Today, there’s a lot of inequality, violence, and racial disparity. These are some of the voices that are advocating change.
- Eric Michael Dyson
- Sean King
- Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates
- Angela Davis
- Michelle Alexander
- Cornell West
- Al Sharpton
Today, there’s a lot of inequality, violence, and racial disparity. These are some of the voices that are advocating change.
Sustainable Development is the future of the world. It is what is going to drive the future and adoption of the Global Goals is what is going create equitable change for all citizens.
When looking at how the Sustainable Development Goals can have the most impact on developing countries and the overall world, there is one goal that seems to stand out from the rest. Quality Education.
Without education, there cannot and will not be reduced inequality, the irradiation of poverty, new innovative technology to drive clean energy or the respect for our resources. Education on many fronts is the catalyst that delivers that rest of the goals and it is what drives me to take action.
From a young age, I’ve been interested in biology, sustainability, and the environment. It wasn’t until I joined the Army Reserve that I realized how ineffective scientist can be when lobbying for their policies and advocating for the planet. It generally takes years, a lot of failures, and something horrible for substantial action to happen.
Rachel Carson, the woman whose book led to the discontinuation of DDT took close to twenty years for her advocacy to come to fruition. Climate activists have been advocating for action for over half of a century, but even today we are fighting an uphill battle. Great action isn’t created overnight, but there are many ways in which we can expedite the process and strategically create small successes that turn into big successes.
I am politically motivated by not only my passion for science but my love for the English language and communication. One of the biggest downfalls of the science world is their inability to communicate science and in fact, the Alda Center for Communicating Science is dedicated to addressing such issues. I want to help bridge the gap between the science world and the public in an attempt to garner more support for climate action.
Without investment into education, we will continue to have many of the problems we have today. We will leave girls all around the world vulnerable to abuse, poverty, and human trafficking. We will continue to have policy makers and corporations invalidating the growing concerns for environmental guidelines.
Without education, we will be limiting the potential of bright individuals throughout the world that could create the next cure for a fatal disease, a way to sequester carbon, or go on to positively grow the global economy. Education isn’t just about making large contributions to society but also living a more fulfilled life free of oppression and adverse climate change.
Today, the 8th of December we headed back out to Le Bourget to attend some of the events on women.
The first event I attended was a very important one called “Solutions and Storytelling for a Just World-Women, Gender, and Climate Change,” where they called out the male dominated conversation and how gender typically takes the backseat. I had only just arrived before they moved into a roundtable discussion so I only heard the tail end of it, but they summed it up as:
“Technology needs to environmentally and socially sound, but also inclusive to gender”
“We are working with indigenous peoples to ensure the writing is right and protects human rights and includes gender. That doesn’t seem what’s happening, but we are still working on it.”
After this event we went to a panel with prominent woman scholars who discussed women as a part of the movement. They each started by giving an introduction to their field and study.
Chantal Chawaf started by saying that the Paris attacks brought back a culture of destruction referring to the vote to go to war against ISIS. She called out the knee jerk reaction to cancel Civil Society events and commended the society for pushing back and she is honored to be a part of the Alliance for Women for Democracy.
They discussed how it was a big deal that there was 400 women’s NGOs out of 1500, but that it is not enough. The development model is a threat to not only women, but also humankind.
It was a woman, Gro Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway who coined the term sustainable development.
It includes a responsibility for the future, a mode of development that includes a woman’s nurturing role to that of the environment. We should have women and democracy at the center of any reflection on the environment. The three Ds are essential: Democracy, Demography, and Development.
They called out the lack of representation of women around the world and how the US hasn’t dedicated a conference to women in over 20 years.
The world has no progress equitable for women unless we address:
In gestation, the first environment that we experience— children are pre-polluted. A study found that a woman’s body has upwards of 43 different chemicals that are passed on to their children.
Wars affect women more than men and the war against women is getting more aggressive every day. Women are the first victims of climate disruption and the battle needs to be fought with women and by women.
At the negotiations, there were 11 women that made up 7% of the negotiations and in 2015 the decisions are predominately made by men.
They said, “Male narcissism reinvents God every day in its own image.”
When you exclude women you exclude 50% of the solution and 50% of the problem solvers.
It is inspiring to hear so many people talk about climate change, especially with leaders from across the world from many disciplines convening in one place to discuss how we are going to SAVE the world.
