COP17 Youth Activist: Get It Done

There were many inspirational people speaking this week in Durban at the COP17. Most were the voices of activists- urging the delegates to put aside the politics and to respect the science by taking action that was fair, ambitious and binding.

Here is a video and transcript broadcast today on Democracy Now of one such youth delegate Anjali Appadurai. She evokes the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” She then directs the negotiators to “Get It Done.”

AMY GOODMAN: A number of protests are being held today at the climate change conference to protest the failure of world leaders to agree to immediately agree to a deal of binding emissions cuts. Earlier today, Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, addressed the conference on behalf of youth delegates.

CHAIRPERSON: I’d now like to give the floor to Miss Anjali Appadurai with College of the Atlantic, who will speak on behalf of youth non-governmental organizations. Miss Appadurai, you have the floor.

ANJALI APPADURAI: I speak for more than half the world’s population. We are the silent majority. You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table. What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money? You’ve been negotiating all my life. In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises. But you’ve heard this all before.

We’re in Africa, home to communities on the front line of climate change. The world’s poorest countries need funding for adaptation now. The Horn of Africa and those nearby in KwaMashu needed it yesterday. But as 2012 dawns, our Green Climate Fund remains empty. The International Energy Agency tells us we have five years until the window to avoid irreversible climate change closes. The science tells us that we have five years maximum. You’re saying, “Give us 10.”

The most stark betrayal of your generation’s responsibility to ours is that you call this “ambition.” Where is the courage in these rooms? Now is not the time for incremental action. In the long run, these will be seen as the defining moments of an era in which narrow self-interest prevailed over science, reason and common compassion.

There is real ambition in this room, but it’s been dismissed as radical, deemed not politically possible. Stand with Africa. Long-term thinking is not radical. What’s radical is to completely alter the planet’s climate, to betray the future of my generation, and to condemn millions to death by climate change. What’s radical is to write off the fact that change is within our reach. 2011 was the year in which the silent majority found their voice, the year when the bottom shook the top. 2011 was the year when the radical became reality.

Common, but differentiated, and historical responsibility are not up for debate. Respect the foundational principles of this convention. Respect the integral values of humanity. Respect the future of your descendants. Mandela said, “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” So, distinguished delegates and governments around the world, governments of the developed world, deep cuts now. Get it done.

Mic check!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Mic check!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Mic check!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Mic check!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Equity now!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Equity now!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Equity now!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Equity now!

ANJALI APPADURAI: You’ve run out of excuses!

PEOPLE’S MIC: You’ve run out of excuses!

ANJALI APPADURAI: We’re running out of time!

PEOPLE’S MIC: We’re running out of time!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Get it done!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Get it done!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Get it done!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Get it done!

ANJALI APPADURAI: Get it done!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Get it done!

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Miss Appadurai, who was speaking on behalf of half of the world’s population, I think she said at the beginning. And on a purely personal note, I wonder why we let not speak half of the world’s population first in this conference, but only last.

 

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Alec Loorz: Climate Youth Activists Unite!

Last month, I streamed some of the live Bioneers 21 Conference. I wanted to see James Hansen, having recently finished his book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.  After his presentation, Dr. Hansen introduced a face I hadn’t seen before, Alec Loorz.  Sixteen-year-old, Alec leads a non-profit organization called Kids Vs Global Warming . In this inspiring video, Alec quotes Thomas Jefferson,”every generation needs a new revolution.” The core of the youth’s revolution is sustainability, which Alec defines as “Living as if the future matters. Living our lives in a way that values trees, air, animals and future generations just as much as short-term interests.”

Alec is organizing a Million Kids March for Climate Action on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011 where youth and the adults who care about their future can march together in all 50 states. You can find out more by going to his website, kids-vs-global-warming.com or by texting iMatter to 411 247. Kids Vs Global Warming also has an iphone app called iMatter.

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Global Warning, Our Oil Addiction and Living on a New Planet

Narrated by Leo DiCaprio, this clip is based on the book by Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late.

