Tag Archives: United Nations

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

By Suzanne Maxx
© 2016 World Team Now

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

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

 

New York, New York USA Today at the United Nations 175 Countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement on opening day, Earth Day! Our World Team project is especially grateful for the leadership on the first 15 United Nations members that both signed and Ratified the Paris Agreement by Earth Day.  This is a critical step to have the legal governmental framework for the revolutionary work to move towards our “100% Renewable Energy” global vision.

 

applaud-15

Original design  © 2016 World Team Now

 

The most vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) know the reality of Climate Change, ironically they have to bare the most severe effects of the most developed regions actions.  Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon’s request for “All hands on deck,” from all U.N. members, comes to relevance especially in places like Fiji.



Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama

Video: UN Web TV footage

 

Just recovering from Tropical Cyclone Winston, with another threat coming at them now, Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama was front and center, contributing and bringing the gravel down to close the day’s session.  Republic of Palau’s President, Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. captured the spirit of this time proclaiming,   “On days like this you feel like you are part of a team”.

World Team has been on a long journey and search for a location that is eager to make that renewable energy transition.  The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need all the support we can give, and they hold the most promise for World Team project’s public work. SIDS are the most impacted and have the least. When we realize that over 62,000 people are displaced daily from climate or weather related events, it is stunning. Climate change refugees are growing. The funding coming from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will help, but that support needs to have been there yesterday.

For the Paris Agreement to come into force, 55% of the UN’s members must sign and ratify it, and this must account for at least 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. All members have a year, until Earth Day 2017- but obviously, the sooner the better.

Each country created their own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for the Paris Agreement, their status is here. Next we need all the INDC to become Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). These contributions are required to be ambitious and progressive, to be updated, increased, and submitted to the U.N. every five years.

The fundamental step of putting the governmental framework into place is happening; the nations are coming up with determined commitments for our species and our planet to help tackle the climate change challenge.  Although what was started in Paris in 2015 is growing with efforts like the Renewable Energy Innovation Plan for Africa; the 70 Initiatives to find a broader solutions; Mission Innovation for Green Technology, and the Carbon Pricing Leadership.  We all realize that this cannot be done by nations alone.

It will take many sectors to build to the change that is sustainable. The action of the signing sends signals to all markets. Some illuminating information was announced and shared over the course of the day. “Taking climate action to the next level: Realizing the vision of the Paris Agreement” was the title for the afternoon.

Key financial and business pledges are being made by entities teaming up to further the global goals of the Paris Agreement.  Anne Stausboll, representing CalPERS, the largest U.S. public pension fund with almost 300 billion dollars in assets gave the update; watch here. She shared that Ceres, a nonprofit organization leading adoption of sustainable business practices, has joined forces with the CalPERS pension fund, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change. To mobilize the Paris Agreement, 400 investors with 24 trillion dollars in assets have been enrolled. “To achieve the goals of the Agreement, we know the world must invest at least one trillion dollars a year in clean energy for several decades,” she explained, “The Agreement has unleashed an unprecedented opportunity for institutional investors worldwide – a powerful global green light to shape tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.”

The Green Climate Fund which came out of the Paris Agreement is targeted to 100 billion a year in aid to developing countries. President Obama has pledged $3 billion to the GCF over four years. The first $500 million of that pledged amount was transferred. Countries are all together rising to action.  The efforts of the two biggest emitters USA/China is supported by their agreement to one another.

Canada addresses the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement

Canada addresses the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement
Credit: UN Photo

 

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, explained his country is committed to helping developing countries, “Since they should not be punished for a problem they did not create.” Canada’s  $2.56  Billion (USD) pledge is good kindling to ignite a fire of support to assist developing countries to grow to be cleaner, and more sustainable.

Hoesung Lee from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared about how they have accepted the task to integrate science into implementation phase and submit mission reports on “Climate Change and Land Use,” plus reports on “Ocean and Ice”.  In two years they will turn in a report that studies whether emissions targets of 1.5 degrees is the magic number that could halt the growing catastrophic effects of climate change, to see if that is indeed enough action. Private, public, businesses, NGOs financial sectors, and all citizens are all needed to team up, as people come to realize prompt action needs to begin now.

CEO of Unilever Paul Polman highlighted how the business and financial sector are lining up to address climate change:

A report by the New Climate Economy stated 90 trillion will be going to be made over the next 15 years in addressing urbanization and population growth issues and 13.5 trillion is already pledged for clean energy investments, which he said is a “good direction”.

