Join our nonprofit World Team Now for an exclusive event to celebrate the launching of the World Team project’s SOS-IS multistakeholder partnership and surprise announcements of members in the World Team. The event includes open bar, oyster tasting, amuse-bouche, softshell 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/ to take in how special this event will be. You might have noticed the .org – Grand Banks is famous for its leadership in the sustainable seafood movement and is a partner in The Billion Oyster Project and generates funds to support maritime conservation, education, and preservation.
There is an Icon parking garage on Greenwich St. just south of N. Moore, and limited street parking on the northbound lane of West St. There is also street parking on streets in neighborhood of Grand Banks,Tribeca
Inside the United Nations looking out- Photo Credit World Team Now/Suzanne Maxx
New York, New York USAToday at the United Nations 175 Countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement on opening day, Earth Day! Our World Team project is especially grateful for the leadership on the first 15 United Nations members that both signed and Ratified the Paris Agreement by Earth Day. This is a critical step to have the legal governmental framework for the revolutionary work to move towards our “100% Renewable Energy” global vision.
The most vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) know the reality of Climate Change, ironically they have to bare the most severe effects of the most developed regions actions. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon’s request for “All hands on deck,” from all U.N. members, comes to relevance especially in places like Fiji.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama
Video: UN Web TV footage
Just recovering from Tropical Cyclone Winston, with another threat coming at them now, Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama was front and center, contributing and bringing the gravel down to close the day’s session. Republic of Palau’s President, Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. captured the spirit of this time proclaiming, “On days like this you feel like you are part of a team”.
World Team has been on a long journey and search for a location that is eager to make that renewable energy transition. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need all the support we can give, and they hold the most promise for World Team project’s public work. SIDS are the most impacted and have the least. When we realize that over 62,000 people are displaced daily from climate or weather related events, it is stunning. Climate change refugees are growing. The funding coming from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will help, but that support needs to have been there yesterday.
For the Paris Agreement to come into force, 55% of the UN’s members must sign and ratify it, and this must account for at least 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. All members have a year, until Earth Day 2017- but obviously, the sooner the better.
Each country created their own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for the Paris Agreement, their status is here. Next we need all the INDC to become Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). These contributions are required to be ambitious and progressive, to be updated, increased, and submitted to the U.N. every five years.
The fundamental step of putting the governmental framework into place is happening; the nations are coming up with determined commitments for our species and our planet to help tackle the climate change challenge. Although what was started in Paris in 2015 is growing with efforts like the Renewable Energy Innovation Plan for Africa; the 70 Initiatives to find a broader solutions; Mission Innovation for Green Technology, and the Carbon Pricing Leadership. We all realize that this cannot be done by nations alone.
It will take many sectors to build to the change that is sustainable. The action of the signing sends signals to all markets. Some illuminating information was announced and shared over the course of the day. “Taking climate action to the next level: Realizing the vision of the Paris Agreement” was the title for the afternoon.
Key financial and business pledges are being made by entities teaming up to further the global goals of the Paris Agreement. Anne Stausboll, representing CalPERS, the largest U.S. public pension fund with almost 300 billion dollars in assets gave the update; watch here. She shared that Ceres, a nonprofit organization leading adoption of sustainable business practices, has joined forces with the CalPERS pension fund, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change. To mobilize the Paris Agreement, 400 investors with 24 trillion dollars in assets have been enrolled. “To achieve the goals of the Agreement, we know the world must invest at least one trillion dollars a year in clean energy for several decades,” she explained, “The Agreement has unleashed an unprecedented opportunity for institutional investors worldwide – a powerful global green light to shape tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.”
The Green Climate Fund which came out of the Paris Agreement is targeted to 100 billion a year in aid to developing countries. President Obama has pledged $3 billion to the GCF over four years. The first $500 million of that pledged amount was transferred. Countries are all together rising to action. The efforts of the two biggest emitters USA/China is supported by their agreement to one another.
