World Team Now!

World Team Now-Environmental & Social Transformation

Category: Global environment (page 1 of 5)

World Team Follows as Fiji Leads from the Pacific Islands Part 1 Turtle Island ©

By Suzanne Maxx ©

The Blue Lagoon Yasawa Islands photo © World Team Now/Maxx

The Pacific Island Region seemed to call, and last year I went on an adventure to the islands of Fiji and Samoa. In the past, we had looked for a location in the United States where our non-profit organization 501 (C) (3) World Team Now (WTN) could go a step beyond Sustainability and demonstrate a renewable future. The answer to the search came with an invitation from a representative of the Fiji Government to visit the islands of Fiji.

World Team Now’s goal was to apply the experience of our Orangetown Green Microgrid entry in the New York Microgrid Prize and share the perspective gained from working on renewable energy and other related systems. World Team Now had previously succeeded with small alternative energy projects in our home state of California, such as helping the City of Malibu install Electric Vehicle Chargers in our EV Charging Campaign. In New York (where WTN is also registered), we did a net metering initiative that helped solar owners in Lake Placid, NY, finally get the right meters to profit from their solar installations. We were ready to do more.

I was on assignment for Environment News Service to keep on writing about Small Island Developing States, (SIDS, the UN acronym) and continued to do so while on this journey by writing about Eco Resorts in Fiji (click here to read articles).

Some colleagues referred to my experience in simultaneously seeking an island location for our World Team project as Dating Geography. What I discovered on this journey was surprising, and unexpected— and shocking that it took a year to assimilate. There are few words for the events that continued in this time of transformation.

Fiji and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) may end up leapfrogging the developed nations and become the model for a sustainable future to benefit us all. In this region, ecology and economy can grow to scale and this new development may more appropriately be called Large Ocean Island States (LOIS) in the future.

Flying to Yasawa Islands Fiji photo © World Team Now/Maxx

Blending the two words ecology and economy, the Small Island Republic of Fiji has leading Eco Resorts that stretch beyond the imagination. These Fijian Eco Resorts are leading with an Eco prowess formula for sustainability, and it is not just for the tourists’ benefit, or for profit, but for the benefit of all who live there as well.

Fiji is one of the few naturally pristine island chains left in the world. Located in the Pacific Island Region, Fiji is one of the rare places that still has beautiful coral reefs, flora, and fauna, along with a crystal clear view of stars and starfish alike from the more than 333 Small Islands that make up the Republic of Fiji. Recently, Fiji ranked at the top of Google’s search engine after Fiji’s 7’s won the Olympic Gold in Rugby, but surprisingly Fiji is also searched for happiness and world peace.

Arrived in Nadi Airport, Fiji— People crowd TV to see Fiji 7s Win Olympic Gold! © World Team Now/Maxx

On the world stage, The Republic of Fiji has moved into global leadership and action, not just by their first local team win in Rugby at the Olympics, but also because, in UN terms, Fiji represents leadership action globally.

Fiji was the first United Nations (UN) member to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. His Excellency, Peter Thomson of Fiji, led the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for the year through September 2017.  His UNGA leadership was a historical first for an island state, with many successes.

H.E. Peter Thompson President of the General Assembly and Suzanne Maxx at the UN Ocean Conference photo by Tomas Pico /UN

As the President of the 71st General Assembly, Peter Thomson held a High-Level Event, titled “Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda,” in collaboration with the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). So many UN Member States wanted to participate that another day had to be added to the one-day event. On May 18, 2017, H.E. Peter Thomson facilitated the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on financing the SDGs’ future. Along with Sweden, Fiji organized the UN-Ocean Conference in New York, June 5–10, 2017. World Team registered the UN Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Sustainable Solutions Ocean Opportunities on the Small Island States (SOS-IS) at the Ocean Conference. H.E. Thomson followed up the Ocean Conference with multi-stakeholder partners conference call on the Mangroves which we joined for the status update coming into his new role continuing with work for the Ocean. Watch the closing of the UNGA with the summary of H.E. Thomson’s  accomplishments.

Fiji hosts the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCC’s COP23 from November 6–17, 2017 in Bonn, Germany (being held in Bonn, due to Fiji’s lack of capacity to host more than 20,000 guests in any one island area venue).

With a relatively new Constitution to govern the Republic, Fiji is in the process of petitioning to join the UN Council for Human Rights in 2018.