The business and financial sector is making progress with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unilever’s CEO emphasized that climate change is key to 13 of the 17 SDGs. Now to “level” (pun intended) the playing field with energy sectors.  Positive price signals are needed and a subsidy is a negative price signal. We love that the sentiment from Unilever’s leader who said, “That is a negative price on carbon when we need a positive price.” That statement was echoed throughout Earth Day from many speakers. The message to cut fossil fuel subsides, and create a carbon market was clear, and consistently delivered throughout all sectors on Earth Day.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and renowned campaigner of human rights and climate justice. It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and renowned campaigner of human rights and climate justice. It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. Picture: Captured from UN Web TV footage

 

Mary Robinson declared, “The world must target for 1.5 degrees or below rise and that requires carbon neutrality at, or before 2050. She was empathetic on pointing out that with the Paris Agreement, developing countries now have more responsibility in addressing climate change as each nation has to evaluate their NDCs— the annex 1 or annex 2 countries distinction made in the past is no longer …

Climate Opening

Opening ceremony of Paris Agreement signing
Credit: UN Photo

 

This year’s Earth Day had many events leading up to the big focus of 24 hours of U.N. festivities in New York.  Once again, there were powerful contributions from many of the people instrumental through the World Team journey— champions of the environmental movement over the many years coming together: especially California Gov. Jerry Brown, former US Vice President Al Gore, and even our friend Bertrand Piccard via live web stream from the cockpit of SolarImpulse2  in flight to San Francisco-the next leg of the around the world flight in the solar airplane!  Bertrand said, “More than protecting the environment, it’s the clean technology revolution, the solar airplane is like a smart grid with distributed energy”.  He encouraged leaders saying in the webstream, “Be pioneers for solutions, don’t let resistance take over…”

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

Andre and Bertrand, pilots of Solar Impulse, with World Team Now’s Suzanne Maxx.

 

Actor, Activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, Leonardo Di Caprio reminded leaders of their power in choice quoting President Lincoln, “Our case is new, so we must think a new, and act anew.”  He drew the parallel analogy of the defining issue of our time, between being free of fossil fuel, to the past, in being free from slavery. He explained, “Everyone knew it had to end, but no one had the political will to stop it.”  In regards to bold Climate action he exclaimed, “You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them…”



Leonardo Di Caprio inspires leaders to create power for just action.
Video: UN Web TV footage

 

In addition to U.N. member states, states like California are taking significant action on their own. Once again, World Team Now based in New York and California was excited to hear from our Gov. Jerry Brown who spoke about some of the key steps that California has taken and will take— including their own cap and trade program that is also connected with Quebec and Ontario. Al Gore, in comments he made after the afternoon panel Jerry was on, pointed out that California’s leadership under Jerry is from a position of influence— he explained, “If California was a country it would be the 5th largest economy in the world.”



Governor Jerry Brown of California speaks at the Paris Agreement at signing at the United Nations on Earth Day April 22nd.
Video: UN Web TV footage

 

Some of the highlights from New York Mayor de Blasio’s speech shared the commitment to having every new car in New York’s City’s fleet being an electric with the goal of an electric fleet by the year 2025. Retrofits are required in both public and now private buildings and new buildings will have to be 60-80% more efficient than existing buildings.

In India, every light bulb is required to be LED, with the program launched by the government they have driven the cost down for the bulbs by economic demand, and now they are cheaper than other kinds of light bulbs, now priced about 80 cents and about 100 million have been installed  Germany plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050.

President Barack Obama welcomed the signing of the climate agreement and said it will allow all of “our children to inherit a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet.” He said in a statement on Earth Day, “As the world’s second-largest source of  climate pollution, America has a responsibility to act. The stakes are enormous — our planet, our children, our future.

John Kerry Signs Paris Agreement With Granddaughter on Lap High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement

John Kerry Signs Paris Agreement With Granddaughter on Lap
High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement
Credit: UN Photo

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, signed the historical agreement, ensuring it be witnessed by future generations by having his 2-year-old granddaughter Isabelle on his lap. Kerry followed up on President Obama’s Announcement which proclaims that the United States “looks forward to formally joining this agreement this year.”

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

It has been many years of attending these United Nations Climate events (COPs) dreaming that we could come to an agreement, sign it, and move into action. That day has come, it is here. World Team has been active with Earth Day for decades, but this was the first Earth Day that the distant dream for the global action by world leaders is being realized.

What an action packed period of time, this time has been, with record breaking action from countries around the world, and it’s about time. The pace is set we need for climate action, and the global renewable energy revolution, and it is happening, and it can’t happen quick enough. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are all interrelated and helpful to have delineated. 



Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moons called for all hands on deck to: "Turn Aspiration Into Action" - Countries Sign Paris Climate Agreement.
Video: UN Web TV footage

 

It was lovely to see most speakers wearing the pin with the logo of the colorful SDGs. We are enthusiastic about the platform World Team will offer for all people as tool for engagement.  We can see this renewable energy revolution is happening, but it will take a team, all of us. We have much to celebrate, yet much to do for humanity to live in balance with our resources and one another here on earth.



United Nations - "Protecting our Planet and Combatting Climate Change" is part of a UN short film series "The Story You are Shaping" produced by HUMAN, which premiered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015.
Video: UN Web TV footage

 

Photo highlights of of the UN High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change can be found here and a text highlights of the ceremony can be found here. Below are some selected UN videos of the Ceremony:

© 2016 World Team Now

Bird’s Eye View of the Climate Movement ©

By Suzanne Maxx

Eiffel Tower Peace Symbol - 100% Renewable 06.12.15 © Yann Arthus-Bertrand _ Spectral Q

A Message of Freedom and 100% Renewable Energy from Paris. Hundreds from around the world unite in a giant message of freedom, standing with the people of Paris and calling for 100% renewable energy, during the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit. Can you spot us? We from World Team Now made up the rays on the left side of the image. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Spectral Q

COP21’s victory signals to the world that global transformation is in the works with adoption of the Paris Agreement by the United Nations.  It’s historical to have almost 200 nations agree to take action, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” a UN goal.

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COP21 Convention Space at Le Bourget.

Those of us breathing inside of the global climate movement over the years know this moment is a win— a valuable step and an important place to start.   At Le Bourget, the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Fabius brought his green gravel down to tears of joy and applause for the agreement exclaiming, “It’s a small gavel, but I think it has a big impact!” With the perspective getting diverse entities consisting of countries from different regions of the world to agree on anything is significant. We at least have set a course and direction together.  Many of the outcomes we considered in our prior blog post were covered in this agreement.  Here is the text of the Paris Agreement. Here it is made simple to digest. Here are some more of our favorite articles and speeches, that break this historic time of the Paris Agreement down to understand:

Within the global environmental movement, there are many people that have been on the journey for decades— each of us has a piece of this puzzle— that are core to who we are, and it lives outside the boundaries of a location, as it is for our earth, and all of humanity.  This consciousness is now becoming contagious, thankfully— as it will take teams of people, industries and many sectors of society for the transformation to take root.

The stage is set for our World Team project, and next year 2016, we plan to be public facing with our World Team platform.  World Team will be an interactive tool to entertain us while playfully engaged in transformative projects achieving the realization of our most ambitious and collective goals for humanity, and our planet earth. It is not only technology, innovation, policy and funding that will change the global game of our changing climate. The game starts to change when all people are aware of the power of human capability of choice. Change will occur when we choose to prioritize how we use both our internal and external energy.  When we prioritize living in better balance with our resources, we will then play the game to transform ourselves and our world.

The co-located Climate Generations Areas, open to all,  was a first for the COP meetings. In prior COPs, Civil Society had open side events  that were distant from the UN negotiations.

Even in celebration there is caution that clouds this historical time, which finally acknowledges humanity’s role in climate change, and sets forward a plan of action. If we can’t get to 1.5 degrees, stop destroying our forests, heating and acidifying our oceans and eliminate burning fossil fuel today we are writing ourselves a death sentence. The framework is now in place to start the journey to arrive there tomorrow— it was a successful negotiation.   As Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon said, “This a time when we need all hands on deck”.  Multiple sectors are taking active roles in also setting targets, and here is the key; team work, over time, with ALL of us in action. This thread was there at the events happening at COP21 during this time in Paris.

Akapusi Tuifagalele Director National Disaster Management of Fiji, a SIDS

Akapusi Tuifagalele, Director National Disaster Management of Fiji (SIDS), with Suzanne Maxx & Albert Boulanger of the World Team project.

It’s exciting when leaders of countries agree to take a stand, and actually strive for targets and a framework for an agreement.  Can we move to a firm 1.5 degrees quickly enough to reverse the damage of climate change?  When we will phase out fossil fuel?  Our oceans and forests, all species together in balance— how soon can we achieve rapid change? Will there be justice for the indigenous people, and those of small island developing states (SIDS) in the long run? Now we have some agreed upon goals.  Can we overcome the antiquated categorization of defining a country by developed, developing, and least developed? Will each country begin to support the other with sustainable development based on what they are able to contribute, as the reality takes hold of cliché, “we are all in this together”?

