Category Archives: Climate Change

Historical Earth Day-15 Ratify, 175 U.N. Members Signed the Paris Agreement ©

By Suzanne Maxx
© 2016 World Team Now

Inside the United Nations looking out- Photo Credit World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Inside the United Nations looking out- Photo Credit World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

 

New York, New York USA Today 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.

 

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Original design  © 2016 World Team Now

 

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

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:

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.

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 …

Climate Opening

Opening ceremony of Paris Agreement signing
Credit: 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…”

at the Waldof Astroia during REFF Wall Street in 2013, Andre and Bertrand with World Team Now's Suzanne Maxx.

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

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.”

The two largest carbon emitters, China and US have a plan, and together they look to be turning the tide to insure positive change . Regardless of USA domestic politics both countries have signed and plan to ratify the Paris Agreement.

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:

© 2016 World Team Now

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.

IPCC Study Results Call for Urgent Global Action

Photo courtesy of Tcktcktck partner ©Greenpeace/Jeremie Souteyrat

Photo courtesy of Tcktcktck partner ©Greenpeace/Jeremie Souteyrat

World Team Now welcomes the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report in Berlin today which shows that avoiding catastrophic climate change is still possible, but only with rapid and sustained cuts to carbon emissions.

The report points to the benefits of increasing the use of alternative and renewable energy for power and phasing out fossil fuel in the long run. In addition to highlighting the need to transform the energy system globally, the IPCC says other solutions to the climate crisis include using energy more efficiently, with a focus on: the transportation, and building sectors, with renewable energy and technology.  Investing in the retrofits and transformation of these industries sectors will be a key.

The IPCC makes it clear that climate action is needed now, and that it is time for us to take responsibility using the wisdom to choose what is needed, affordable, and beneficial for us all. This report validates what many of us realize – that we have the solutions to the climate crisis, and it’s our job, and thus our leaders’ jobs, to be stewards of our collective environment, and use this wisdom from science, so humanity can live in better balance with our resources.

Solar facilityTo keep temperature rise below 2 degrees C by 2100, substantial shifts in annual investment flows between 2010 and 2029 will be required. Specifically, investment in fossil fuels, both power plants and extraction, would need to decline by 30 billion USD per year between 2010 and 2029. At the same time, investment in renewable energy supply would need to rise by 147 billion USD.

The third installment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5 WG#3) involves over 800 scientists synthesizing the latest findings in the field which raises pressure on government leaders to act as it has outlined how cutting pollution now will be cheaper and more effective.

The challenge is levels of climate change-causing carbon emissions will rise across the globe, so it’s clear that more needs to be done and faster, to accelerate the transition  to alternative and renewable energy, ideally 100% renewable energy systems, along with owning the responsibility to protect the lungs of our planet, the rain forests, and the seas from acidification.

All around the world people are facing the real impacts of climate change.

All around the world people are facing the real impacts of climate change.

The transition to renewable energy will provide massive benefits ranging from energy security, new jobs, good business and improved public health. Climate change is a global problem. Addressing it requires international cooperation together with effective local, national, and regional policies.

We, at World Team Now, will be looking to President Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry, along with the rest of the world leaders, to commit to increasing climate action at the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September.  Ideally, this will lay the groundwork for a strong global treaty that we visualize being signed at the  2015 Paris Climate Conference (UNFCCC COP 21).

 © World Team Now (WTN) 2014. All rights reserved.

Coming of Age? – The United Nations UNFCC COP19

In Warsaw, Poland the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) COP19 just wrapped up this past week end and in the extended final hours there was  action on much needed global climate policy. Here is a summary from the COP 19 U.N. website, the U.N.s’ point of view, including other U.N. COP 19 document resources, and the closing press release, excerpt:

“The Warsaw Climate Change Conference 2013 concluded successfully! Key decisions adopted at this conference include decisions on further advancing the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, the Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and other decisions”

