Tag: climate change (Page 1 of 5)

Climate Action Now!

By Suzanne Maxx

The Freedom Tower NY, NY USA. Photo by Suzanne Maxx of World Team Now.

Events around the Global Climate Action Summit 2018, in San Francisco, California to the upcoming 2019 Global Climate ACTION Summit in New York continue to build the societal and environmental movement, and usher in change. Coast to Coast starting in the USA, and around the world virtually and actually—all people have the chance to move into action for global transformation.

It is for our future, and the future the youth want to see. The Youth Movement continues to build on the people’s voice of the “least” heard or respected within society, or even region of the world.

And it is on fire—the fire increases as does the earth’s temperature form our changing climate.  Not long after the 2018’s Global Climate Action Summit in California, the 73rd UNGA last year, both the Woolsey Fire and Paradise fires broke out.  In 2019 it is not just Brazil and Africa’s fires that continue to burn out of control-Siberia, Indonesia, Spain, France, Turkey, Greece, and Saudi Arabia… In late August, the Brazilian space research agency, INPE, reported more than 72,843 fires (7,192 square miles) in Brazil with more than half in the Amazon region.  In Amazonia now, there is more exploitive deforestation than ever. Most fires in rainforests are not natural and are used to clear the land at the cost of trees and releasing CO2.  Africa now has five times the amount of fires than the Amazon according to NASA.

This year’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) is set off by the Earth Strike, September 20th lead by Greta Thunberg and with Fridays for the Future—the youth movement plans to set the world on fire, with the flames of passion to ignite committed action.  The action is not only for youth and students, but everyone and to extend beyond this week’s launch September 20th-27th and adds to the action building towards a critical mass.

The Earth Strike is an international grassroots movement that calls for a global general strike.  Builds on the 2015 Climate March after the Paris Agreement was adopted.    A large global constituency is building for action, whether it is called an “Earth Alliance” or “World Team,” beyond any name, we, the people’s global action has built a movement towards transformation of our planet, and it is not just the climate that is changing, we are calling for systems change.  Events are being organized all around the world for all to join and Strike!  Why?  Because we humans can organize better systems to live into with one another on this planet now, and for the future.

Youth Movement School Strike for against Climate Change for Global Change with Greta Thunberg (middle-center), and NY Sunrise Movement leader Alexandria Villasenor

The Youth Movement invites all people around the world to walk out of schools, workplaces, homes, and join the strike for the end of the age of fossil fuel, and with justice. It is a strike against the systems created to live by globally and to stand for a just and sustainable future for all.  Find out where you can join here; https://globalclimatestrike.net

Greta Thunberg, joins New York City followers at her first USA Friday for the Future Climate Strike Outside of the United Nations.

The youth movement is following the lead of Sweden’s Youth Activist, Greta Thunberg, 16 who began Fridays for the Future School Climate Strike over a year ago, and since is engaging the world by her committed action.  Greta is an “International Ambassador of Consciousness,” a title and award were given out by Amnesty International and she is a nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Washington, DC Greta met with Congressional Leaders, and former President Obama, and she addressed Congress.

Greta tweeted, “We’ll testify at The House Committee on Foreign Affairs. I will support Our Children’s Trust at the Supreme Court.

Then she addressed Members of Congress. She is the youth leader people are following, she is getting the job done.  Greta organically speaks straight forward with scientific facts. “Unite behind the Science,” said Greta to Congress.

It’s her voice she refers to as, “the Asperger’s super-power”. This is an Asperger’s advantage to be able to focus on truth, speak bluntly to power and not be trapped by the societal pressure from peers or protocol.

Greta sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a solar, hydrogen, ocean current energy powered boat instead of flying. Greta explains, “I did it because the enormous impact aviation has on the climate”. It was wonderful to see the sails of the boat supporting her hero’s journey supported by Foundation HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco’s Foundation, continuing his legacy of protecting the ocean continues. “Unite behind the Science” was printed on the sails. This was particularly meaningful for us as Prince Albert was World Team Now’s first honorary President.

