One week down and one week to go at the #COP21 climate change conference and negotiations here in Paris. While so much has already happened, so much more remains to be done. There are a lot of hopeful signs in the air, and most are confident that an agreement – strong? – will be signed before we all depart on Friday. But that does not mean we can breathe easy. Just ask the people of China about that one. The world is so incredibly close to a deal. Now is not the time to relieve the pressure we have brought to bear on our leaders for just this moment.
Yesterday saw the United Nations Foundation #EarthToParis event that brought Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 350.org’s Bill McKibben, Jane Goodall, and a whole host of others – all to the same stage to speak about the importance of this moment and what the peril would be in missing it. The event was live-streamed all over the world due in no small part to the diversity of the people on the stage.
Several large-scale direct action events have also taken place both in downtown metropolitan Paris and at the somewhat more remote site of the COP. One demonstration saw activists taking large blocks reminiscent of Jenga puzzle pieces apart. The blocks were labeled with various natural disasters and other negative outcomes of climate change. With each block removed, the overall stability of the earth (the assembled blocks) became that-much-more uncertain. The large crowd morbidly cheered each time the earth collapsed. Another demonstration saw activist playing the part of our leaders pushing the globe – our world – through one of 2 doors: One labeled 2°C and the second 1.5°C. The path through 1.5° lead to the collapse of a large share of our coastlines. And while the path through 2° was not as severe, it did spare us a good deal of destruction and turmoil.
None of these things alone, however, is the same as a completed, signed, and ratified climate agreement. We have about three days left to get that done in time for the closing on Saturday. Our optimism alone does not reduce the amount of carbon in the air. If so, we would have finished a long time ago. SO until that deal is done, please continue to tweet using the #COP21 hashtag. Please share stories and highlights on your Facebook page. And please continue to let both your local and national leaders know you care about this issue and are engaged in its outcome. Before we cannot hide from rising seawaters, let’s make sure our leaders can’t hide from us.