COP 19’s success depends on ones perspective. Many of us feel these baby steps seem too little, too late – especially in the face of another significant catastrophe like, Haiyan. As usual there was considerable tension at  the UNFCC conference, this year it was palpable with the Philippines chief negotiator, Yeb Sano’s, very enrolling heartfelt opening remarks, with a call to the United Nations for action on climate change now. Activism through the global community took root on Tuesday afternoon when Sano delivered a 590,000+ person campaign organized by Avaaz calling for climate action directly at these negotiations in Warsaw. The Polish Governments’ disturbingly comical choice to allow a World Coal Summit to happen simultaneously augmented the tensions of COP19. Midway through the conference NGO’s and Civil Society walked out – representing the voice of the people, and then continued to protest, “Stop Climate Madness”.  World Team Now is part of the TckTckTck a campaign named after the sound of the clock.  The 400 member campaign on Climate Action is a start for “teaming-up” as the timing is critical. How much this tension actually helps during the conference is debatable.

There seems to be a decrease of international press attendance at these United Nations COP conferences, to reach out to masses of people, at least by certain “Developed” country’s media to get the big news outlets to send reporters, to cover or at least write original content and not just rely on the associated press’s coverage.  The live feed from the UNFCCC has made it easier for all of us to at least follow the conference virtually.  Here are some of the articles to give you a more rounded perspective on COP19, from sources worth considering:

 

Left out of the U.N. statement is the internal tensions between  those who have resources, and those who do not.  The side action prevalent at the U.N. COPs continues to be protests growing, not just driven by the dissatisfaction of the slow pace of the talks, but truly based on the urgency we as a world face with climate change, and our ability to act:

  • Work plan for Paris 2015:  Nations reached a compromise on a new work plan to  get ready for the Paris Summit in 2015. A number of countries, including the US and EU, had been calling for a clearly defined timetable through to 2015 that would see countries make clear climate change “commitments” by a deadline of early 2015. However, China led a push back by a group of developing nations, arguing for more flexibility for poorer nations – a move that drew an angry response from the US who accused China of rolling back a previous agreement to ensure all nations make some form of commitments through the 2015 treaty. “I feel like I am going into a time warp. That is folly,” US lead negotiator Todd Stern was quoted as saying by Reuters.
  • Rich and poor tensions: The summit once again saw tensions between developed and developing nations laid bare, with poorer countries responding angrily to moves by Japan, Australia and Canada to water down previous climate commitments. There was also frustration at US opposition to the loss and damage mechanism and the failure of industrialized nations to make fresh emission reduction and climate financing commitments.
  • Not Enough Done: Green groups condemned the final agreement for failing to make sufficient progress towards an ambitious new climate treaty in Paris in 2015. There was a walkout or about 800 people Thursday 21 November included people from organizations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, the Confederation and ActionAid.

This political process with the UNFCCC will continue, with annual conferences and with key mile stones intending to be met.  COP19 had a “Cha, Cha” going on with two steps back and one forward.

It brings to question whether the action needed for our species to be more in balance with our planet can come through the organization of this process within the United Nations conferences.  The challenge of this governmental process and its bureaucratic structure may not be aligned to reflect the truth that serves all people.

Humanity has the gift of choice and to use wisdom taught though nature, and respect the science pointing to the fact it is important to understand the consequence of how anthropocentric gasses affect climate change.  If there is still not enough evidence based on witnessing these super storms, consider reading the leaked IPCC report (story here, report here), with alarming scientific facts about the state of our planet. Yeb Sano put a face on Climate Change, and may our world better understand the responsibility of humanity and use wisdom.

We are grateful there was global policy approved at COP19, and are eager for more actions to be taken, and disheartened at the present time, that our primary international structure uniting nations cannot do more. We hope the UNFCCC can ultimately be a path towards global transformation reflected in active international policy perhaps “coming of age” by COP21?

It is a challenge to trust this process and where we are in our world at this time.  May we be able to see clearly by 2020, and ideally much before.

© World Team Now (WTN) 2013. All rights reserved.

The LA Auto Show 2013- Driving Our “Eco” Future

By Suzanne Maxx

Innovation, technology, and “ECO” are the themes driving the LA Auto Show,  now open to the public through December 1st.

Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi-a leading PHEV

Both “eco”nomy and “eco”logy continue to be in focus and more traditional brands are moving into the alternative “ECO” drive space. Leaders and original “first movers” like; Tesla, Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, have carved out this market in the USA and continue to build on their innovative brands, by not just improving their staple vehicles, but adding more.  Their competition grows from Porsche, GM (again), BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Fiat, Honda and more OEMs- all with alternative, “ECO” vehicles using a wide spectrum of energy options (see AltExpo blog).

The area where there is the most “play” (besides the literal gaming vehicle the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo to be experienced on a PlayStation) is in the growth of the plugin hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid technology in the SUV, sports and luxury markets from traditional OEMs.  U.S. sales of plugin electric vehicles were up 147 percent between August 2012 and August 2013.  The advantage of the PHEV is the flexibility and freedom that comes with the option to choose your source of energy – both a personal and collective freedom is found driving a PHEV.

Suzanne Maxx with the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Suzanne Maxx with the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

There is the option to be spontaneous to drive a long distance (without range anxiety), and also the option to plugin and charge from renewable energy which has the “ECO” advantage.  There are many new PHEVs in this transition period with infrastructure still ramping up. PHEVs allow traditional fossil fuel or electricity from a renewable energy source. The PHEV choices now include new sporty SUVs that are PHEVs; most designed with an onboard generator, or dual engines.

Porsche, was actually the first with the hybrid automobile, the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid from 1900(!), and with a variety of hybrid and PHEVs now; the 918 Spyder a mid-engined sports plug-in hybrid , the Cayenne luxury crossover, the Panamera S E-Hybrid luxury four-door sedan and the Macan compact crossover SUV— making its world debut at the LA Auto show.

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

With the new Panamera PHEV, you can either stop and plug in after your initial all electric 22 miles, or allow it to charge when driving with innovative ways to recoup energy, and not just from regenerative braking – it generates energy by simply driving this fast vehicle.

 

Nissan’s Pathfinder, arguably the best SUV ever made, is now a PHEV.  With mileage of 25/28 this PHEV improves on the old Pathfinder’s MPGs. (Okay, I’m slightly Nissan biased here, as what I have witnessed with this vehicle is  sustainable over time in the realm of maintaining working order, doing its job, and lasting over decades with minimal repair.) The new Pathfinder Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a 15-kilowatt electric motor for a total output of 250 hp.

Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

The Pathfinder is likely to lead the sporty “ECO” PHEV, SUV market. The older traditional OEMs are moving at a pace that might help the larger population adapt, with many people being more comfortable with gradual change. However Nissan has lead this “ECO” “Shift” driving down a path with vehicles for the early innovative adopters with the all-electric, Leaf. Now Nissan’s trustworthy staple SUV as a PHEV, the Pathfinder crossover looks to be a win for Nissan.  The vehicles are now made in the USA, with the new Tennessee plant ramping up production to meet the rapid demand of “ECO” vehicles, that many people are call for, and this supports our “eco”nomy. It is respectable for an OEM to manufacture in the country sold, and Nissan is a leader in this regard.

The good old traditional USA Ford is becoming a serious new contender. As predicted at the AltCar Expo earlier this year, Ford has taken the lead in sales in plugin hybrids in October with 2,179 Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi vehicles sold. This fall, Ford launched one of the first dealership training programs for better public adoption of EVs – (it may be working), a lead all OEMs could follow for better sales and to benefit the public.

The amount of vehicles that Ford is offering in diverse classes moves it fast forward (see our blog on the LA Auto Show 2012 which features Ford/Lincoln’s series of hybrids and PHEVs).

It isn’t just that the Ford’s C-MAX series with C-Max Energi and Fusion models are becoming rapidly popular by the mainstream consumer – they also drive well, and are affordable– plus they are demonstrating leading “ECO” values, not just with the vehicles themselves, but with their company’s new approach to “Teaming Up” for “ECO”.

