By Suzanne Maxx
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.
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:
- Earth to Paris: Learn More about The Agreement Penned in Paris
- President Obama’s delivers a statement of the Paris Climate Agreement
- Paris Climate Change Conference 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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.