It is not just protecting the Climate she is after, she is also standing for equality, justice, and freedom.  And with Greta by their side the case where seven young Americans have sued the US government for failing to take action on Climate may win, a more just future for us all. On a youth panel.

We will see more images of Greta with The Statue of Liberty soon, with parallels made to Leonardo Di Caprio’s Titanic, as he will play a critical role in the most important play, for transformation…

Greta’s role at the time is a  needed power play is to speak truth to injustice to inspire all to use sensibility to accept the responsibility to become educated to the facts.   Greta’s support grows the  power play not just as youth around the world rise— her leadership has the support of many besides who are genuinely contributing to the environmental social movement beyond their own positions of power;  Pope Francis, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Former President Obama, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, Actor/ Activist Leonardo Di Caprio, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry, Megan Markel, and Author/Teacher/Activist Leader Bill Mc Kibben among a team of scientists and other non-profit organizations, and more iconic names who we will hear more from very soon.  Some of the “Action” for this star-studded leading cast will be rolled out this Fall season during the time of the United Nations 74th General Assembly beginning at the Global Climate Action Summit Opening September 23rd.  But the starring role will not support one name, organization or person but a movement to allow the most vulnerable to rise.

This time is meant to pressure leaders of governments to realize their moral obligation to act, and for corporations, to do their part, as the youth take the lead in demonstrating solutions. The Action is to show we all have a role to play to transform the systems for our collective future, and the first step is to commit to understanding the global situation, and embracing the scientific facts, that could be taught in school and enforced in policy and law by adults. According to Reuters another activist on the panel, 17-year-old Jamie Margolin from Seattle, called out lawmakers for taking too long to enact climate change policies.

“The fact that you are staring at a panel of young people testifying before you today pleading for livable earth should not fill you with pride; it should fill you with shame,” she said. The United Nations General Assembly UNGA is for governments but there is a myriad of events from September 20th-27th for us all to be a part of where ever you are in the world.”

The diversity of events from different sectors pulled out “The fear of missing something” as there continues to be so much scheduled simultaneously, it is more than the flood as in waters rising it is like a flood of information, and the youth to combat is indeed inspiring all people to rise. This dizzying mix of sectors and events are needed to engage us all is this existential nexus where consciousness needs to change instead of the Climate…

On Sept., 17th the United Nations 74th General Assembly opened with the new President leader from Africa: His Excellency Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, Africa, in the spotlight–a region the UN has named a “Least developed”   Ambassador Mohammad-Bande’s priorities are focused on a future for us all. He shares his key priorities to unite nations in the approach towards; “Open, Inclusive, Transparent, SDGs, Climate Change, Reducing Conflicts, Deficits among Nations, and Human Rights”.

Also lighting the path forward in that region will be The Duke, Prince Harry, and the Dutchess Meghan Markle. Harry and Meghan have a new charity registered in England and Wales under the title “Sussex Royal The Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” and it is more than a Smart Works clothing that includes a “Smart Set,” and with the large scale plans in motion it will be more than one woman and their own child that will benefit.

Concurrently there is a whirlwind of action in many places around the world but concentrated at United Nations headquarters where a plethora of events happening around the world, and in Climate Week in New York. People are coming together for action, along with the leaders.  Sept 21st Youth Day at the UN.  The UN Global Compact Leaders Week is Sept 23-26 2019 which includes the Private Sector Forum on Sept 23rd , Sustainable Development Goals Summit 24th-25th Sept 25th SDG Business Forum High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, but the effects of this momentum is designed to be global and across the USA including Farm Aid September 21, in Wisconsin.

These Bi-Coastal and Global Climate Actions Summits coincided with the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, on a path to multi-stakeholder engagement for all of us to participate in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The activities are meant to activate a coordinated global movement beyond countries, and time, for all of us together in different sectors of society. With an effort to get all people engaged in transformation, as planned in 2015 by the UNFCC COP21 United Nations Paris Accord, ratified in 2016, these Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) aka the Global Goals(GG), are set up to be realized by the year 2030, orchestrated through the United Nation working together with multi-sector stakeholders as a team.