Canada addresses the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement Credit: UN Photo
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, explained his country is committed to helping developing countries, “Since they should not be punished for a problem they did not create.” Canada’s $2.56 Billion (USD) pledge is good kindling to ignite a fire of support to assist developing countries to grow to be cleaner, and more sustainable.
Hoesung Lee from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared about how they have accepted the task to integrate science into implementation phase and submit mission reports on “Climate Change and Land Use,” plus reports on “Ocean and Ice”. In two years they will turn in a report that studies whether emissions targets of 1.5 degrees is the magic number that could halt the growing catastrophic effects of climate change, to see if that is indeed enough action. Private, public, businesses, NGOs financial sectors, and all citizens are all needed to team up, as people come to realize prompt action needs to begin now.
CEO of Unilever Paul Polman highlighted how the business and financial sector are lining up to address climate change:
At the Business and Climate Summit held May 2015, trade associations that represent 6.5 million businesses committed to addressing climate change.
A report by the New Climate Economy stated 90 trillion will be going to be made over the next 15 years in addressing urbanization and population growth issues and 13.5 trillion is already pledged for clean energy investments, which he said is a “good direction”.
The business and financial sector is making progress with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unilever’s CEO emphasized that climate change is key to 13 of the 17 SDGs. Now to “level” (pun intended) the playing field with energy sectors. Positive price signals are needed and a subsidy is a negative price signal. We love that the sentiment from Unilever’s leader who said, “That is a negative price on carbon when we need a positive price.” That statement was echoed throughout Earth Day from many speakers. The message to cut fossil fuel subsides, and create a carbon market was clear, and consistently delivered throughout all sectors on Earth Day.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and renowned campaigner of human rights and climate justice. It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. Picture: Captured from UN Web TV footage
Mary Robinson declared, “The world must target for 1.5 degrees or below rise and that requires carbon neutrality at, or before 2050. She was empathetic on pointing out that with the Paris Agreement, developing countries now have more responsibility in addressing climate change as each nation has to evaluate their NDCs— the annex 1 or annex 2 countries distinction made in the past is no longer …
Opening ceremony of Paris Agreement signingCredit: UN Photo
This year’s Earth Day had many events leading up to the big focus of 24 hours of U.N. festivities in New York. Once again, there were powerful contributions from many of the people instrumental through the World Team journey— champions of the environmental movement over the many years coming together: especially California Gov. Jerry Brown, former US Vice President Al Gore, and even our friend Bertrand Piccard via live web stream from the cockpit of SolarImpulse2 in flight to San Francisco-the next leg of the around the world flight in the solar airplane! Bertrand said, “More than protecting the environment, it’s the clean technology revolution, the solar airplane is like a smart grid with distributed energy”. He encouraged leaders saying in the webstream, “Be pioneers for solutions, don’t let resistance take over…”
Andre and Bertrand, pilots of Solar Impulse, with World Team Now’s Suzanne Maxx.
Actor, Activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, Leonardo Di Caprio reminded leaders of their power in choice quoting President Lincoln, “Our case is new, so we must think a new, and act anew.” He drew the parallel analogy of the defining issue of our time, between being free of fossil fuel, to the past, in being free from slavery. He explained, “Everyone knew it had to end, but no one had the political will to stop it.” In regards to bold Climate action he exclaimed, “You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them…”
Leonardo Di Caprio inspires leaders to create power for just action. Video: UN Web TV footage
In addition to U.N. member states, states like California are taking significant action on their own. Once again, World Team Now based in New York and California was excited to hear from our Gov. Jerry Brown who spoke about some of the key steps that California has taken and will take— including their own cap and trade program that is also connected with Quebec and Ontario. Al Gore, in comments he made after the afternoon panel Jerry was on, pointed out that California’s leadership under Jerry is from a position of influence— he explained, “If California was a country it would be the 5th largest economy in the world.”