The seeds of reaching the answer to these questions in reality are planted. How quickly we can reach these targets, and more will be the long term success of the Paris Agreement.  All is not there in the Paris agreement yet, but it starts with the will— we celebrate these milestones even though the real work has just begun.

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Ban Ki-moon preparing to talk at the Earth to Paris Conference during COP21

Now to have all countries ratify the Paris Agreement so it becomes legal structure— whether that be a Treaty, Accord or Protocol.  The opportunity for world leaders to sign, and ratify the Paris Accord begins in New York on Earth Day April 22nd, 2016.   All leaders will have one year to endorse it, but early participation is being encouraged.  The plan looks to not just meet the deadline, but also to indeed demonstrate the will and understanding of urgency for all of us to keep the work moving fast forward.   The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is charged to organize the activities around the signing on Earth Day.

Basic CMYKWe will need more action over time, the government sector with public policy is needed, but the real change will require many other sectors, to jump into the action—and we will. It will be the collective cumulative action that matters most over time. World Team plans to officially announce our first team in 2016 and we
plan to officially begin our media platform.

There was a thread to all events happening at COP21 during this time in Paris. It’s exciting when leaders of countries agree to take a stand, and actually strive for targets and a framework for an agreement.

For decades we dreamed of this day when countries might all agree on action for our future.  It is a collective starting point to a commitment of an aligned global direction for humanity.  The Paris Agreement will need work but much of the direction we are going collectively has seeds that aligns with the vision that many of us hold in our hearts for a sustainable future. We are now challenged to follow the Golden Rule Principle too, as Pope Francis encouraged in his UNGA and USA Congress speeches. Now to unpack many of the principles of how we will realize the change for our common home, and integrate them throughout our policy, and ways of life— this is the challenge.  The challenge of not only of the Paris Agreement, but for humanity at this time on earth.

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These “Trees of Hope” outside COP21 produce renewable energy by their leaves turning to generate sustainable wind energy turbines.

Breaking Global Climate Action

by Suzanne Maxx

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.

NYC Barbara's roof top sunset20150923_193258We’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

UN 2014 edit 20140922_132518Tomorrow, 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.

Watch this fabulous video

Learn more about the 17 goals we like this video here.

Click for Global Goals herewww.globalgoals.org

See what Steven Hawkins has to say about the Global Goals here:

http://https://youtu.be/RTRdtrsL9jg

Global transformation does take everyone… So we need you. The Global Goals are something we all can get behind as a critical “to do list” to sustain our future.  What is your favorite goal?

Join the Global Citizens’ Festival and Concert: Great Lawn, Central Park, NYC Saturday the 26th https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/festival/2015/

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.

  1. Download the Global Atlas pocket app (from Google play, Blackberry world, ITunes, Windows Phone stores)
  2. Open the app, navigate to the Main Menu search
  3. Add a layer of a renewable energy technology of your choice
  4. Share the map on Twitter
  5. 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

If you are in NYC this is Climate Week, check out the events here.

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

 Want to go to COP21? Win a Trip to Paris?  Read more about  how your musical gift can get you there!

Remember World Team is Casting— read more here 

The Solar Impulse— Living Dreams of Transformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planet Solar is in New York

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

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

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

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

 

Rio +20

Rio +20 by Suzanne Maxx

Rio +20 the United Nation’s Conference on Sustainable Development June 20-22 climaxed around the solstice time, where it is the longest day of light from the USA perspective, and yet here in Brazil it most appropriately  grew to the darkest day, in more ways than the literal shortness of sunlight. About 50 thousand people came here to Rio De Janero from different parts of the world for the United Nations’ Rio+20. Many here seem to strive to shine the light of hope for our world leaders for this environmental conference to take powerful action for our future with enforceable binding global environmental policy. The conference’s theme titled, “The Future We Want,,”  became grew dark by the lack of action with an agreement for change.

The five minute speeches from each country’s world leader one by one acknowledged the urgency to overcome the darkness and address together economic growth, social development and environmental justice. Each put in their own words a common concern for our future and the common desire to take action towards change. Each leader seemed to share the concern about the state of the world, and the importance of environmental sustainability. At least the text agreed upon understood that water, energy, food security work together in unity. Each leader communicated the value of our natural resources. As US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said, “We also know that future is not guaranteed, because the resources that we all depend upon – fresh water, thriving oceans, arable land, a stable climate – are under increasing pressure. And that is why, in the 21st century, the only viable development is sustainable development. The only way to deliver lasting progress for everyone is by preserving our resources and protecting our common environment”.  But what happened?

Are the systems we have created to govern change failed us or is the change taking place a subtle shift of power from the governments, inspiring a movement from within all people?  Within all structures we have set up for humanity—truly we could not expect one entity; the United Nations to provide the answer. All of humanity needs to rise to the importance of the challenge facing us at this critical time for our resources here on earth.