Ford  is "Teaming Up" with Coca Cola to use Coca Cola's PlantBottle Technology for bio-based fabricused in the Fusion  Energi

Ford is “Teaming Up” with Coca Cola to use Coca Cola’s PlantBottle Technology for bio-based fabric used in the Fusion Energi

It is inspiring is to see large corporations “Teaming Up” to go a deeper shade of green like global icons Ford and Coca-Cola. Most people think of these corporations’ brands around good ole’ America virtues, with traditional staple products made in the USA. It’s surprising to think of Ford leading alternative vehicles like the C-MAX Fusion Energi, and Coca-Cola with not just its Odwalla brand of juice successfully produced by Coca-Cola for the masses, transported in electric refrigerated trucks, but also their R&D with “ECO” plastics and fabric. They are “Teaming Up” with Coca-Cola’s innovative PlantBottle bio-based  fabric made up of 30% plant-derived material and 100% recyclable bottles to be used in the production of Ford’s Fusion Energi.    But both companies have other surprising commonalities besides their willingness to grow and change – which is not an easy task for corporations of this size.  They both are demonstrating their commitment to environmental stewardship for the sustainability of our planet. Both have bold corporate sustainability programs with emission targets, funds designated, climate action plans, and partner programs for stewardship for our future.

The 2nd Generation PlantBottle Technology will be 100% plant based.   Teaming-up for “green” the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance was created with Ford; World Wildlife Fund, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, H.J. Heinz Company, Nestle, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. The synergy of these type of efforts could benefit these companies, and potentially us all.

The United Nations UNFCCC now ending in Warsaw began to see the light of this possibility with victories with countries starting to “Team Up” for change with REDD+ and with “Losses and Damages” on climate change (will blog on COP19 next).

Chevy is getting up there too with the PHEV Volt and the all-electric Spark.  The Spark may catch fire, in a good way, by spreading through Hertz’s leading programs that allow all people to rent many of the leading hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs.  This is a great way to really test out these new vehicles with the Altima, Leaf, Volt, C-MAX, and now the Spark in their arsenal of vehicles available to rent.  Hertz too is “Teaming Up” with other brands to better promote.

Audi A3 e-tron- photo by Volkswagon of America

Audi A3 e-tron- photo by Volkswagon of America

Volkswagen had half of the new all electric vehicles debuting at the LA Auto show with eGolf, and their luxury division’s Audi, rolled out the Audi A3 e-tron. The two other EV debuts were BMW’s i3 and Cadillac’s ELR– both claiming to rival Tesla. Tesla, Honda, and Toyota continue to have power stances in their respective vehicles and classes.   This was the first year Tesla joined the LA Auto Show for Press Days, and they had the Model S at the Ride and Drive.   Tesla’s strong leadership into new territory inspires innovation – radically changing the transportation game. Tesla’s EVs are so far ahead of the rest of the traditional OEM’s with their vehicle offerings including the original roadster, and now the Model S.  Tesla is now taking orders for its all electric Model X SUV.

Tesla Model X crossover SUV. Orders for it are being taken now. © NRMA New Cars / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Tesla Model X crossover SUV. Orders for it are being taken now. © NRMA New Cars / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Tesla’s lead is complimented now by other OEMs trying to compare their brands and vehicles to Tesla.  Tesla’s been the game changer, as I attested to in this test drive of the Model S  year ago. Both the Cadillac ELR and the BMW claim to present rivalry. In all ways, Tesla is outside the box with their standard for innovation, technology and being all electric with its own built EV infrastructure for charging along freeways to handle distance. Tesla also markets electric power train components, including lithium-ion battery packs, to other automakers, including Daimler and Toyota.  Their entrepreneurial independent lead has changed the auto industry, raising the bar for what a vehicle could be – they welcome others as Tesla’s Elan Musk wants EVs to dominate.  Tesla focuses on pure battery electric propulsion technology, even for larger vehicle segments and real-world ranges greater than 200 miles. The “ECO” advantage is not just about saving money – it also gives our planet cleaner air, creates more freedom,  with better security, by being more energy independent.  Elon Musk is indeed a pioneer for the planet – he was acknowledged with the 2010 Automotive Executive of the Year Innovator Award for hastening the development of electric vehicles throughout the global automotive industry.