Governor Jerry Brown of California speaks at the Paris Agreement at signing at the United Nations on Earth Day April 22nd. Video: UN Web TV footage
Some of the highlights from New York Mayor de Blasio’s speech shared the commitment to having every new car in New York’s City’s fleet being an electric with the goal of an electric fleet by the year 2025. Retrofits are required in both public and now private buildings and new buildings will have to be 60-80% more efficient than existing buildings.
In India, every light bulb is required to be LED, with the program launched by the government they have driven the cost down for the bulbs by economic demand, and now they are cheaper than other kinds of light bulbs, now priced about 80 cents and about 100 million have been installed Germany plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050.
President Barack Obama welcomed the signing of the climate agreement and said it will allow all of “our children to inherit a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet.” He said in a statement on Earth Day, “As the world’s second-largest source of climate pollution, America has a responsibility to act. The stakes are enormous — our planet, our children, our future.
John Kerry Signs Paris Agreement With Granddaughter on Lap High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement Credit: UN Photo
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, signed the historical agreement, ensuring it be witnessed by future generations by having his 2-year-old granddaughter Isabelle on his lap. Kerry followed up on President Obama’s Announcement which proclaims that the United States “looks forward to formally joining this agreement this year.”
It has been many years of attending these United Nations Climate events (COPs) dreaming that we could come to an agreement, sign it, and move into action. That day has come, it is here. World Team has been active with Earth Day for decades, but this was the first Earth Day that the distant dream for the global action by world leaders is being realized.
What an action packed period of time, this time has been, with record breaking action from countries around the world, and it’s about time. The pace is set we need for climate action, and the global renewable energy revolution, and it is happening, and it can’t happen quick enough. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are all interrelated and helpful to have delineated.
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moons called for all hands on deck to: "Turn Aspiration Into Action" - Countries Sign Paris Climate Agreement. Video: UN Web TV footage
It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. We are enthusiastic about the platform World Team will offer for all people as tool for engagement. We can see this renewable energy revolution is happening, but it will take a team, all of us. We have much to celebrate, yet much to do for humanity to live in balance with our resources and one another here on earth.
United Nations - "Protecting our Planet and Combatting Climate Change" is part of a UN short film series "The Story You are Shaping" produced by HUMAN, which premiered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015. Video: UN Web TV footage
Photo highlights of of the UN High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change can be found here and a text highlights of the ceremony can be found here. Below are some selected UN videos of the Ceremony:
It’s Groundhog Day! Today the Groundhog has not seen his shadow, so we can “SPRING” past winter! This is according to Punxsutawney Phil, and a team of other Groundhogs, in different locations.
Today, the energy sector mirrors the Groundhog Day’s dynamic, not seeing the shadow, overcome by light! Fossil fuel drops further, till #100%RenewableEnergy is global. This is the kind of global Groundhog Day that deserves repeating!
“The energy sector reflects #GroundhogDay dynamic, shadow-fossil fuel shares drop, light #100%RenewableEnergy grows!” WorldTeam1 wrote on Twitter. Does it sounds like we said this before? Well, “Yes.”–it’s Groundhog Day, and we will repeat! May this reality repeat.
“Groundhog Day” lives now not just as a weather, or community ritual to predict when the winter ends and spring comes. Groundhog Day has grown into a collective expression. The expression “Groundhog Day” refers to a situation that repeats until it changes.
We reflect on the core stages of awareness with the movie Groundhog Day. Each time when the situation repeats, there is growth. When the situation stops repeating altogether, then there is total transformation, and freedom from the past. Sound familiar? Watch to see hedonism transcended or uncover many religious, moral and ethical principles through Groundhog Day’s stages of awareness that reflect upon life’s spiritual journey. Dig deeper and you’ll see hints of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ principles on death and dying–All played out in a comedic way in the movie Groundhog Day.
May this Groundhog Day dynamic repeat until we have reached 100% renewable energy globally. Power to the People shows, we can participate in renewable energy power generation. Our energy’s source of power can be in balance with our resources. Let’s do it, and REPEAT! “Groundhog Day” is true for us too, “Living Into A World Team”! Let’s play to transform ourselves and our world.