“Picture this, a blue planet protected by a thin layer of atmosphere that keeps temperature, air and water in perfect balance to maintain life. In the cold depths of space, this planet is a virtual paradise, the only one know of its kind. And, it is our planet, Earth. But something is wrong…human civilization and our relentless consumption has brought this planet to the brink. But specifically, our addiction to one single resource may push us over the edge. And, that resource is Oil.”

“So get educated, stay educated, so we can think for ourselves and join the fight to save this unique blue planet for future generations,” DiCaprio closes. But, this problem of climate change is not really just a problem for future generations. As author Bill McKibben argues in his new book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, we no longer live on the planet Earth where the climate has allowed human civilization to flourish over the past 10,000 years, but on a new planet with more erratic and extreme weather. McKibben calls the planet Eaarth. We are now living with human-induced climate change. While  hoping we can still return the concentration  of CO2 in our atmosphere to 350ppm (someday because even if we cut emissions to zero, we’ve already committed the planet to further warming), we must focus our efforts to adapt to that change. McKibben suggests lightly, carefully, gracefully with a focus on local systems.

350.org activity photo climate day 2009
Image via Wikipedia

We also must engage our political system. We’ve seen no seriousness or urgency out of the Senate as the Clean Energy and Climate Change bill languished. As McKibben writes in the Huffington Post (linked below), “Political time is in short supply, too. So far, of course, Washington has done nothing—the Senate is currently considering a watered-down version of a watered-down bill, one that would only apply to electric utilities and only cause the slowest of changes, and even that has not persuaded President Obama to knock heads. He’ll go after BP, but not the GOP—the bill’s great champion, John Kerry, summed up the prevailing strategy for winning votes: “We believe we have compromised significantly, and we’re prepared to compromise further.” “

We can still bring change through grassroots efforts, like those of 350.org, 1Sky and Repower America (links below) and also through the efforts of many individuals calling their Senators to tell them that we need a bill that addresses climate change, carbon pollution and clean energy now. Get educated, stay educated and get active. Your future is now.

Links to Help You Get Active on this Issue:

Where to Find my U.S. Senators Contact Info

Repower America: Together, We Can Solve It

350.org

1Sky

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Join a Hands Across the Sand Event on June 26

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As the Gulf of Mexico continues to fill up with oil with no end in sight, the reports continue to bring us more distressing news. As of June 16, NOAA tells us that 1/3 of the Gulf is now closed to fishing.

Methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) adds a new dimension to this ever-unfolding catastrophe.  The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill. “This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history,” Kessler stated.

Meanwhile according to McClatchy News Service, the Department of the Interior’s MMS approved at least 5 new oil drilling projects without environmental review.

What can you do to express your outrage at this environmental cataclysm caused by human greed and non-existent government regulation?

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Attend a Hands Across the Sand event near you on June 26th. The image is powerful, the message is simple.  NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy. On Fort Lauderdale Beach, the event is being held at the intersection of AIA and Las Olas Boulevard.  Here is a link to one of the Facebook pages created for the event.

To find an event near you go to

HandsAcrosstheSand.com.
See you at the beach…

From the South Florida Wildlands Association:

The Department of the Interior needs to hear from you. The current moratorium on deepwater drilling should become a permanent ban. Current deep water drilling pushes the limits of human technology. The acknowledgement before Congress by executives of virtually all oil companies engaged in deepwater operations that they would be as incapable as BP of coping with the current spill, makes any other course of action far too risky.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS), has allowed numerous ‘environmental waivers’ for offshore oil operations in both deep and shallow waters.  The DOI should undertake an immediate and complete review of all current permits.  Where environmental safeguards are lax, non-existent, not enforced, or not up to ‘best available science’, the DOI should halt the operation immediately.  The DOI must implement a monitoring and inspection system on all remaining offshore oil operations to insure that environmental safeguards are being met on a regular basis. See the below link.

DOI-Send Your Comment

Additional Links to Help You Get Active on this Issue:

Where to Find my U.S. Senators Contact Info

Repower America: Together, We Can Solve It

350.org

1Sky

Naomi Klein in the Guardian

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