There are now enough OEM’s with alternative models to give hope to the concept of a more secure, healthy planet independent of fossil fuel, and the many negative repercussions of continuing to choose this source of energy for our future.  We at WTN still stand firm with Elon Musk and others – that electric charging to a renewable energy source is the ideal way to go.  But the hydrogen fuel cells like the Hyundai’s (with the Tucson hydrogen fuel cell crossover, unveiled at the LA Auto Show), bio-diesel, and natural gas are some of the other energy modalities considered “ECO” that WTN chooses not to focus on.  These energies each have side effects or repercussions that may not be in our best interest long run, considering the whole cradle to cradle cycle of “ECO” with our energy and our planet’s resources, but still probably better than fossil fuel. For example the Hydrogen Bubble we predict will burst with the combustion aspect of hydrogen, as well as the fact it is a highly energy intensive process to produce hydrogen from electrolysis of water or the dirty alternative from fossil fuels, and,  natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and has water and air quality issues when it is sourced from shale gas with sloppy production practices – the debate around hydraulic “fracking”, and bio diesel has environmental impacts as it still burns fuel, which produces CO-2.

“Teaming Up” to “green” isn’t just a World Team Now concept.  Companies are just coming together to brand around the environment they are also co-branding around innovate technology, for the health of both products, people and our planet.  Mercedes-Benz and Google are “Teaming Up” on hardware –  the automaker is developing an in-car integration for Google Glass. Innovative technology is used not to just better direct drivers, but to also prevent accidents and aide people with automated self-driving vehicles. Technology that allows vehicles to communicate with other vehicles is being developed. People buying EVs or PHEVs represent a growing eco-consciousness.  Ford Energi LifestyleTechnology can help bring the world to a place where we are better stewards of the earth and now days this means connected technology. Aware of this, the organizers of the LA Auto Show created the Connected Car Expo. It was a one-day conference and three-day expo on connecting the car to its greater environment – the driver, other autos, and the home or office for enhanced safety, comfort, entertainment, and most importantly realizing the full ecological value of EVs and PHEVs. The connectedness to the greater surroundings means collaboration with other manufactures and interests so headlines like “Ford Teams Up to Save Energy with MyEnergi Lifestyle” appear. This teaming is with unlikely companies such as Eaton, SunPower and Whirlpool, Infineon, and Nest Labs.

The Public Days’ Ride and Drive grew with many vehicles this year to test out what is green and innovative. Some the Technology demo-ed;

  • Adaptive-cruise control
  • Automatic park-assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Front-crash mitigation
  • Radar-based object detection systems

Ford has branded their take on this as the MyEnergi Lifestyle. The Ford solution to off peak charging – value charging – is available on all Ford plug-in vehicles with the MyFord Mobile app.

Ford's Green Wall at the 2013 LA Auto Show

Ford’s Green Wall at the 2013 LA Auto Show

More innovation competed at the LA Auto show with the fast pitch competition for innovators with concepts to take to the connected auto market. The FASTPITCH Competition winner, Estify, was announced by Robert Herjavac of ABC’s “Shark Tank”. Estify won with a platform to streamline collision repair. With innovative and green technology,  “Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 – Nature’s Answer to Human Challenges” was another of the many interesting events> Contests and awards such as; “ Innovation Car of the Year”(There was a tie for the winner by two light weight vehicles) and “Green Car of the Year”– the Honda Accord.

At the LA Auto Show, together the innovation, technology, “Teaming Up” for “ECO” make this event that not only drives the transportation section but is indeed inspiring change for all – reaching an expected 900,000 thousand people who plan to actually attend.

The Puma–  the antithesis of   “ECO. It only gets up to 14 miles per gallon.

The Puma– the antithesis of “ECO. It only gets up to 14 miles per gallon.

I left with both a tear and laughter upon seeing the “Puma”, a vehicle that is the antithesis of our “ECO” – it gets an ideal 14 MPG (more realistically 7 MPG) and is priced at over a million dollars.