The movement for global transformation, is building around the world. Everyone is needed— as it’s our common future, in our one common home, so we all are being called to take action.
Join an aerial art piece in Washington DC 4:00-6:00 AM, meeting at 7th and Jefferson. This human font Aerial Art masterpiece will be created by artist John Quigley of Spectral Q and is sponsored by the Franciscan Action Network, with Earth Day on the Mall— as Pope Francis addresses the US Congress at 10:00 AM you can watch the speech with a transcript here. A schedule of the pope’s visit to the US is here.
We’ll be in New York to “Light the Way”, “Under One Sky” in the evening across the street from the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 47th and 1st Avenue 4:30-5:30 a multi-faith Festival of Prayer and Music. You can participate wherever you are in the world tomorrow check to see if there is an event near you here.
Wherever you are you can watch New York’s leading conference, Reforming the Energy Vision, live. Tune in Thursday September 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. Click here to see the live panel presentations.World Team Now’s renewable energy microgrid continues, but that is for another blog. Here is a valuable article Power to the People.
Tomorrow, the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), has the Sustainability Summit through September 25th, you can watch it all on UN.TV here live. We are optimistic that all world leaders will sign on to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The deadline if adopted will be 2030, and although we need it to happen sooner, the first step is to tell everybody about the goals—spread the word to 7 billion in 7 days is the 1st goal.
It certainly helps that a team of individuals each with a big following are taking action, augmenting the efforts of the United Nations. Bill McGibben leader of the divest from fossil fuel movement and invest in renewable energy has specific measurable results to date over 2.6 trillion dollars of victory. Leonardo Di Caprio made the news when he divested his organizations funds yesterday celebrity power in the movement helps, but what will change the game is all of us together. Although creative master minds like Richard Curtis can orchestrate global game changing efforts on many fronts.
What we are creating is a global conversation through a multi-media platform that connects people, projects and the world. What we’re building a consciousness about change. And we can do that by showcasing socially and environmentally responsible projects that demonstrate how people can work together and play to transform the world.
UN takes on “Climate Neutrality” check out what you can do right now in your home or business to offset; Check out this resourceful website Climate Neutral Now. For more read the Press Release
IRENA puts out Global Atlas for renewable energy in your pocket, real time planning for solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and more! We are so eager to test this one out with World Team. They have launched a contest;
Participation is easy.
Download the Global Atlas pocket app (from Google play, Blackberry world, ITunes, Windows Phone stores)
Open the app, navigate to the Main Menu search
Add a layer of a renewable energy technology of your choice
Share the map on Twitter
Hashtag your country or region, the energy source, and add to the existing text in the share window. (Example: Mapping renewable energy potential around the world through @IRENA’s #GlobalAtlas #solar #mycountry
Here are some great articles, campaigns, events and related links we aggregated:
If you are wondering about the seriousness of the climate situation, and the timing of action– here is another article Why Waterworld Will Exist
On the Defense: One way to change up the game; Youth under the age of 21 sue the state and federal governments for not taking action on Climate Change read more here;
For John Lennon’s Birthday in October; Yoko Ono is hosting one of the largest aerial art pieces in history.”Imagine Peace: GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® attempt Largest human peace sign”. See you there? RSVP
Today, in defense for our environment and for all of us people on the planet, President Obama has exercised his USA Presidential power to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, an important step in the movement towards an “ECO” Presidential Legacy, powered by us people.
It’s disturbing that, at a time when all hands need to be on deck for humanity to live in balance with our resources on this planet, the USA Congress has forced President Obama to exercise his presidential power now, instead of doing their job to create public policy, and laws that help govern our society and builds a vital nation better structuring and organizing our quality of life. This 3rd veto is no surprise, as President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address, to veto this bill and others, that were not truly in the best interest for us all.
