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World Team Now-Environmental & Social Transformation

Tag: #UNGA

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.

World Team’s Universal Declaration

by Suzanne Maxx

Our World Team project’s Universal Declaration are words shared for everyone on this International Peace Day!

WT Declaration Color Page2

The Universal Declaration is for both our World Team media platform (now casting), and our Non-profit World Team Now;

The 70th Session on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is underway. Great speeches that also touched on the 7oth Anniversary of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear bombs–calling for nuclear disarmament.  If you missed the UNGA live than you can watch some great speeches from Dr. Jane Goodall, Michael Douglas, Herbie Hancock, and many others here; watch now.

 

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.

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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!

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#PeoplesClimate Moves Masses and The United Nations


IMG_3173Triumph for the #PeoplesClimate, as we were heard by the leaders and public awareness is being raised. World Team Now was a partner organization, we also organized the roller skate hub demonstrating energy in action skating in the march. There were estimated to be close to 400,000 people attending the march.  We were the die-hard World Team Now/CPDSA skaters that weathered the dangerously wet concrete and rough route road, in the “We Have Solutions” section of the march’s story. Here are some of our photos.

Check out our partner organizations’ photos, and these photos  from our campaign partners in TckTckTck– to get a flavor of the scale of the event; Team works!

Here are three articles that captured this historical #PeoplesClimate March: TimeNew Yorker & NYTimes.

Here is an anonymous drone’s aerial coverage of the PeoplesClimate March

20140919_224905At WTN we have Action Embroidery to thank for our World Team Now embroidered logo stick-on, and iron on patches!  We had hundreds standing for our World Team Now!  Now for the leaders to heed the voices of the people, and it has begun…

Today at the UN Climate 2014 Summit opening, a mother’s poem to her baby daughter brings the leaders at the United Nations’ General Assembly to their feet, for a standing ovation.  Footage of the Peoples’ Climate March augments  Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s heart moving poem.

“We look at our children and wonder how they will know themselves, or their culture, should we lose our islands. Climate change affects not only us islanders. It threatens the entire world,” said Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner—she left the opening ceremony after delivering her message. Her emotional plea that “We deserve to do more than just survive; we deserve to thrive,” set the tone for the day’s activities, that helped to building momentum for the global climate deal expected in 2015 COP21, Paris.

UN 2014 edit 20140922_132518

 

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