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#COP21 and the Road to Paris

My speech at the Silent Climate Parade focused on COP21 and I promised to post some information for people too lazy to surf the internet. Well, this won’t be a dissertation, but I wanted to collect and point to a few good resources for people to get started with talking about it. Leave more in the comments if you’d like to point my attention towards interesting stuff.

Why does it make sense to solve climate change? If you’re stuck on that question, read the fantastic ‘Story of Energy’ chapter on this waitbutwhy article.

As I said, I think COP21 we need to see it as a chance for our leaders to solve a the issue of climate change, which is so fatally different from other challenges and so far-reaching. Not to say it will solve anything, but it can be a major step in the right direction – the first real one in 23 years since the creation of the UNCCC at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

Many people are still frustrated about the failure of Copenhagen’s COP15 in 2009, which was pushed into the public eye as a decisive moment for climate action. The enormous media attention and heads of state in attendance didn’t really get us anywhere. Many on the activist side explored different paths such as the very successful divestment campaign or direct actions, or like myself more towards pushing practical solutions though innovation and entrepreneurship. Follow the #climate tag on this blog for some things I posted about.

With COP21, there’s again a blossoming hope that there can be a global political solution. On the other hand, if talks fail then it is probably the last nail in the coffin to the idea that we’ll come together as a global village and make the rational choice to preserve our habitat. My wish is that we can start talking about it more and bring the urgency of this to the public awareness. I think those that are serious about a sustainable future need to be vocal about their expectations from their political leaders and drive the conversation.

The Guardian is a good place to get an overview of the most basic facts on COP21 in Paris in December as well as this article on ensia. If even a fraction of this information would permeate into our conversations I’d call it an achievement. Even better, if we would could make it understood that solving climate change is an opportunity to build a better world.

In addition to my posts on this blog, for further reading some more articles that deserve attention on COP21 or climate change:

I’ll be adding things here as I come across them. For now I’ll leave you with Leo.

photo above by Jason Krüger at ekvidi

nice appearance by the always-amazing naomi klein on bill moyers. 30 min worth watching. i love her analysis of most climate activist messages that target the individual (‘you can do something about it by changing your behavior’) and often neglect the necessity for collective action. this point is the reason i finally became a fan of annie leonard’s story of stuff series when she presented the story of change, and what i love about occupy movement: the realization that we need to break out of the individualistic thinking that keeps us competing against each other rather than working together. we’re all in the same boat and should start acting more like it.

i’m mostly contemplating her point that part of the reason why public opinion on the subject of climate change has been so shaky is the discrepancy between saying ‘this is a huge, armageddon-style problem’ but suggesting that the solutions only have a very minor impact on our lives (‘changing light bulbs’) and do not demand big sacrifices from anyone. maybe it’s because ‘being radical’ has been put in such a bad public light, and the public debate tends to frame climate activists as radical – while it’s actually the other way round, as mckibben so rightly points out: the true radicals are those who are fundamentally changing the composition of the atmosphere.

i’m no historian, but i do tend to agree with her (as i usually do..) that this is the greatest problem we’ve ever faced as humanity. it’s what makes this the most interesting issue to work on and be a part of.

by the way, also just in: 350.org is calling climate activists around the world to join the global power shift kick-off in istanbul from 10-17 june 2013. i’m hoping i can join, and look forward to meet climate activists from around the world!

350.org on the Do The Math Tour: 3 sold-out nights so far, and clear language: 5 times more than is safe to burn.

It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.

What we can do? Well, join the tour, join the movement. It sounds very promising, with an interesting program and some great guests, incl. Naomi Klein and Kumi Naidoo. Wish the tour would make it to Europe.

And I like the approach of divestment from the fossil fuel industry to solve this problem:

It just doesn’t make sense for universities to invest in a system that will leave their students no livable planet to use their degrees on, or for pension funds to invest in corporations that will ruin the world we plan to retire in.
The one thing we know the fossil fuel industry cares about is money. Universities, pension funds, and churches invest a lot of it. If we start with these local institutions and hit the industry where it hurts — their bottom line — we can get their attention and force them to change. This was a key part of how the world ended the apartheid system in South Africa, and we hope it can have the same effect on the climate crisis.

i must’ve missed this video last year when it came out. awesome stop-motion by the always-amazing kevin (who i had the pleasure to work with at the SCP 2011) for the 350.org chamber of commerce campaign (thx, ayesha!)!

by the way, if you haven’t read bill mckibben’s latest article, you really should. his rolling stone article ’global warming’s terrifying new math’ isn’t short, but well worth the time.

tomorrow on saturday, may 5, the silent climate parade joins forces with tar sands activists in berlin to protest against the catastrophic environmental destruction shown in this shocking (but great) video!

all around the world people are organizing events on the 350.org climate impacts day to connect the dots between climate change and the dramatic spike in extreme weather events: www.climatedots.org

join us: Das TEERSANDÖL kommt! – alexanderplatz, 11:30

wow, what an inspiring story! good news!

remember this summer, when climate activists protested the keystone XL pipeline in front of the white house? they got themselves arrested in civil disobedience (for protesting in front of the white house?!?) to prevent the ‘game over for the climate.’

on nov 6, more than 10,000 protesters came back and circled the white house to demand an end to the pipeline. and this massive public pressure finally resulted in a victory!! last night i got an e-mail, that the decision was delayed, effectively killing the project!

this is a spectacular victory, because it seemed so unlikely: it was expected that this would pass easily, not a lot of people outside of the affected areas knew about this project, and the protest came amidst a news media dominated by the financial markets. this is a great victory, and should be a huge motivator to continue fighting the good fight!

on september 24, more than 1500 people will dance silently through the streets of berlin for a renewable future! the music will come from a DJ on an electric car (powered by green energy!), but not played over loudspeakers, but through headphones! this is the silent climate parade!

on the 350.org international day of climate action ’moving planet’, we want to show that a renewable future can be fun, probably even should be fun! we need to be creative. be open for new experiences. for example with a demonstration that’s a little different- more colorful, less obtrusive, more fun.. and hopefully it will touch not only the brain but also the heart!

hundredthousands of people worldwide will be part of moving planet on september 24- join us and let’s start moving towards the renewable future!

reserve your headphones at climateparade.de/mitmachen !!

moving planet fb event  ·  silent climate parade berlin fb event

++ PLEASE NOTE: the event starts at Breitscheidplatz, near Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche in Charlottenburg ++

confirmed DJs:

timetable:

  • 12:00-14:00  headphone distribution + intro DJ
  • 14:00-16:00  parade
  • 16:00-18:00  rallye + outro DJ

[EDIT: please help us fundraise for the event at betterplace.org]


photo by annakrzyzanowska.blogspot.com

nice info graphic from 350.org on gas prices, subsidies and fossil fuel economics/politics!

it’s time to move beyond this! join moving planet on september 24th, 2011 coming to a city near you!