Of all the treasures Fiji boasts, the most valuable may be the welcoming character and loving (Bula) nature of the native people and their culture. Even industry, Fiji Airlines, for example, welcomes all in a BIG way.

Airport, Fiji

Fiji Airways hanger. © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

The native culture’s hospitality yields care— coming from an organic, authentic lifestyle that lives close to nature and is intimate with the ocean.  Like most island republics, the intimacy and relationship to the ocean are core and, like the breath inhales/exhales, ebbs and flows, the resources of fishing, eco-tourism, flora, and fauna provide what is needed for the people and the planet.

Yet, with the sea level rising, the increased frequency and scope of storms, ocean acidification, pollution, and climate change are all becoming intensified threats to the thriving natural existence of this paradise found. The region is highly susceptible to climate change— hit in 2016 with the record-breaking category 5 cyclone Winston, Fiji knows the ramifications of Climate Change. Living with and on the ocean becomes more challenging to the Fijian traditional way of organizing island life, and sustainable development becomes a necessity going forward. All these elements together make the Small Island Developing States more vulnerable.

This vulnerability of the Pacific Island Region is, however, becoming a leadership strength. They recognize that economy and ecology go hand in hand, and have prioritized sustainability in their development process that could set an example, and not just for island nations. The islands are fragile and vulnerable, yet because of their size and present state of development, they have the greatest opportunity to demonstrate true and lasting sustainability. The lessons learned from the industrially developed world, choosing to sacrifice living with the intimacy of nature in favor of profit, the Fijian sustainable development model is striving for a better balance.

The Blue Lagoon Yasawa Islands photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

This is a win/win for ecology and economy considering the future generation’s lives, and in terms of people, biodiversity, and our common home. Even within the rural locations in the developed world, the investment in antiquated infrastructure and a primary fossil-fuel-based electrical grid make the transition to renewable energy more expensive, slower, and harder, keeping the profits in the hands of the privileged and benefiting few. Fortunately, in the Small Island States, the policy, and regulatory structures are not now obstacles in the same way.

Since many small islands have been without water and electricity, it is both economically and ecologically beneficial to start with renewable energy systems. Fiji has embraced the changing times, planning for and allowing Climate Change refugees from neighboring islands in the Pacific Island Region, such as Kiribati, to arrive, and is welcoming them and other island natives to Fiji as their home.

Eco Resorts and Tourism’s business model seem to create a win-win-win for all— foreigners get to enjoy nature’s best in a peaceful, rich environment with cultural diversity. Natives benefit from the jobs created locally, and the economic and tax benefits for the republic end up building a more sustainable future.


Turtle Island

From Nadi, a seaplane will take you to Turtle Island, a pioneering romantic honeymoon Eco Resort, developed initially for couples. Many of Turtle Islands Eco-design systems can be seen from the Turtle Airways seaplane.

Boarding Turtle Airways Seaplane photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

For small islands that have been without water and electricity, resorts like Turtle Island have found renewable energy systems to be sustainable.

Turtle Island Resort is one of the leaders in renewable energy systems and living by cradle-to-cradle principles— much more than a desalination resort, it is a paradise found in sustainability.

The 500-acre island is kept in line with nature preservation as they move towards their net-zero island goal for renewable energy. The solar farm that primarily powered The Turtle Island Resort at the time of my stay was 1.2 megawatts of solar energy with battery storage.

Turtle Island Solar Farm © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Upon arrival at Turtle Island, you are carried from the seaplane to the shore by natives serenading with a local song, and it seems the whole island’s population joyously celebrates your arrival like a holiday. The heartwarming welcome, Bula, exclaimed by natives who live and work on the island, brings on a feeling of home in its purest sense because love is present and freely offered and everything is set up for you and your partner’s comfortable participation in sharing island life.

Nature’s gift organized by Turtle Island, Bure’s entrance Photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Water is harvested from the natural environment, with both rainwater (catchment) and seawater taking the salt out of the sea (desalination), to make fresh water. The fresh water is collected in a reservoir and stored in water tanks. It is not just the beauty of the famous surrounding Blue Lagoon shores, it is also the way they work with and use water— beauty from what is put within and all around at this Eco-luxury Resort.

Cradling Turtle Island, The Blue Lagoon Photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Turtle Island is the brainchild of Richard Evanson, and now his son Richard Evanson Junior (Jr) who continues to expand and implement the vision of this island to preserve the natural habitat and enhance the natural beauty of the island, prioritizing sustainability.  They have preserved wildlife by bringing in species and creating the breeding ground for these species to thrive, like, for instance, the colorful wild collection of tropical birds in flocks that include parrots, cockatoos, and parakeets.

