Finding Allies in Facing Climate Change

College of Marin Gardener Rodney Craig, left, and students from the Conservation Corps North Bay, plant a coast redwood saplings cloned from some of the largest ancient trees in the world on Monday, April 22, at the College of Marin. College of Marin is one of eight locations in the world and the only location in the U.S. to receive the plantings in a global event spearheaded by the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. Earth Day plantings will also take place in British Columbia, Ireland, Australia, Wales, New Zealand, Germany and England.   (College of Marin photo/Shook Chung)
College of Marin Gardener Rodney Craig, left, and students from the Conservation Corps North Bay, plant a coast redwood saplings cloned from some of the largest ancient trees in the world on Monday, April 22, at the College of Marin. College of Marin is one of eight locations in the world and the only location in the U.S. to receive the plantings in a global event spearheaded by the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. Earth Day plantings will also take place in British Columbia, Ireland, Australia, Wales, New Zealand, Germany and England. (College of Marin photo/Shook Chung)

What’s occurring in Paris this December is officially known as COP21 of the UNFCCC! So—what does that translate to? The Climate Reality Project gives a clear explanation which we’ll share here, and urge you to read the whole article from which it is taken: “Key Terms You Need to Know to Understand Climate Change

“ COP21 AND UNFCCC: These two abbreviations are best described together as they work hand-in-hand. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an environmental treaty that nations joined in 1992, with the goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. Meanwhile, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC is a yearly international climate conference where nations assess progress and determine next steps for action through the UNFCCC treaty. This year marks the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21), which will be held in Paris beginning November 30. Here, a historic global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is on the table and, if passed, will mark a landmark achievement in the fight against climate change.”

Since the situation is so critical, and the possibilities so immense, many groups are focusing their efforts on influencing the outcome of this Conference. The key is to have an outcome that is comprehensive and legally binding on the parties— the governments of 195 nations.

350.org, a leader in the charge to face the realities of climate change, defines their message to these world leaders:

  1. Keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground
  2. Finance transition to 100% renewable energy.
  3. Make sure that communities who will be first and hardest hit by climate change have the resources to respond to the crisis.

Leading up to the conference, 350.org is organizing public action events in cities worldwide. Founded by a US group with Bill McKibben, 350.org takes its name from the key number—350-- of parts per million of Carbon in the atmosphere which is considered conducive to life on earth and necessary to maintain in order to prevent disastrous global warming. Their mission is building a global climate movement through online campaigns, grassroots organizing and mass public actions. They have been instrumental in opposing coal-powered plants in India, convincing public institutions to divest from fossil fuels, and stopping Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Climate Reality Project is also organizing public actions, provides suggestions for engaging through social media and will host video events from major cities around the globe during their “24 hours of Reality” November 13 and 14.

Backing up the momentum for action on climate change is the information collected and spread by the Union of Concerned Scientists. They have taken up the challenge of bringing scientific research on climate change into the public eye and refuting misinformation commonly spread through some media channels. In addition they work with the US government on vehicle fuel standards and on demonstrating economic advantages of renewable energy. Working with consumer product companies, they also provide leadership in efforts to prevent deforestation of tropical rainforests.

Protecting and planting trees is key to healing our planet from the devastating effects of climate change. Our heroic friends at Tree Sisters are bringing the dream of reforestation to fruition. (see article: Manifesting Miracles in Madagascar)

Like Tree Sisters, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Networkbelieves in the vital role of Women in bringing about the changes needed to create our living, viable future. They are “a solutions-based, multifaceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions.” They will have an important part to play in the Paris summit. From their website:

“The Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN International) will be in Paris during COP21 – working both inside the UNFCCC negotiations, as well at outside events and on the streets with diverse civil society efforts and people’s movements. We will advocate for plans and policies that are in line with the magnitude of the crisis we face, and which foster justice for women, the Earth, and all of its peoples.

To review the detailed action plan that WECAN International will be using in COP21 advocacy work, please see the Women’s Climate Action Agenda and Women’s Climate Declaration. You can also join our network of worldwide women for climate justice for International Organizing Calls in advance of COP21.”

On Dec 7 they will host a forum of strong-hearted women from around the world to “join in solidarity to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present the diverse array of visions and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable world.”

One clear-sighted woman who is inspiring us all is Naomie Klein, author of the book upon which the film of the same title “This Changes Everything,” is based (Find out how to see it at http://thefilm.thischangeseverything.org/ )   In her words, she has looked into “the carbon in the air and the economic system that put it there, ” and she poses an important question: “What if climate change isn’t only a crisis? What if it’s the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better future.”

Let’s join together to envision and create that future!