These 17 goals are ambitious, interconnected really— and set up to be for us all. With specific targets set in the SDGs, and indicators of goals each entity determines what can be contributed and their approach to achieving the goals. Scientifically based, the initial specific targets need to now be adjusted to realistically abide by scientific facts.

According to the science in the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC’s report), a universal target of 1.5 degrees Celsius would need to be achieved within 8.5 years— this is the known threshold today to withstand our chance of irreversible damage to our climate systems based on science.  The challenge is that these facts are being accelerated.

In 2019, The Climate Action Summit at the start of the United Nations General Assembly has a chance to build on prior UN meetings this year and last year’s efforts of the UN titled 2018 ‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies,’ which in turn amplified the 2018 Global Climate Summit in San Francisco.

Indigenous people from around the world who converged at Crissy Field, the Golden Gate bridge. Photo courtesy of Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q 2018

The People’s Climate Movement in San Francisco’s march anchored over 800 global events taking place in 91 countries, including 260+ in the U.S. across almost 50 states, demanding action on climate change with over 30,00- who joined the march.

This year event plans build significantly on last year’s efforts and the movement’s rising with critical mass and action plans.  More is covered in The Guardians article. “How to Stand With Climate Strikers,”, and you can find events in California, Fiji and many places around the world here; https://350.org/support-climate-strikes/

Or a list of local events in the New York area here; https://worldteamnow.org/blog/2019-climate-action-activities-around-unga/

A key to the “Least” 2018 Global Climate Summit theme carried over was with the Indigenous people and Native Lands in the environmental movement.  This year with the fires in Amazon some of the Indigenous People we met with last year, their earth land and their living status have changed.

The words echoed in 2018, now in the face of the fires, take on increased meaning. Mirian Cisneros, President of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, explained,

“I come from where the forests, rivers, and mountains have life. I come from where human beings and Mother Earth live in harmony. I come from Kawsak Sacha, the living forest. I also come from a people that have fought for years and years against the threat of oil drilling. I am here in this large march with brothers and sisters from the whole planet because we understand that we have to leave fossil fuels in the ground in the Amazon rainforest—and everywhere.

“We have 80,000 hectares of forests and once it is gone, we’re gone…

Many people were barefoot on the earth, with Indigenous leaders from Amazonian to initiate in the ceremony prior to the Global Climate Action Summit 2018.  We used human bodies and sound to make the “Humming Brid Rising” Aerial Art, which preceded the GCS activities and events in San Francisco last year.

Sapara leader, Manari Ushigua, from Ecuador who participated in Hummingbird Rising explained: “We come from Ecuador to say we must stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest” “Natural climate solutions are the future, and indigenous rights are key to their success”

Indigenous people from around the world who converged at Crissy Field, the Golden Gate bridge. Photo courtesy of Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q 2018

Participants co-created an iconic visual message to the world that was filmed from the sky. This artistic ritual, which many of us have done around the world, fueled by people power as they shared their collective intention to support a just transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. This co-created symbol is a message to world leaders of all levels that the climate has changed and so must we. Acclaimed composer and pianist Murray Hidary created his signature MindTravel music experience, providing an immersive soundtrack during the visual formation. year. The event was blessed by the presence of Indigenous leaders from Ecuador and the Ohlone nation.

The aerial art’s message was created to inspire leaders who were a part of the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit to prioritize indigenous rights, keeping fossil fuels in the ground and accelerating a just transition towards a 100% renewable energy future.

Artist John Quigley adapted Colombian artist Jhon Cortés work of art painted with the font of human bodies to make aerial art. The event was produced and directed by /Dancing Without Borders, Spectral Q, and MindTravel in collaboration with leaders of indigenous nations of the Ecuadoran Amazon environmental advocacy groups, youth, local community leaders.

It is a time where events led to the global story narrative that has been carefully organized.   The Shephard/Leadership model, which Bill Mc Kibben Founder of 350.org masters, as he goes beyond being an author, or teacher with a way of organizing that empowers people, as demonstrated with 350.org’s coordination of the Peoples Climate Movement were People. His books continue to be relevant and lead the Climate Movement narrative. The Paris Agreement where at the end, the people say the good leadership cliché, “Look what we, the people did”…

Nemo and Ana from the Northern Territory in Ecuador at Covo GCAS 2018 San Francisco. Photo by Andrea Fono courtesy of World Team Now.

