’s situation.

Projects like Planet Solar, and the all solar airplane; Solar Impulse 2 succeeded in the around their world flight; and these projects also inspired many about the possibilities of renewable energy, like solar in 2015.  The 10 Island Challenge, moved vulnerable island nations as examples of being powerfully responsible flexible and adaptive.  All of this inspired us to take responsibility and really consider the triple bottom line— people and planet, along with profit.

2015 was a year we made a different choice as to what industries received subsidies, cut industries and projects that didn’t serve the collective stewardship of all people and for our world’s sustainability. Instead we chose to prioritized our collective resources for renewable energy. We were indeed “happy” inside ourselves, and our outer world reflected this happiness within ALL.

We imagined a better path forward in 2015, took action, and it became our reality. Are you willing to imagine, act, and team-up to make this possibility real?

May we all charge forward to live with love and stewardship for all species and our planet! We can imagine better possibilities of ways to live! Let’s team up for change in 2015 and realize our dreams!

As we look back at the year prior, and imagine the possibilities for the year 2015, we can let it inform us now.  We wish you a wonderful year that is prosperous, healthy, and where love lives present.