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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

thx, alistair!

the silent climate parade will roll again through berlin this september!

remember, when we danced through berlin to demonstrate (for) a sustainable future? if not, read the description below to get and idea of what we’re all about! and check out the 2011 video (thx, laurent!) & the website!

the plan for 2012: on september 22, we’ll start the parade around alexanderplatz. get your headphones between 12-2pm, and then the parade will dance silently through east berlin from 2-5pm. we’re in the midst of organizing, so stay tuned via the fb event!

[EDIT: the DJs are confirmed! we proudly present:

but we need your support: we’re crowdfunding via betterplace to make this day possible again. can you help us to organize the best silent climate parade ever?

The Silent Climate Parade is a demonstration in Berlin to raise awareness about the failure to solve the climate change problem. With wireless headphones, quality DJs on electromobiles, signs, flyers, choreographies, and lots of enthusiasm, we dance silently through the streets in a fun, colorful and inspiring action to catch people’s attention. We do this to show that it’s possible to have fun, be climate friendly, and make a political statement at the same time. Let’s get moving!

‘misfits’ are fruits and veggies that have a different size or shape so they don’t fit the “industrialized standards” and often get left behind, even though they are perfectly edible. the culinary misfits are two designers that save these misfits from becoming waste by cooking delicious – organic, local and seasonal – meals.

they have been cooking and delighting foodies around berlin for about a year, and now they are looking to crowdfund their own space – where they can cook, experiment, invite guests, and sell culinary misfit food. i hope they’ll reach their goal so they can open their new place very soon!

food waste is such a prime example of our modern problems. experts estimate that about 50% of the food in the US and EU goes to waste, worldwide the FAO sees that number at 30%. i blogged about valentin thurn’s taste the waste earlier that shows a farmer couldn’t use 40 percent of his potatoes harvest, which seems to be a rather normal figure. at the same time, the food that europe throws away would be enough to feed the world’s hungry at least twice (tristram stuart even estimates that “one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe”).

we are not too many, we (our systems) are just too stupid. there is enough for everyone on this planet, we just suck at distributing it. we need to change the economic focus from unlimited growth to a more just distribution that increases overall happiness and resilience.

that’s why i support initiatives like the culinary misfits. there are also another few initiatives worth mentioning: in berlin i had a great time at the teller statt tonne demo, and friends of mine were inspired by the berlin schnippeldisco (where misfits were cut and made into a soup that was handed out at a demonstration for sustainable agriculture) and started disco soupe in paris. food is one of the most essential aspects of our lives and it can connect people like almost nothing else – if we want a better future, we have to redesign the way we feed the world.

love the energy in her speech, the storytelling, and her message of empowerment!

incredible edible makes a great case for urban gardening and edible landscapes. for the same reason of increasing our resilience, i’m a big fan of projects like prinzessinnengarten, an urban gardening experiment in berlin. in fact, it is currently collecting signatures via change.org to ensure its future as a part of the city, so you can help them out with a few clicks.

annie leonard’s latest film of her story of stuff project is her best piece by far, and has turned me into a fan, because i think that it has finally arrived at the most essential and important part of her message.

in case you haven’t seen any of her videos yet, they are cutely animated videos that started out with explaining the process of how things are produced, consumed, and disposed – and what effect that has on the planet.the next few videos were focused on the story behind certain consumer items (bottled water, cosmetics, electronics), the cap-and-trade system, and (my favorite till now) the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

the story of change is about her theory of change – and i’m glad to hear that she doesn’t propose that it’s just about changing your shopping patterns. i do think that buying better & less stuff is a good place to start if you can, but it must not stop there. i believe that the systems we have built (money, economy, nation states, education, health care, social services) are not working for us anymore, either due to fundamental changes to the world we live in or the fallibility of the human condition. i think we need to thoroughly rethink and redesign these systems, and that it needs to happen soon if we want to preserve a halfway-livable planet. and by redesign, i mean something that is closer to a revolution than a reform.

“the solutions we need are not for sale at the supermarket”

game change rio: this is how we should get people to care about something as important while at the same time so boring sounding as rio+20: appealing to the part of us that seeks fun and interactivity!

awesome initative, and the best player even wins a trip to rio!

a generation waking up – it’s definitely too late to be a pessimist!

we live at a time when our lives and actions matter more than ever before. what will our legacy be?

la soif du monde / a thirsty world – the new film by yann arthus-bertrand on the global water and sanitation crisis! i was lucky enough to see the premiere in marseille last week (at the rather disappointing world water forum), and it was fantastic. i almost liked it more than his last film, home.

i’m a huge fan of yann, ever since i stumbled upon his earth from above outdoor exhibition in london. a few years later i was also lucky enough to see the fantastic 6 milliards d’autres exhibition in paris. and now he’s involved in the same business i am!