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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/