Mahogany Tree in Turtle Island’s Legacy Forrest © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

According to Richard Jr., who continues the family legacy of Turtle Island, “The Island boasts guava, papaya, passion fruit, soursop, and coconut trees, with more than 900,000 thousand trees planted,” since his father Richard Sr. envisioned Turtle Island.

© World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

 

Traditional Kava Ceremony/ Turtle Island Staff Photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Jr. explained,  “Dad strategically planted 60–75 thousand Mahogany trees, not only to preserve the land and prevent devastation by being organic, natural fire-damage prevention, but also to increase the land value… the trees support ecological biodiversity, prevent soil erosion, create windbreaks, and help the reforestation of indigenous forests.” Their family’s philosophy, explained Richard Jr, is that “Decisions and developments must make financial sense, have environmental integrity, benefit the local people, and celebrate the heritage and culture of a place.”

The Kava ceremony and native traditional dance and songs augment the heartfelt sharing with staff and island entertainment in the evenings.

Here is my video of Fiji Traditional Culture Song & Dance.

Anniversary Ritual From Couple’s Honey Moon Photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

In every breath at Turtle Island, there is the opportunity for intimacy, not only with your partner, but with the orchids, the birds, and the ocean. Whether you want to kayak or do stand-up paddle boarding into the sunset, dive or snorkel, meditate on the colorful patterns of the fish you swim with, or go for a horseback ride, all are captivating ways to relate romantically to the island and ocean and one another.

Turtle Island Patty’s Private Beach Lookout Photo © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

Intimacy on Turtle Island is prioritized to have all honeymoon expectations met, catering to personal desires, like, for example, just for you and your loved one, your own special menu for private dining on your own floating table while watching the sunset on the ocean, or dining under the stars.

Or the option to create your own private beach excursion and picnic meals. Food Director and world-renowned chef, Jacques Reymond use wild-caught, fresh seafood right out of the ocean to create culinary art which feeds all the senses. Think Pacific green lobster, snapper, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and prawns, integrated with fresh home-grown vegetables, coconuts from the trees, all combined together for culinary masterpieces, or look at the cuisine here. Each person’s dietary needs can be met, or custom made to the activity and the adventure or environment of the moment. It is more than the body that is fed, and the community-style meals bond hearts, with all else that is needed provided for in your Bure.

© World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

The 14 handcrafted native Bures are mostly constructed and carved from island-grown hardwoods. The Bures have an authentic Fijian design and are equipped with all the ideal creature comforts. In addition to having double showers, and bathrooms, tranquility reigns with the deck’s day bed by the ocean and the beachside hammock under the palm trees.  The pristine pure scent of the tropical flowers, mixed with the salty ocean spray is intoxicating. The ocean and its bathwater temperature make each private Bure’s large sunken Jacuzzi just another version of the play in a warm water paradise.

Here is a Video Tour of the Turtle Island of a Bure.

 

The View from the Villa’s Day Bed, Turtle Island © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

There is a full-service Spa on the island— Vonu Spa’s four hands, two masseurs for one body, Lomi Lomi massage experience, with all-natural Pure Fiji, is to live for. Turtle Island is an exclusive paradise, with the perfect amount of luxury and openness to what is natural. Activities are optional, flexible, and can be tailored to your need, and they range from learning the Fijian language to native culinary delights, or Zen and the Art of Opening Coconuts.

Turtle Island not only looks like a turtle but is also a breeding and nesting ground for sea turtles, where turtles come onshore to lay their eggs at night. Turtle Island’s conservation program is in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, and you can learn more about their Sea Turtle Program here.

Paradise Found comes with also facing the reality of duality— nothing in form is perfect, or rather perfection lies in embracing imperfection, as well as the constant aspect of change. This includes the paradise found on Turtle Island Resort too.  It is indeed the will to keep doing better, growing and improving that counts.  Willingness to change is a quality that World Team Now embraces, as we have learned this makes for the extraordinary and is a key to the transformation of an island.  Solutions that we suggested seemed welcomed in the intimacy of Turtle Island. It was a joy to see Monica Laurence, the niece of Richard Sr.,  embrace the suggestion to have the Farm to Table fresh home-grown food be Organic or even Bio.  This happened because I had met a Fijian woman, Vitila Vuniwaqa of Vee’s Farm, with deep roots and contacts in the organic farm community, and introduced her to Monica. By now Turtle Island could be well on their way to being Organic Farm to Table.  And we hope that, in the process, they have found a plant-based solution to approaching insects.