This vehicle, The Puma is named after the threatened species.  We are thankful vehicles like these are rare, and if they make all people laugh or cry they will help us all from becoming an endangered species.

The Puma

The Puma

But with more and more hybrids, PHEVs and ideally straight EVs, we could all benefit from being aware of “ECO” and choosing to be better stewards of our resources in our homes and with by we choose to drive.

 

 

© World Team Now (WTN) 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Solar Impulse— Living Dreams of Transformation

Across America 2013:Final leg from Washington DC. to New-York City. Final Approach © Solar Impulse |Revillard| Rezo.ch

Across America 2013:Final leg from Washington DC. to New-York City. Final Approach © Solar Impulse |Revillard| Rezo.ch

Pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the pilots for the all-solar plane, had the dream for The Solar Impulse— the first manned flight to fly both day and night. When we first met, it was a model plane and now it has made history.  There are few people who choose to live their lives by pioneering inspirational projects that prioritize the global dream of transformation; in that spirit we are united.  In this way, even when I met Bertrand Piccard and André Roschberg for the first time in Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 at the United Nation’s conference COP15, they shined the light through their eyes, with words and ultimately deeds of inspiration.

Bertrand Piccard and André' Roschberg of the SolarImpulse at The United Nation's Conference COP15 Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 when the SolarImpulse was a model and a dream.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg of the Solar Impulse at The United Nation’s Conference COP15 Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 when the Solar Impulse was a model and a dream.

The Solar Impulse when it was a model at COP15 in 2009.

The Solar Impulse when it was just a model at COP15 in 2009. Now its mission has been accomplished — to demonstrate that flight can be done in a totally sustainable way. Now on to the second Solar Impulse airplane, the HB-S1B, in 2015!

Betrand would say, “Life is not governed by chance, but by encounters”.  We shared about realizing dreams against seemingly impossible challenges; we shared visions, and together laughed louder than the chorus’ that sang songs of cynicism and doubt, and knew this was an important time for our planet.  A time where human’s challenge to live in balance with our natural resources needed demonstration. The Across America journey was then a distant dream.  From San Francisco to Texas to Arizonia to St. Louis to Washington DC and ultimately to New York.

The Solar Impulse the all-solar airplane follows in a rich tradition of risky aviation demonstrations from the Wright Brothers to Lindberg’s hop over the Atlantic. These pioneers used their flights to push the dream into reality, launching new industries by piloting courageous first flights for the public to witness.  Bertrand’s family has a lineage of this type of pioneering legacy as well, with a message. But it is more than the technology, it is a model for a path that is needed—and each major step, is a metaphor not just for realizing aviation dreams but also for a demonstration project about renewable energy to combat climate change. It’s more than teaming-up unique pioneers like Bertrand and André. Herein, this project is a marriage of innovative technology and sustainability, both needed to come together for real change at a rapid rate with public adoption, for global transformation.

We at World Team Now watched from afar as the plane became a reality, as it was tested and flown in different parts of the world—following, promoting to the public, sharing, blogging, tweeting and holding the light that we would unite, and all of our dreams would indeed be realized. We watched and followed the stream in real time through the pilot’s journeys watching one major step after another.

In the tone of realizing dreams, and being an inspiration for the Wall Street financial world at REFF Wall Street our friends André and Bertrand, the Pilot's of the Solar Impulse airplane teamed-up for a game changing keynote speech.

In the tone of realizing dreams, and being an inspiration for the Wall Street financial world at REFF Wall Street our friends André and Bertrand, the Pilot’s of the Solar Impulse airplane teamed-up for a game changing keynote speech.