The action taken here, (or lack of) at  the  Rio+20 Summit in the end has left many, some governments and specifically the civil society in the dark— focused on the failure and disappointment of expectations for success, with the theme renamed, “The Future We Bought”… Unfortunately this sentiment provoked some extreme behavior that actually disrupted the UN process when sound interference was claimed to have prevented leaders to hear, and said to have been caused by NGO’s in protest.

A big distinction from the last time I was here in 1992 for the Earth Summit/ Global Forum is the beginning of integration of the civil society, and for that matter— all sectors. Back then it was like a collective fire of the spirit– a gathering of seemingly kindred souls all optimistic about the possibility of change and from that inspiration several pieces of global policy emerged for our environment eventually treaties on global warming, deserts and biodiversity— the first in the history of our world.

The concept of a World Team grew here in Rio +20 regardless of the outcome we can perceive, as there at least was an effort for teamwork with as Secretary Clinton explained this is what is needed now to approach the challenge:

“Officials from every level— from state, county, local, municipalities— together along with industry leaders and developers to find creative ways to generate sustainable economic growth. Governments, yes; let’s do our part. Let’s do more than our part. Let’s pave the way for more clean energy investments, take on the entrenched political and economic interests that stand in the way of clean energy, technology, and sources being used in nations around the world. Let’s use the private sector, particularly the consumer goods companies, as they have agreed to do, to make sure they have sustainable supply chains, the right kind of packaging and marketing that puts the least amount of burden on the earth we share. Let’s bring in the nonprofits, the civil society organizations, faith groups, individuals, all of us.”

What did come out of Rio +20 was a roadmap for sustainable development goals, under that there is an agreement made about preserving the ocean. By 2015 there will be an attempt for much needed policy for the High Seas.

Antonio Garcia Allut, represents the world wide small scale fishing community, he is the President of the Lonxanet Foundation for Artisanal Fishing. The fisheries are one of the areas progress was made here at Rio+20. He explains, “It is a step, but execution is the key”. Farmed Fisheries subsidies were cut and unfortunately the much needed attention to the trillion dollars of fossil fuel subsidies were left out entirely.

The outcome of Rio+20 is that 9 major groups participated. 692 registered countries. Commitments valued at 513 billion US dollars, were made— that is something. Leading Fortune 500 companies, universities, volunteer actions, and individual actions were also made. More than 100 developing nations are involved in the commitments. Mohamed Waheed, president of the Maldives, pledged in Rio to convert his entire nation, a string of islands in the Indian Ocean, into a protected area to conserve coral reefs, fish, turtles and sharks. The Maldives plans to be a marine reserve country. Waheed explained, “We have created our first biosphere reserve in one atoll and we will continue the program throughout the country.” 50 countries and 86 corporations, including and others agreed to a declaration supporting natural capital accounting, a measure of wealth that goes beyond GDP by including the value of natural assets such as soils, watersheds and fisheries. Eight multilateral banks will invest more than $175 billion over the next decade to promote more sustainable public transportation and cycling.

Carbon War room claimed 50%, reducing Aruba off fossil fuels by 2020. They committed to renovating buildings, and offered up 1 billion dollars in energy investments in buildings within the next 15 years.

The United Nations systems did come together to register commitments. Sustainable energy for all commitments, corporate sustainability summit commitments, yet all of these commitments— may be too little too late.

United Nations-Specific Measurable Results?

phoca

By Suzanne Maxx ©

The UN is back in session, and the world looks for “Specific Measurable Results”  towards global transformation.

Yves de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has said the key to the success of the Copenhagen conference – also known as COP15 – will be how much industrialized countries (Defined as “Developed”) are willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and how much India and China (Defined as “Developing”) are willing to limit the growth of their emissions.

Perhaps there is a better way to define a country? To work with countries of our world within the framework of the words the UN has labeled as “Developed,” “Developing, and Least Developed”, has an orientation of values that may not be in the best interest of humanity’s future on this planet earth.

Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, defined a developed country as follows. “A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment.”

Perceptions of freedom, safety and health can be relative.  It is important to consider that presently there is no established convention for the designation of “developed” and “developing” countries or areas in the United Nations system.

Do these words, defining how each country can play in the world game restrict our world?   Is there a better way to define countries that will inspire better co-operation, a more level playing field, so all countries can approach global treaties truly looking out for the benefit of humanity?  If we are going to use defining words, perhaps there could be an established convention for designation?  World Team Now seeks alternative definitions.