The Road Through Paris: InSpire at COP 21 With Youth, Women, Native Voices
As you are probably aware, this week the UNFCCC Climate Change Conferenceopened in Paris, France. This meeting is the culmination of a multi-year process to engage the world’s 195 national governments to commit to visionary new energy, climate mitigation policies and strategic plans that limit the global temperature increase in coming decades to 1.5 C in order to avert climate impacts also to the most vulnerable. (Although nations have agreed to a limit of 2C increase, it’s still too high to ensure that island nations are not inundated with rising seas, or northern African savannas (agricultural plains) subject to greater desertification; for example).
Road to Paris:
Leading up to Paris, since December 2013, every country delegation (195) to the UNFCCC was invited to prepare and to communicate their individual country commitments (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INCDs)) to reduce their carbon emissions and to design their climate resilience projects, systemically. By October 1, 2015, a total of 147 countries, representing 86% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 (75% of all the Parties to the UNFCCC) responded to the invitation. As countries in Africa were noticeably lacking, now, at least Nigeria, have added their national commitment, as well…so on one level the climate negotiations have launched in a very positive direction.
Kudos to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, for continuing to lead with grace, integrity, energy, and commitment and accelerating more aggressive, visionary climate commitments to our Seventh Generation, long term future. Indeed, it is now time for true leadership across national governments to really shine.
Critical Juncture in Paris:
That said, over the past COPs and until now we still need more light; as the global bulb of the new energy economy has remained far too dim. Most INDC’s (100 of 119) have now necessarily included climate adaptation as part of their overall country strategies, demonstrating the urgency of also now focusing centrally on climate adaptation in the future. Of course, this a cost our global economy would not have had to now (and into the future) absorb; had we sooner listened to Nicholas Stern’s The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the predictive economic models for costing out long term climate resilience.
Further, current combined INDCs (as well, the internationally-binding commitments) do not yet even restrict our increased temperature target to within the internationally-accepted 2C threshold. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) estimates that given current Cancun pledges and Kyoto commitments- when translated into real, tangible, practical actions; allow our global emissions to increase 53 Gt CO2 (giga-tonnes of CO2 equivalents) by 2020 and 60 Gt CO2 by 2030… creating a significant “emissions gap”…that likely leads us into a 3.3 C + world within a century… simply dis-allowing most nations enough time to adapt to subsequent, ever-accelerating environmental changes. The INDC’s help close that gap, but the question is how much, how far, and how realistically-implemented and financed will be those national goals….
COP 21- How Far We’ve Really Come:
My first years participating in the COP’s in early 2000 we were speaking of “climate avoidance”, then over the years the language shifted to: “climate mitigation”, and now a central focus of this seminal and decisive COP 21 is on “climate adaptation”. In fact, this weekend I am moderating a panel on Climate Adaptation (one of many in the program) with a number of research institutions, including my alma mater, University of Notre Dame, to evaluate and to explore new tools for assessing country risk and investment potential, like UND-GAIN.
Thus, this Paris Climate Conference, taken in temporal context, indicates that as a global society, we have honestly and with all our good intentions- not yet practically and realistically taken enough aggressive and nor preventative actions over the past decades to avoid the Hydra of Climate Change. But be aware, She lurks now in the dark alleys of our global neighborhoods, ready to rear her vicious and un-relenting head, especially in more vulnerable developing countries… a global tipping point is near.
COP 21- How Far We Really Need to Go:
So there is no time, nor vision to waste. Indeed, it is time for innovative policy action and more Christiana Figures- Laurent Fabius in the Global Climate House. Clearly, there are more and more visionary and committed individuals, businesses, leaders in this space every year…and the new energy revolution is taking light.
World Leaders are showing up, like Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, are saying: ” A Paris agreement must reflect a new reality.”
World Society is showing up. For example, The Yale Climate Project confirms that 62% of Americans think that the US should reduce our carbon footprint, regardless of what other countries decide to do.
World Business is showing up, as Paul Dickinsen of the Carbon Development Project(CDP) “The momentum of business action on climate change suggests we have reached a tipping point, where companies are poised to achieve their full potential.”
Perhaps the five-year review, adaptive management strategy proposed by the Secretariat is a good way forward for all countries to keep ever-advancing climate targets; while continuing to monitor the global pulse of climate change. This is good, innovative progress…
But, the multiple choice question now everyone seems to be asking is: How fast, How soon, and How much will be invested…financially, in creating the shift off of a fossil-fuel driven world into an exciting, innovative, new climate energy future? The answer to our top choice answer: fast, visionary, and well-financed (at least the $100 Billion USD climate adaptation fund promised in Copenhagen, please).