“In the last five years, the weather has completely changed. It affects not just our families. It affects our farming cycles. It affects the fish. It affects our drinking water. We in the villages are the first to feel the impact of these changes in the weather, not the people in the cities. We use to grow rice for the whole year. Now our crops only yield rice for three months. We now have to purchase it which we never had to do before.”

“Despite some progress, indigenous peoples all over the world continue to fall behind,” said Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, the Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In 2018.

“I call on States to make greater efforts to ensure that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not just a piece of paper, but a real and accurate presentation of the rights that indigenous peoples enjoy in real life,” Ms. Aboubakrine emphasized in her closing remarks.

Indigenous peoples’ relationships to their ancestral lands are the source of their cultural, spiritual and social identity; the foundation upon which their traditional knowledge systems have developed; and the cornerstone of their physical and economic well-being.

The Forum also urged United Nations funds, agencies, and programs to incorporate recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources into their policies and programs at the country level.

Olvy Tumbelaka of Perempuan Aman Organization Ayak Benuaq People Indonesia said,

“Indigenous are the knowledge holders. We are the guardians of our people. We are the last people to stand for our forests, our rivers, and the sea. ”

In the last five years, the weather has completely changed. It affects not just our families. It affects our farming cycles. It affects the fish. It affects our drinking water. We in the villages are the first to feel the impact of these changes in the weather, not the people in the cities.

We use to grow rice for the whole year. Now our crops only yield rice for three months. We now have to purchase it which we never had to do before.”

There is gold mining, coal mining, pulp making and monoculture of palm…”  Now in 2019 there are fires. In 2018 Indigenous lands makeup around 20 percent of the Earth’s territory, but contain 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity — a clear sign that indigenous peoples are the most effective stewards of the environment, until this year’s fires.

Lynne Twist of Pachamama Alliance explained in 2018 “They depend on the forest and our role is to keep our forest INTACT for the next generations”.

Domingo Peas explained: “Here at the Summit people were discussing how much oil ought to stay in the ground to reduce global warming, but I feel that even if all the energy use in Europe and America changed we will still be in hot water. All the money in the world can not buy back the forests.”

We have to get real on how we do not value people. We have to be real about that pain. Our planet is like a human body. This means that we must not just work for money. We must work together with our minds, intelligence, and our hearts. We must work together without discrimination. We work on behalf of future generations.

Coming into the 2019 summit the key carryovers and developing messaging are: It is a human race, humanity against ourselves, and the present way of the developed life systems that we have organized.  The values we prioritize to live within from tribe to community, community to society, to countries at large—and the one body we have organized here on earth to unite us, are undergoing a change.  Birthing global transformation is big, not pretty or easy.  When we look at the patterns over the history of the earth for mass extinction, the urgency is clear, we are rapidly approaching the 6th mass extinction.

We can better understand the power of each choice, with consideration of the conscious state in which we reside.   There cannot be too many people in action during these times it’s an all hands on deck, and there are so many ways that more hands are coming in to carry the weight. Find your role as the story unfolds it is our future, as each of us has a role as, “We, the People”—RISE.

The Vision for the Environment and EPA’s Leadership

By Suzanne Maxx © 

The Environment, our collective home and in the USA the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has undergone a much-needed change— Scott Pruitt has resigned. Read more here:

For me, this event touches both the personal and professional areas of my life. As I’ve shared in prior blogs “Growing Up With EPA” and “EPA in Action-Moving Forward” here:

Growing Up With EPA

EPA in Action-Moving Forward

The question I asked as a child under the age of 10 still remains unanswered, in honest. “Who is in charge of the Environment?” The answer brings up a huge inquiry that we are collectively beginning to prioritize and bear witness to—what role does humanity play with the environment? How important is the environment to humanity?