The Vital Role of Mangroves, Turtle Island © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

When the solar energy scales up further, and perhaps when hydrogen and other storage and energy sources we discussed are added, Turtle Island will reach the 100% renewable goal, operating 100% of the time. I had an island tour in one of the electric golf carts, which was one of the first alternative vehicles used on the island.  With other alternative vehicles suggested, like electric and hydrogen fuel cell, cars, trucks, and trackers, all could be further integrated into the island’s transportation modes.  Once these become economical to import, islanders will ultimately no longer need the diesel gas used; meanwhile, we discussed the possibility of biodiesel down the road. Fossil Fuel freedom is on the horizon for these islands that have developed by being in tune with nature.

It seems the goal of everyone on Turtle Island is to make each and every person feel like family and attend to their every need with a genuine kindness, not because it is their job, but because this is who the Fijian people are— happy, so they want to spread what makes them feel good. A family member died during my stay, and the support and kindness extended to me by the locals and the Evanson family made it possible for me to go forward there. Monica Laurence has carried the Turtle Island bond forward into future generations with Turtle Talks (watch here).

Turtle Island’s Bula spirit gives back to the communities and supports the education of islanders and some special programs that include island rugby. Turtle Island’s motto is “Ask for anything” within the sustainable resort experience. Turtle Island prioritizes a balance between the environment and culture, with the emphasis on couples, family legacy, and the willingness to give back to local communities with programs from rugby to education.

Turtle Island, Fiji ‘s legacy is true, Once Discovered Never Forgotten, see more from the fabulous new website here.

Turtle Island © World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx

 

 Eco Island Adventure To Be Continued…

Summary of World Team Follows as Fiji Leads in the Pacific Island Region Posts

World Team Follows as Fiji Leads from the Pacific Islands Part 1 Turtle Island ©

By Suzanne Maxx © The Pacific Island Region seemed to call, and last year I went on an adventure to ...
Read More

World Team Follows as Fiji Leads in the Pacific Island Region Part 2 Wayalailai Ecohaven Resort

By Suzanne Maxx ©World Team Now Fiji Part 2 Travel to the Yasawa Islands to... Wayalailai Ecohaven Resort Leading the ...
Read More

World Team Follows as Fiji Leads in the Pacific Island Region Part 3 JMC

By Suzanne Maxx ©World Team Now Continued; Part 3 Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort So too, our love for the ocean is ...
Read More

World Team Follows as Fiji Leads in the Pacific Island Region Part 4 Global View

By Suzanne Maxx ©World Team Now Continued; Part 4 Koro Sun Resort Koro Sun Resort’s 160-acre sanctuary on the island ...
Read More

World Team Now’s Gala Event June 9th

Join our non-profit World Team Now  for an exclusive event to celebrate the launching of the World Team project’s  SOS-IS multi stakeholder partnership and surprise announcements of members of the World Team. The event includes open bar, oyster tasting, amuse-bouche, soft shell crab, sea scallops, ricotta toast, tomato and watermelon, and french fries. The event is being held at Grand Banks, a celebrated oyster bar aboard the historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker located on Pier 25 in Manhattan on the Hudson River. See http://www.grandbanks.org/ take in how special this event will be. You might have noticed the .org – Grand Banks is famous for its leadership in the sustainable seafood movement and is a partner in The Billion Oyster Project and generates funds to support maritime conservation, education, and preservation.

The gala is sponsored by  EARTHx http://www.earthx.org. Our deep appreciation goes to EARTHx

More details on our Gala will be updated here and on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/worldteamnow/ and Twitter feed WorldTeam1.

Follow our adventure through the blog, become a volunteer, make a donation, or collaborate as a partner, and join our Friends and Allies’ programs.  Understand better who we are by checking out our past and ongoing campaignsRead here about our technology servicesClick here for a list of all our past newsletters.

Grand Banks
Pier 25 @ N. Moore St. and West St
Hudson River Park
New York, NY 10013
http://www.grandbanks.org/

There is an Icon parking garage on Greenwich St. just south of N. Moore, and limited street parking on the northbound lane of West St. There is also street parking on streets in neighborhood of Grand Banks,Tribeca

 

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.