As we saw with the swell of emotional intelligence raised around Pope Francis’ encyclical- calling not only for visionary leadership on climate change, but also an unselfish restructuring of a currently inequitable global economy… Global Moral Conscience is rising.
COP 21- Involving More Youth and Native Voices and Visioning Forward to our Seventh Generation Future:
Youth, women, and indigenous people tend to think of their friends, family, tribe- the collective WE; and this Mandela- when you are well, I am well moral orientation is what is necessary for our Global Tribe now to survive. And that is why I’ve decided to concentrate my energy and effort this COP 21 on raising the voice of the youth, future generations, and indigenous natural wisdom in the climate conversation.
Yesterday was the official opening of the UN Climate Summit’s Young and Future Generation’s Day- designated by the UNFCCC as a “celebration of youth power and participation at UN Climate Change Conferences.”… While the lack of youth in Le Bourget- the Blue Zone was noticeable, as Christiana Figures called out during the Opening which countries were represented, clearly the audience covered the map…So, albeit an inclusive lack, why was there a lack? Conversely, why should there be more youth participation in the future.
Youth voices are not only important to integrate into the climate change conversations to gain a greater intergenerational perspective on climate impacts to families and lifestyles from people living in diverse ecosystems and encountering now different climate threats around the world; but Youth Participation at COP 21 is important because:
1. Youthful voices and visions are generally unfiltered, honest reflections of reality. They will call the climate reality they observe in their world as it is… They do not suffer “cognitive dissidence” as Kumi Naidoo suggested in a Climate Conversation yesterday.
2. Youthful voices and visions are typically unrestrained-not yet trained, so their minds are open to new ideas. Innovation has been a buzz word these past days in the Climate Solutions space, so necessary.
3. Youth are not so easily influenced by cultural expectations. Naturally, they are adaptable to different people and flexible to divergent ways of doing things. This is a very good thing; as we now live in a globally connected world; seeking also locally-relevant energy-resource solutions.
4. Youth can be more creative. As they learn to understand their world, their senses are alert, observation of nature, profound; and imagination; unbound. Respecting the limits of natural resource boundaries; while simultaneously learning to tune into the boundless natural intelligence of our biosphere, I predict, will be the secret to our global society’s survival.
5. Youth are naturally, intelligently innocent, generous, social givers…when not tainted by models of Me-Consummerism. Enter the service-oriented, circular economy; designed for, by, all about the future.
6. Youth are fearless and flexible. Young minds believe that anything is possible, and that impossible problems can be solved. Precisely why I would want youth on my climate team.
7. Youth today are uber-social… and have vast networks of friends, unbound by physical boundaries, languages, or cultural heritage. Hence, great ideas can spread; instantly, globally.
Our Natural Intelligence Contribution to COP 21 to Celebrate Youth, Our Future, and Indigenous Voices:
So, to raise the presence, voice, and participation of youth in the UN House (as well- to tap into indigenous wisdom through native story-telling) during this important Paris Climate Change Conference, we have written and produced a youth-centered film, based on a powerful Incan Story of Creation.
In the story, two children from the Seventh Generation future (Killa, the Moon Girl, and Inti, her Brother Sun) must stop the arguing among climate leaders for the Sky God and Earth Mother (their parents) to allow the Sun to rise the next day.
“InSpire” is a 5 minute EPIC short feature focusing on unifying the world’s voices from different nations around our collective long term Global Goals to Avoid Climate Tipping Points and to ensure a viable world for the Seventh Generation Future.
In the Spirit of Native Peoples; “InSpire” is A Gift:
“InSpire“–to be filled with Spirit is a cautionary tale and vision of future hope we now creatively, collectively bring to COP 21 to “InSpire” more aggressive action be taken on Climate Change for Future Generations… for this we share, our love for our families, an inherent responsibility to protect our children from harm, and a naturally intelligence charge to be good stewards of the Earth.
“InSpire”is a gift to organizations, governments, civil society groups, UN organizations who would like to play this film during their side events, programs, summits, and gatherings to “InSpire” their audiences, partners, and leaders to challenge one another to rise to the Climate Challenge and Take a More Visionary, Position at COP 21 for the Seventh Generation Future- Our Future!!!!