Tar sands in Alberta Canada
At this point, most of us understand why the Keystone Pipeline is not the “Key”. The tar sands (or oil sands) toxicity benefits no one, and at this point sadly we all know the words to this song, “Profit over People and Planet,” which is the cornerstone, or key stone, behind many who prioritize this now in our world. Tar sands confront public health, at a time when we already have too many challenges with clean air to breath globally. Keystone XL usurps the citizens’ human rights as property owners of Nebraska, South Dakota and other states that the pipeline goes through. It questions their freedom, forcing them to sacrifice their own home, and farm land— for what? To transport oil from Canada through the USA for Mexico, or China –when all these regions, including the USA, can get our own clean renewable energy from natural sources? Sounds reasonable? It risks the quality of our water, earth, air, and presents the risks of contamination.
Is this an evolution of the US Constitution? Why is it even being considered at this moment and how could this be the “key”? Who would this benefit? Well, others have spent a great deal of time breaking down the motivation, and who benefits. It is all very simple—some call it “cash whipping” it serves individual Congress members, many who were each paid over $200,000 to vote “yes,” and this “wolf in the sheep’s clothing” good sounding “Citizen’s United Bill” that has polluted one of the best pieces of public policy ever written; the USA Constitution. Thanks to Citizen’s United which allows corporations to have equal rights with citizens and finance, monstrosities, like Keystone XL, to become a possibility, instead of a crime. Tar sands projects at this time on our planet need to be illegal because they threaten the public health, of our species and all on our planet. But it also argues important legal issues about freedom at such a time— discerning people’s state’s, national, and planet interests. This moment in time affords the opportunity to redefine our priorities, and with the class action cases against Keystone XL Pipeline being argued at a state level in court, this indeed may be an opportunity to define how the United States unite and if they are a UNITED States of America.
At this time on the planet, will we get beyond “EGO”— can’t we move towards “ECO”— ecology and economy. At a time when we all need not only more sources of alternative renewable energy deployed, but resiliency, and sustainability with flow of energy. The grid is taxed with more demand often than it can supply. We need to be passing legislature that indeed incentivizes renewable energy sources, distributed energy architecture, and teaming-up on microgrids. We need policy to incentivize net zero buildings and creative renewable energy systems, and energy storage, at a large scale. We need more electric vehicles on the road charging to renewable energy sources, with complementary energy storage systems. We need to crack that large scale energy storage nut, and incentivize not a pipeline transporting energy from one country to another through our country, but onsite energy systems that are reliable, resilient, and onsite electricity generation locations, homegrown energy from our natural resources, stored for backup when needed.
Why are we not trying to put bills on the table to work through our own energy challenges? Bipartisan bills that have a chance of getting passed with the intent being to benefit the public— after all, are not politicians supposed to be public servants? It is a sad use of power that is spent stalling for time, until the power can move in another direction. It all is a strategic, historical power play that at the end will only demonstrate how all systems, including the political system, could better serve us people and our planet. The Keystone XL Pipeline will prove to be the pipe dream of this time, dreamt from the fallible EGO of Trans Canada bought through and approved by Congress, but fortunately it gives all people the opportunity to see the light, and the possibility of ECO.
“The pen is mightier than the sword”
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1839
Watch out world— 2015 plans to be a year of action, as mentioned prior, with the climax being President Obama as one of the leaders towards powerful global policy that stands for our people and planet over profit in Paris at UNFCC’s COP21. Think it’s impossible? Well we’ve seen a draft of what is on the table for global “ECO” policy, and there are better possibilities, even surprising ones, and if we all continue to team-up for the good of our planet we will create a global movement, and this isn’t a pipe dream or pipe line for any agenda accept our future.
Political System of the United States with its checks and balances
Thankful that the Unites States Constitution triune structure of checks and balances exists, but it is confronting that it’s limits are being tested, and begs to question why it isn’t functioning more as a trinity— especially at this moment in humanity’s story on our planet earth.