This controversy with the United States “Environmental Protection Agency” is serving to awaken more people to the challenge of how to manage governance of collective resources. Does it truly serve us all to have one agency that is influenced by national politics? We know that we humans can imagine better systems for our earth and our environment. We are so thankful more people are awakened to this issue, and unfortunately, it all too often takes a crisis or scandal, to arise to do better. Surely the investigation of the present EPA leadership will continue, and now the second in command will temporarily lead with the same mandate, but as the drama unfolds our hope is that more people will be engaged in understanding, participating and get into action to show respect for our common home.

Yet in contrast, on the other side of the planet in the Pacific Island Region, during the annual session of the Forum Fisheries Committee Ministers Meeting in Raratonga, Cook Islands, someone who brings knowledge and experience for the people and the environment was given an opportunity to serve. The next Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency was just awarded to a well-qualified dedicated professional woman, Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen.  Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor said, “I am very proud that a daughter of the Blue Pacific has been appointed Director General. The Forum Fisheries Agency plays an extremely important leadership role for our fisheries, one of the most important resources for our people.”

Our vision is that one day there will be a leader who can lead with the mandate of an agency like EPA—to protect the environment. Maybe they will even enroll others beyond country to follow. It brings to question, does it truly work to have our collective environment regulated by individual countries?

Perhaps there is a better model of a representative from each region of the world that could join together to address these collective challenges with our common oceans, sky, and earth.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on a track to explore opportunities to unite beyond country through 2030. Can we address and organize quickly enough to respond to the changes happening in our environment through political structures?

Will people rise to explore what “We the People…” really means beyond country? What role will people play, with our environment ultimately?  These are questions our World Team project has been and continues to explore with our non-profit World Team Now, and in the future with World Team®.

Other blog postings that mention the EPA:

For the Love of the Ocean

Ocean/consciousness

By Suzanne Maxx ©World Team Now

June 21, 2018, Summer Solstice Malibu, California, USA

I know I’m not alone when I say I love the ocean! I think there is value in organizing people to focus around the action in a day like “World Oceans Day,” (which was June 8th) or “Earth Day” or even one’s “Birthday”!

The love for the ocean is something most of us have in common.  It’s when summer comes, (or when we go to another part of the world), that is when most people begin to build ocean consciousness.  Ocean consciousness is usually around going to the beach.  So how do we show appreciation, and celebrate the way the ocean gives to the planet, and interacts with life beyond country,  all over the world?

Last year we celebrated by participation in the United Nations Ocean Conference and registered our multi-stakeholder partnership Sustainable Solutions Ocean Opportunities on Small Island States (SOS-IS) inside the United Nations platform for the Sustainable Development Goals. We also launched the website SOS-IS.org.

World Team Now gave the “Pioneer for the Planet” Award to Aquanaut and Ocean Explorer Fabien Cousteau and had a World Team Now Gala around the ocean events with a celebration at the Grand Banks Boat/Restaurant.

It was an honor to participate in the United Nations Solutions Panel as a speaker.  Also, I covered the conference as a journalist.  With a death in the family simultaneous at the events’ climax, I learned that it was too many roles to play at the same time. Here are some past tweets, a Facebook post, and a newsletter to give you the feel of the diversity of experiences:

 

Suzanne met with and interviewed Peter Thomson, Fijian diplomat and President of the General Assembly of the United…

Posted by World Team Now on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

This year, Oceans Day was celebrated at the ocean itself: being with the ocean and holding conversations locally at the beach with people about the ocean’s meaning and importance related to islands and a myriad of solutions to plastics and individual choices. Most people at the ocean had no idea about World Oceans Day or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #SDG14, so this work took on a different value, and tone.

This experience brought up the question: Is the love we carry for our common home, nature, and the ocean prioritized in our daily lives now, even if we don’t live near the ocean? I thought I had prioritized the ocean until I lived on the ocean in Fiji, literally for a total of six months working on our World Team project. I lived in a villa actually out on the ocean.

From the back porch of the villa, I could dive into the ocean.  From my bedroom, I looked out on its vast, ever-changing horizon mirroring some of the most beautiful sunrises ever. From the opposite side of the bedroom, each sunset was better than the last.  The living room was actually a “living room,” with large glass circles as the floor, a window to watch the wildlife in the ocean: colorful fish swimming below my feet at high tides, and the pink and aqua blue neon florescent crabs in the sand at low tide.