‘Twas the Night Before…

20141215_205110

We know times are changing when a department store’s holiday window decorations moves the Christmas story to outer space. We found humor here — a contrast for levity

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through each house,

Renewable energy was chosen, with a click of a mouse;

The last of Hanukkah candles burned ever so bright,

Winter Solstice, darkness, a time awaiting the light;

A year of change began causing everyone to look,

At our earth, our resources, to revise our world’s book;

How we live with another, beyond every divide,

Caused question, unrest, not a peaceful tide;

We knew from all stories that salvation was near,

Could we reflect, go beyond, and eliminate our fear?

20141215_205329Electrons were net positive, zero energy from the grid, we had to use,

All energy sourced from wind, sun, earth, and water — a menu, you’d choose;

Governance, politics, law, countries, religion, cultural- which had all caused a divide,

We lived into the possibility to re-imagine, to live in harmony, letting peace abide;

The real war was realized in a willingness to change,

Old structures, transformed — now stewardship remained;20141215_205142

Teaming-up all us people, everyone together in action now,

A tool, our platform, World Team could be a way how;

Every structure, system, convention, protocol to regulate how we lived here on earth,

Was re-thought, renewed, re-purposed, and transformed to better live for our planet’s re-birth;20141215_205304

Paris 2015 promised global policy all countries made the choice,

All nations for stewardship considering the planet and giving all people a voice;

With global partners like TckTckTck , Action 2015, Avaaz, 350.org and more campaigns teaming-up,

T.ime, E.nergy, A.ction and M.oney our TEAM to balance with winning’s greater than the World Cup;

20141215_205208

We could choose planet over profit for us people, a future to endorse,

World Team helped to choose clean energy, consider our environment, and create a new course;

All people realized the possibility of a World Team, woven together in all hearts,

A platform, of oneness for all, where change could go past fits and starts;

We looked back on the conventions, protocols, and the effort to define the way to unite all Nations,

Explored going to Mars, living on others planet, leaving earth behind, was more than temptations;

20141215_205244Each person chose to think first of the other, the whole, our planet, our water, air, real food and our earth,

With a willingness to change even before buying, consuming, and choosing what might be for their own individual worth;

We could sing “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”

We could read from the Bible, Torah, Koran, Gita; and say “let love be…”

20141215_205432Can the spirit within, and upon us manifest devotion to action, and a change of life?

A world where law was just, enforcement was not forced, and public servants served the people beyond all strife;

All people spoke their native language and were truly understood

A world beyond language where hearts ruled, and we realized they could;

We remembered we are the power, Divine Love is our source,

When we choose to all work together, we can make a strong force;

We envisioned a future beyond all of our history,20141215_205413

In the gift of the present we gained reverence for life’s ultimate mystery.

 

© By Suzanne Maxx 2014

 

Grateful for the United Nations

By Suzanne Maxx

It’s taken me a while to digest all that has happened this past fall in New York with our World Team project. There is truly much to be grateful for— thankfully it is more than the climate that is changing.

20140924_113238-sm

Inside the United Nations

Change is at work in the U.N. and I experienced it firsthand this year, where I ended up on the inside during the week of the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA). The Climate Summit 2014 ended up to be subtle game changer, in retrospect, attributed primarily to the residue from the before with the People’s Climate March.  We were glad to be part of the team that helped to make it be historical. The March had an impact. Certainly it was the first time in the history of New York that 42nd St. was closed for an event, but with hundreds of thousands of people that took to the streets, leaders finally took notice of the scale of this constituency that demanded climate action.  If a world leader sitting in the UNGA was not personally engaged in the March, they at least had to take notice— especially when they were moved to their feet for a standing ovation from this video.  There is something powerful about this video— we decided to use it again below, in case you missed it in our prior blog “PeoplesClimate Moves Masses and the United Nations”.

Insert Video again

The UN events that had the most impact personally, came about by surprise. I was happy to be a leader of an NGO, (our World Team Now) and end up on the inside of the United Nations. However, clearing the multiple levels of security at least three check point made airport security seem like a breeze.20140924_115122_001-sm

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Awards since its launch three years ago has grown from 8 to 65 participating countries and from a handful of founding civil society leaders to hundreds of organizations engaged in the OGP around the world.  Open government reform commitments (200 plus) demonstrate that there is strong demand for more open and accountable government around the world and the opportunity to change the culture of government has never been greater.

Indonesia had a prominent role now with OGP’s High Level Event with 11 heads of state in government and 30 ministers and more than 300 society leaders from around the world.  I was honored to attend.

