From Humanity to World Leaders at COP21

So, the dust has settled after the UNFCCC COP21. And the pundits have called it a total disaster and also a success; the best possible agreement we could expect. The COP process with the INDCs brought all the players to the table with something to give. Of course, not enough to save us, but much better than the business-as-usual scenario. The number 1.5˚C even got inserted into the text, without a plan to get there, but that also was considered part of the success.

There is hope that this is a message that the fossil fuel era is over. However, many countries and fossil fuel companies seemed to fail to get the memo. That story, To Be Continued at another time….

Here, I wanted to revisit some very profound video messages from humanity to world leaders at the Paris talks. These are real, heartfelt and express the urgency for which we need to take action. I’m sharing them post pundit analysis of all the good news and insanity which came to be as the COP21 Paris Agreement.

We need to act as if what we do matters and has consequences, because it does. And, when collectively we get that memo, change will follow. The shift has already begun. We just need to ramp it up in real time.

Abdul Muqeet, a 14 year-old, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, who’s done over 170 international workshops to raise awareness of our need to act on climate.

Students from nine schools across five continents deliver their message to world leaders at COP21.

A message from the front lines of climate disruption.

Marshall Islands’ poet, Kathy Jetnil-Kiljiner perform at the ArtCOP21 launch at St Pancras Station; ‘Dear Matafele Peinem’, a poem she wrote for her daughter inspired by the effects of climate change.

A message from Earth’s astronauts.

Island President: Mohamed Nasheed and a People’s Fight for Survival

President Nasheed of the Maldives briefs repor...

President Nasheed of the Maldives briefs reporters during the Copenhagen climate change talks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On February 7, 2012, Mohamed Nasheed, the democratically elected President of the Maldives and an outspoken climate change activist, was forced to resign his office due to the threat of violence from a coup d’etat lead by military forces loyal to the former dictator. A documentary, The Island President recounts his rise to power and fight to get a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement that recognized the science of climate change at the UNFCC COP 15 in Copenhagen in December of 2009.

Nasheed endured 30 years of a brutal dictatorship where he was arrested 12 times, tortured twice and spent 18 months in a 5 x 3 corrugated iron cell in solitary confinement. In a considerable victory for human rights, the people took to the streets. And in 2008, Mohamed Nasheed became the democratically elected President of the Maldives.

As President, Nasheed soon found that all of the issues effecting the Maldives, a fragile, low-lying nation made up approximately 2000 islands, had the same source problem–global climate change. Since he was no stranger to fighting for survival, Nasheed turned his efforts to the colossal task of battling this adversary.

“If we can’t stop the seas rising, if you allow for a 2-degree rise in temperature, you are actually agreeing to kill us. I have an objective, which is to save the nation,” Nasheed said.

The film chronicles his efforts leading up to and behind the scenes at the Copenhagen summit. Using all of his political and diplomatic tools, Nasheed forms alliances and tries his best to persuade the world’s political leaders; including India, China and the US, to arrive at an agreement based on what the climate science dictates, a return of atmospheric carbon dioxide to a level of 350ppm. What Nasheed learns is that while he is fighting for his people’s survival, many of the world’s biggest polluters are fighting for the right to conduct business as usual. This leaves you at a good place to ponder whether global climate change itself or the geo-political establishment is the bigger threat to the Maldives survival. Though the conference fell short of getting a legally binding agreement, Nasheed became known as an instant leader in the climate justice movement.

“What happens to the Maldives today, will happen to New York tomorrow,” warns Nasheed.

Because the climate system is one with so much inertia, the climate will continue to warm, even after greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized or reduced. Carbon dioxide has a residence time in our atmosphere of about 100 years. And sea level will also continue to rise for hundreds of years after CO2 emissions are stabilized.  Heeding the warning from those on the front lines of climate change may just save us all.


Take Action:

Petiton for Free and Fair Elections in the Maldives

Democracy Maldives

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Watch COP17 Live Coverage Here- Starting Nov 30th

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

The 17th Conference of Parties (COP17 ) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

In attendance will be environmental ministers and negotiators from 195 countries, activists, corporations and NGOs. The world’s only legally binding agreement on climate, the Kyoto Protocol, expires at the end of 2012 and recent efforts in Copenhagen and Cancún have failed to produce a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. That makes this COP all the more important. You might say the future of the entire planet depends on it-even though some of the key players don’t behave like it does.

Watch the live coverage here:
Watch live video from OneClimate on



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