I realized the ocean breathes too –inhaling and exhaling, as waves go in and out and with the high and low tides – breathing a way to organize life in and around Oceania. The two category 3 hurricanes that came through while I was there caused a great loss for people and island life. It is significant that when we consider the big picture, in the past few years, the extreme weather and tropical storms have increased globally. Do we all realize that the choices we make here in the developed region of the world dramatically affect what happens in other parts of the world with Climate Change?

Yet the stewardship of the ocean in the Pacific Island region’s culture is considerable, and there is a lot for the developed world to learn from how the native islanders interact with the ocean.  Passed on from generation to generation are ways to not just look to the stars for navigation, but to the ocean for understanding life.

“Chimneys” Photo Courtesy of “Dive 4 Life” Fiji

Prominent is the biodiversity of species and preservation; fish as a considerable food source, and coral reefs as life-sustaining.  The ocean is central in the Pacific Island Region of Oceania, and people have learned to listen and watch the ocean and its tides and species for how life can be better organized and prioritized.  By nature, the respect and love of the ocean is core to the culture and village communities I spent time within Fiji.

Next to the villa along the shore of Koro Sun Resort in Savusavu was “Dive 4 Life” where they teach and lead ocean journeys scuba diving (PADI Certification & Instruction), snorkeling, and fishing adventures.  We will share more about Dive 4 Life coming up.   Nearly every day in Fiji, one can experience a way to become more intimate with the ocean.

I wonder how it can be that when I arrived on one of the most pristine, untouched outer islands left in the world, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with virgin sand from human footprints- there was plastic garbage from other regions of the world washing up on shore. Plastic waste, the shipping industry, nuclear hazardous and toxic wastes, ocean acidification, climate change, overfishing have all challenged the ocean we love. We all now have heard that if we keep going at this rate with plastics, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  On the outer Fiji island, where our nonprofit, World Team Now, has been working, local villagers reported recently that right where sea turtles usually come up on the beach to lay their eggs, instead, there was a giant sea turtle strangled by plastic. Time for action: Here are 20 ways to plastic proof your routine.

So many of us enjoy what the ocean gives us: seafood to eat, waves to wide, sunsets to reflect upon – we think about the ocean related to fishing, surfing, swimming, sailing/boating, snorkeling, wave energy, and tidal energy – what we can get out of the ocean.  I wonder how many people are truly aware that not only is the ocean beautiful, and evokes wonder, but that it actually helps us breathe and is critical for the balance of earth systems. Oceans actually breathe in for us by the plankton absorbing carbon dioxide, as much as 50% of what we humans are polluting into the air since the beginning of the industrial age. The challenge is that the change in the temperature of the ocean influences the ability of plankton to ingest the carbon dioxide. Plankton forms the base of the food web on the ocean.  The temperature of the ocean and the atmosphere are coupled as a cause and effect; mirroring. Thus we face a dire positive feedback condition of warming, causing more CO2 to remain in the atmosphere.    It’s time to think about how to give back to the ocean.  Our World Team project is so eager to begin to show some of these solutions in real time, on an island and we are gearing up for action now.  We plan to have many of you join us at least virtually next year.

Just the same way we created this mess with plastic and other wastes, we can altogether work to clean it up.  There are innovative solutions now. In Fiji, I learned how to re-plant the ever important mangroves.  We can replant coral.  We can repopulate and protect fish.  We can create monitoring systems to address illegal fishing and protect endangered species, we can choose alternative renewable forms of transportation, and all of these systems are indeed connected.

Every morning I awoke to the sound of the ocean breathing in and out its waves as water splashes up against the villa and nearby shore.  To be put to bed by the soothing sound of the oceans gentle waves is a grace to grow living with the ocean.