President Obama will likely wait until the ruling from Nebraska’s state supreme court to finalize the rejection of the pipeline outright, which is the final step to closure. A Nebraska county judge issued a temporary injunction to stop TransCanada from using eminent domain to force landowners to sell their property rights for the pipeline. As a result, TransCanada agreed not to use eminent domain anywhere in Nebraska until the state’s Supreme Court finally settles the legal struggle over Keystone’s route across the state, which if we have anything to do with all of this, it will be a moot point anyway.
For President Obama’s ECO legacy it began with the ARRA with renewable energy options, then granting EPA the power to defend public health as a national security issue and enforce environmental clean air policy. Fast forward to September 2014, nearly half a million of us people rallied for action on climate change in NYC; we were there at the UN General Assembly when President Obama shared with a small group of leaders at an Open Government Forum, that he had just discussed a historic climate deal with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions and in November it came to pass; in December, more than one million comments were submitted in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan; in January, historical protections for the Arctic Refuge were announced; and now President Obama has vetoed Congress’s bill to force the approval of the Keystone pipeline, now it is time to reject Trans Canada’s plans for Keystone XL Pipeline outright will you please add your name to tell President Obama to just outright reject the Keystone XL Pipeline? Please sign here.
It is time to make sure; “We the People”–have an ECO legacy, a time to re-organize, and prioritize by bringing the temptation of this folly to public presenting the clarity of choices driven by EGO vs. ECO. Best left in the words of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, “Breathes there the Man”
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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. Here 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!
Solar carport charging BMW i8 PHEV sports car with World Team Now’s Founder Suzanne Maxx
BMW chose Malibu to be their back drop venue to showcase the BMW i series replete with solar carport, charging hardware and software for their press day’s ride and drive; see full photo story through album here. I happened upon the festivities yesterday at Nikita Restaurant’s parking lot, and met up with lead BMW team members. The new BMW i8 PHEV sports cars and the all electric BMW i3 are vehicles being marketed with the big picture in mind of climate action with support for the gestalt of a completely green conscientious life style.
Representatives from BMW Corporate: Wieland Bruch, Corporate Communications Manager BMWGroup Nadine Alice Carl, Product Management Automobiles and Aftersales Project e-Mobility
BMW manufactured with a supply chain consideration of a “cradle to cradle” intent to reduce carbon emissions, and ideally, optimize the choice to source “the charge” from all renewable energy.
Simultaneously creating carport shade and electricity from the solar glass roof supported by a steel frame, DesignWorks’ savvy approach to BMW’s solar carport uses sustainable bamboo-sourced carbon fiber, and the placement of SolarWatts’ high yielding solar panels in a grid with space between the panels allowing some light to shine though, while the rest of the light is captured by the solar panels.
BMW has put a lot of thought to handle many of the obstacles like range anxiety in the all electric vehicle, which comes with options such as a trade-in for other BMW’s on long trips and a charging infrastructure tapping into all charger locations, with software that organizes and allows for a universal payment scheme through BMW.
The hardware and software connected to the charger allow for intelligent communication with one’s home as soon as the vehicle is plugged in to charge. Programs to support these initiatives showcase the BMW’s service package 360° ELECTRIC electrically integrated concept and BMW’s various opportunities that came from partnerships with Schneider Electric and the Mobility House. MyGekko provides the home automation platform that makes it all seamless. This integration supports what World Team Now refers to this as, “consciousness of energy usage systemically”— which is more than just the vehicle sales. BMW’s programs include i Wallbox Charging, maintenance and other services, with the customizable intelligence to potentially turn on lights and other electrical devices, as soon as the vehicle plugs in the charge at your home or office.
There are many pluses, beside the vehicles themselves in the BMW i series, that could take advantage of the vehicle to grid connection with battery energy storage where the battery could be a back up for home/office energy. Ideally, based on time of day and peak load, you might have the option to charge entirely from solar or a mix with the energy (ideally renewable) coming from the grid. In CA there is the option to arbitrage energy, and sell energy back to the grid from the vehicle’s storage during peak hours, gaining the charge off peak, and saving money by making energy from sunshine.