What a surprise to learn that both Bertrand and André Borschberg who I just followed virtually from St. Louis to Washington DC, would be the key note speakers for Renewable Energy Financing Forum (REFF) -Wall Street. REFF-Wall Street, an event World Team Now participated in as a supporting organization is held in New York City, and they, us, and the event would all be in New York.  Their key note’s message to the extremely traditional Wall Street financial brokers was that “green” was not just good for the ecology; it was also good for the economy, stimulating new industries, and many green jobs.  The Solar Impulse’s approach to financing going beyond traditional methods was indeed an entrepreneurial approach with integrated marketing partners, branded with their technology and services within the Solar Impulse, patrons, angels, and other fundraising mechanisms. This all hit home harder when President Obama  gave a speech on his plan to fight climate change which echoed similar sentiments that were spoken by the innovators of the Solar Impulse team. When we connected after the key note, I learned of the challenges of the last leg to New York with what was then an exact unknown departure date and time; there were still formidable obstacles. To top it off, it was a surprise to see Bertrand and André again in the same day during NY Clean Energy Week’s event at the Tesla showroom celebrating along with other innovators.

We at World Team Now worked diligently to find a way to support the last leg’s landing of the Across America from Washington to New York, and through our contacts at the Governor’s office were able to team-up people and bring in the Port Authority to participate and contribute to help overcome some of the obstacles.

Visit our gallery of the Solar Impulse JFK Landing by clicking on the picture.

Visit our gallery of the Solar Impulse JFK Landing by clicking on the picture.

We were honored to participate in a slice of history and be present for the successful landing of the Solar Impulse at JFK on Saturday July 6th 2013 at 11:09 pm. This “dream come true” moment was ineffable. To be in the presence of all who made the living dream of transformation a true reality, to share in the moment of completion of the Across America Journey with them and be there to see with one’s own eyes is an indelible moment that lives in many lives, besides mine. There was only a small group of us VIPs, journalists, and 50 lucky contest winners allowed to this special historic event. Not only was aviation history written in New York, but it was such a victorious event, as the plane continued to fly even after a rip in the fabric about 8 feet occurred in flight, forcing the plane to land early and modify their originally intended route and landing time.

Had the plane crashed, instead of the one in San Francisco, of course all eyes would have been on the Solar Impulse (a commentary about our society’s present values).  Those of us that bore witness to this historical moment were so elated; a spirit that was contagious with looks of awe in the silence and lack of noise, with clean fresh breathable air free of burned jet fuel, with a wing span (208 ft / 63.4m)  a bit larger than a 747 ‘s  (195 ft 8 in / 59.6 m) when it landed a few feet in front of us on the tarmac where we waited.  We met others who were equally blown away by this moment and also captured it here in Roland Pabst’s blog.  The media impressions surpassed expectations with  8.3  billion thus far—which is significant, especially given the poor presence of traditional media sources at the New York landing.

The public at large has had a hard time of truly understanding the full potential of solar energy and other renewables as well as the importance of the change to a more balanced energy source.  So when people can see that the all-solar plane flies at night they begin to really understand the battery storage concept— the choice to be able to feed energy back into the electrical grid and/or store energy, and even sell it back to the grid or use it.  As Bertand explained, “Our plane, Solar Impulse, was never designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message”.

We learned more about the message at the press conference on Monday; events continued reaching the public like the opening of NASDAQ where Tom Werner from SunPower rang the bell with Bertrand and André.  Then the meeting at the U.N. where the Clean Tech flag was planted—hopefully this will further inspire the U.N. towards a binding climate treaty— finally (especially after the horror of Copenhagen) —  we are long overdue for global action for collective energy and for our one environment, our one world.  The people of New York got other opportunities to share in the gift of the Solar Impulse at the various other community events hosted by sponsors, such as Schindler at the Intrepid.  We hope this inspires you to see for yourself and take advantage of the Solar Impulse’s Public Day.  If you miss the Solar Impulse this time, keep it on your radar, as in they will return during their World Tour in 2015.  Say good-bye to this airplane yourself— it is for all people to see here in the USA at JFK now for the public, click here to find out more. Be an ambassador for our future, and go and see the beauty and possibility the Solar Impulse represents.

Act Locally, Act Globally – Think of Us All As Part of One

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Change seems to be accelerating. Change, not just with our climate, but also with the “systems” humanity has created, spurred by Globalization.  Whether that be the legal system, political system, financial system, health care system, or educational system— the systems in place to provide the world’s basic needs.  Have we learned to scale our systems to meet Globalization’s challenges? Humanity can learn  from how nature scales to support the whole—  Biomimicry of man-made systems seems key to the stewardship of our earth and for an organically sustainable future.   