Do you wonder what the world would look like if we focused our attention, to giving respect and appreciation of the ocean in each breath? Let’s consider organizing our effort by each breath, thought, word and action.  Maybe then we could make Oceans Day, Surf Day, and Earth Day be every day. What if their principles and elements at the core of these singular days happen every day?  Are you willing to consider the power of choice to aggregate the collective consciousness to take action for the ocean every day?  Could we make a world of difference?

Here is an excerpt of the lyrics of World Team’s rap song first performed at the United Nations Earth Summit/Global Forum 1992.

What’s the solution for the pollution of our ocean?

Education, information, cultivation, preservation, restoration, conservation,

It’s time to make a change and rearrange

A shift of power, now’s the hour

For peace, a big release,

World Team, it’s a dream and for finality,

Let it be reality.

 

May we remember the ocean is all of the time, ever-changing, yet consistent in gifts? On this day of Summer Solstice in the Western Hemisphere, may we see the light of perspective for oceans value; every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Pacific Island Region, Oceania Photo by Suzanne Maxx

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp3LQrbh-Wo

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

WorldTeamNow in #action2015

#Action2015 campaign begins officially today, 1-15-2015, calling on all people to take action in 2015.  World Team Now’s vision for this year is spelled out in our prior blog 2105: A Year of Global Transformation, #WorldTeamNow joins the coalition for action in 2015.  Suzanne Maxx, President/Founder of World Team Now, our social and environmental grassroots organization working bicoastal in the USA, said:

“This plans to be a big year, for us launching the World Team project, and for many people and organizations that understand that action is now needed for future generations to help all of us live in better balance with our resources to sustain this species on our planet. It will take many organizations teaming-up, working together for change in action”.

Suzanne, is not alone in realizing this needs to be a year with earnest sustainable development. According to new research, almost a billion extra people face a life of extreme poverty if leaders evade key decisions on poverty, inequality and climate change peaking at crucial summits  such as the the UN’s June 29th 2015: High-Level Event on Climate Change, and climaxing in Paris France at COP21 Nov 30th-Dec 11th 2015.

That’s the warning by more than a thousand organisations around the world which are launching a new campaign called action/2015 calling on local and world leaders to take urgent action to halt man-made climate change, eradicate poverty and address inequality.

 

The new calculation released by the action/2015 coalition shows that, even using relatively conservative scenarios,  the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day – could be reduced dramatically from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Based on work by the University of Denver, in the year 2030, about 4% of the global population would live in extreme poverty, (compared to 17% today) if critical policy choices on inequality, poverty investment and climate change are made this year and implemented thereafter. Estimates of other researchers, looking at a longer list of variables, show that the eradication of extreme poverty is achievable for the first time in history – a key objective of the campaign.

However, if leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious deals at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the UN Climate talks in Paris in December, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030. This increase would be the first in a generation (since 1993) and almost a billion higher (886 million) than if resolute action is taken. Under this scenario, 1 in 3 of the world’s population would live under $2 a day.

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder, who put her life on the line for the right to education said:

‘People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilized more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part. I will continue to work tirelessly to call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child. That is my goal and I hope that my voice will be heard as it is the voice of millions of children who want to go to school.’

Alongside Malala, dozens of high profile activists from Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Bono to Ben Affleck, Bill and Melinda Gates and Mo Ibrahim have backed the coalition of over a thousand organisations in more than 120 countries around the world. The campaign is calling on world leaders to agree on plans to eradicate poverty, prevent dangerous climate change and tackle inequality at these summits.

action/2015 – announced by Malala when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize – is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch – combining environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks. From household names like Amnesty International and Save the Children to many other NGOs working with local communities.  The movement aims to make sure the agreements of 2015 are shaped by the people.

Speaking for action/2015, Amitabh Behar, Indian anti-poverty activist said:

“If we get this wrong, we could see the number of people living in poverty increase for the first time in our generation. But if we get it right – tackle poverty, inequality and climate change –  we could eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. With two summits of this importance within just months of each other, 2015 could be one of the most important years for our planet since the end of the Second World War, but only if we rise to the occasion.”

At part of the launch, activities are taking place in more than 50 countries all around the world from Lebanon and Liberia to Nigeria and Norway to South Africa and Sri Lanka.

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