I confess to have an opinion about the limitations of government growing up the family, of bureaucrats. My mom worked for the EPA and my step dad, HUD, and later FEMA, and they both had met at the Army Corps of Engineers. This concept of open government, where citizens were engaged, was new to me and only three years old to the United Nations. As I discussed, the role of government and society with my newly made friend from the Nestlé Corporation, I got more of the overview of Climate Week’s power from his journey at the Clinton Global Initiative. I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of critical conversations, especially when President Obama leaked to other governments that he had just left the room after to talking with a leader from China, and they had indeed finally agreed to some terms on Climate Agreement between the US & China that was formally announced later— truly new grounds.20140924_174757_004-sm

Denmark continues to be a leader, not just in renewable energy, but also in open government too.   In the Open Government Awards, Denmark’s initiative with the elderly,  took first-place!   A brilliant program where elderly citizens, 70+ are elected, to decision-making bodies in government and municipalities. The senior citizens are physically well functioning and eager to contribute to society. How wonderful that a government finds a value place for the elderly’s wisdom in society.  Hopefully more countries will duplicate this action with the “Statutory Elected Senior Citizens Council,” empowered by law Senior citizens actively influence local government policy.

The Open Government Partnership is a multi-stake initiative focused on improving government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens. OGP brings together government and civil society champions of reform, which recognize that governments are much more likely to be effective and credible if they open their doors to the public’s input and oversight. The concept of open government has enormous potential being able to take different sectors integrating government and society with for-profit and the nonprofit, corporations to create programs for people. Citizens can participate in bringing community to government to build our future. It’s not just the leaders’ job to bring policy to action. It’s also a way for the people to engage and the People’s Climate March was one day, one way, but we need the peoples’ voice to be heard, more frequently, and with a louder level.

I have to confess— it continues to be a challenge to hold the light and participate in the United Nations conferences, a process we have been involved with for over 20 years witnessing how little the nations seem to be united. But thankfully, we have a global structure for leaders to gather with the intent to unite.20140924_183129_007-sm

I received a letter from the president’s delivery unit for development monitoring and oversight (UKP4) and the national REDD+ agency of the Republic of Indonesia to attend climate week in New York for “The Transformative Potential of REDD+”.   Actually the preservation of forests are a passion of mine through our World Team Project’s journey, but our World Team Now is focused on renewable energy demonstration projects— so it was exciting to be back inside this conversation that dealt with preventing deforestation. I guess the seeds of where REDD+ was formed can be traced back to the first Earth Summit Global Forum that we attended in Rio. REDD+ seems to be making progress in Indonesia from the government’s point of view, but the language between the demand side, and sustainability does seem a bit blurred.

These days inside the UNGA, and leading up to the Climate Summit, were all consuming, getting very intense with much to process about the conversations I witnessed inside the United Nations, wishing I could do more than listen. I went to find solace in an empty quiet room seeking to find a Wi-Fi signal, to share back with the world. 20140924_150830-smHere were some of my Tweets from that day.

As I started to write, the empty room started to fill up with people many wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh headdress. The tension in the room was palpable, between them and others entering. My writing quickly turned to prayer as I began to wonder if I should leave after feeling out of place, clearly not belonging there. The time clearing security to get out, as people were trying to clear security and get in was blurred, but not enough to see the teleprompter screen by the entrance door. This was a moment I wondered if presence at the United Nations made a difference.

Outside the United Nations, the day before the Climate Summit we were part of a UN related event where women gathered in the UN Church, WeCAN. Familiar faces from the climate movement over the years shared about various actions women were leading around the world, many representing indigenous people. But these women leaders have made perhaps more progress than those on the inside wearing suits, to truly represent the people.

For us at World Team Now, Climate Week ended with a tour of a green building in Manhattan.

Although at the end of UNGA, it looked like we were quite far from any kind of outcome we were seeking for climate action in terms of policy, these following months revealed that indeed the USA and China have agreed to terms, a significant milestone and step towards solid action in global policy.  But will that be enough, and will the rest of the world unite as nations, for us people?  Paris 2015, UNFCC’s COP21 proposes to be the key opportunity for global climate policy action when the possibility to cut of fossil subsidies globally, may be more than a dream. Dream big: what about all Nations United, and the voice of the people to be heard in harmony, moving to action and change!

20140924_113429_000-sm

Older posts

© 2017 World Team Now!

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