Global transformation is in the works, and is needed within all systems including those within our one global governing body – the United Nations. Friday ended the two week climate talks in Bonn, Germany. The disappointment was all too familiar as it seemed like yesterday, but it was a year ago when World Team Now produced the event as part of the UNFCC’s Rio+20, and also an event at The People’s Summit.  We went down to Rio once again with great expectations for more progress than what was able to be achieved inside the United Nations’ RIO+20 conference’s time. So now, it is distressing that there was a huge snag caused by foot dragging by Russia in a key entity, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). At least there was some progress in the overarching 2015 international climate action agreement. Why wait until disaster? We clearly need more projects that influence public perception. “To see is to believe” for most, so we need more examples to inspire the masses to embrace change.

At World Team Now, we are growing, and eager to see the change that happens once our non-profit World Team Now can be supported by our World Team multi-media platform, and broadcast.  Our World Team project too needs to be demonstrated to be fully understood, and to that end our development of our pilot project continues.  While we are working to have this World Team model up in full scale, we have been occupied with events.  In California, for example what we did in Malibu with Earth Day (photo album here), with our “Ride & Drive”, and “The Circle-Up  Around Renewable Energy”.  We owe a shout-out to all of those who showed up to participate or volunteer, and for the support of Nissan of Thousand Oaks, and Edwards/Wildman.  We hope to be sharing some of the edited footage soon at WTN’s upcoming event September 26 and 27.   Another example is what World Team Now is doing in NY to support ACORE’s Renewable Energy Financing Forum (REFF)-Wall Street. Join us and get 20% off registration by using this code “SPT20WTN”. REFF is the perfect activity, included with more than 20 Energy Industry Events for New York City’s Energy Week, June 24th-28th.

Please save the dates for World Team Now’s upcoming annual event in Malibu September 27th & 28th, 2013. Watch World Team Now’s Event’s page for more details about the timing.

Speaking of timing, two great renewable energy demonstration projects born in Switzerland also have “New York” as a destination.  PlanetSolar, is the world’s largest solar boat, and it includes an interesting research component with the project it just arrived in New York.  The soaring approach to change done state by state has value. The Solar Impulse is a renewable energy demonstration project with great potential. You can take flight and  follow in real time on their final segment of the “Across America” trip, and join the history in the making as they land in New York early July.

Planet Solar is in New York

PlanetSolar reaches New York, the second american stopover of its 2013 campaign

The two states where World Team Now is based are proudly taking leadership positions in the environmental transformation needed to address climate change— let’s hear it for California and New York, especially Mayor Bloomberg’s action plan to address the affects of climate change .  The water situation and the issue of drought is rapidly becoming more serious, due to climate change.  Often, to execute solutions at a scale needed to address the affects of climate change, bonds are created.  California is taking the lead with creating a Water Bond.  World Team Now was present when Senator Fran Pavley, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, hosted the Hearing; “Encouraging Regional Water Solutions: Implications for a Statewide Water Bond” at Pepperdine University.  Californians are set to vote on the $11.1 billion water bond in November, 2014.

More action needs to be able to take place on a state level and even city level, which gives more weight to the “Think globally, act locally” mantra—  but not to preclude think global act global actions which are needed as well— the local can catalyze the global.    It is a huge victory to finally permanently close the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in California, not just for the immediate risk of radiation, but also in respect of the long term issue of what to do with the radioactive rods which are byproducts of nuclear reactors. With no safe disposal protocol for these rods, even closed plants will continue to pose risks to the public and our planet forever The pressure is on for Southern California Edison to strive towards truly renewable energy— the kind with no radioactive byproducts to threaten public safety. It is time for us citizens to spearhead energy independence, be active in supplying a diversity of local renewable energy resources (supporting grid stability as a benefit), and to learn how to responsibly use energy.

But it is time for the whole of us in society to consider “Act locally, Act globally- Think of us all as part of ONE”.