At Earth to Paris, it was said that the only species that we should be excited about going extinct is the “climate denier.” For the first time, the battle of the science is behind us and the battle has been fought and won. The science is tough and it needs to be adhered too.
Today—this week—is a lot different than every before and we have a week to go. Across cultures and countries it is not weird that it takes 28 years to reach an agreement, but everything will happen in 2015.
NGOs and groups have led us to where we are in 2015 and this is a place where everyone is included. As Ban Ki-Moon has said, “We are the first generation that can end poverty, the last that can end climate change.”
With all of the pessimism going around, it’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t build in a day. The technical issues won’t be completed in the course of two weeks and we shouldn’t expect them to be complete in two weeks. It won’t be a bad agreement because transparency isn’t right, because they left a word or two out of the agreement, it is a significant agreement and you can’t let a few things color it wrong.
In May of 2016, Ban Ki-Moon has called for another meeting of the parties in DC to continue the momentum for the agreement. This is great news and the fact that we the COP21 brought everyone together and there is discussion about the 1.5 °c limit and a legally binding agreement is phenomenal.
After Scott Minerd and Carter Roberts, the Energy VP from Google and the Social Good Advocate from Dell spoke on a panel about how their companies are addressing climate change.
Google is investing heavily in renewables with plans to build a wind farm in Kenya that is set to be the biggest on the continent of Africa.
Dell is creating a 3D software that will bring the ocean to people that have never experienced it seeking to give them a higher regard for parts of the world that are being destroyed. They want to create products that aren’t just going in a landfill.
During this presentation, Ban Ki-Moon arrived and I didn’t get to finish watching them talk about their efforts, but I did however get to meet Blanca Juti who is the Chief Brand Officer at Rovio the company that created Angry Birds. She talked to us about a book she is writing and wants to interview Morgan to feature her in her book.
We took photos of her presentation for her children and she talked about how they use their platform of 50 million downloads to teach kids and adults to care about the environment.
They’ve teamed up with NASA to teach kids about space and what it takes to get there. They’ve teamed up with the UN, National Geographic, and many big companies to send a message of social responsibility.
She was a very kind woman and I suspect potentially a friend in the future.
An underlying theme throughout the whole event was conservation, preservation, and reparation. It was a call for halting destruction and ensuring that any new developments don’t exasperate the damage that we’ve already caused.
There was discussion about Ecuador’s Socio Bosque a program to protect their forests from the oil and agricultural corporations that dominate their economy. In a country that is rich with rainforests and biological diversity, they needed to plan a way to conserve their natural resources and help their people.
There was much discussion about how to prevent deforestation and while they could have succumbed to the pressure that be and figure out the solution to the problem after economic success, they chose to do something now. They pay each citizen or community a small sum that goes a long way in Ecuador to preserve their plots of land. The idea is that the government provides a benefit for not allowing illegal logging or transitioning land into agricultural land and so far it has been successful.
This led into talk about the Arctic, a place that holds many economic and renewable opportunities. In the past few years, Shell has spent upwards of 7 billion USD on trying to locate oil in the Arctic, a place that is said to be one of the Earth’s last pristine environments.
The problem is that we need sustainable and safe development that allows for us to drive economic growth without damaging/destroying the places that we’re doing it.
Scott Minerd the Chairman of Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer of Guggenheim Partners spoke about their Arctic Investment Protocol’s Standards for Sustainability:
While anything that I’ve read online about it makes me skeptical, he was a great salesman. He talked about their plan for 577 projects equating to $700 billion USD of the next 15 years and after that $500 billion USD
After Scott took most of the time, an unimpressed Carter Roberts followed him from the World Wildlife Foundation. Who talked about Shell and how it isn’t the end of business in the Arctic, but we need to be very careful to avoid not only financial collapse, but also destruction in the Arctic.
A new study estimates that by the end of the 22nd century that melting permafrost will cost the world $43 trillion USD adding to the price of other anthropogenic causes making the total cost of climate change to $369 trillion USD by the end of the next century.
Carter discussed how smaller countries measure their impact and map their resources so that they can mitigate any potential damage to the environment. The small fishing nations tend to have reports on fish populations and monitor how they effect the population instead of recklessly overfishing.
He called for using a mapping system to guide investments, marry what Scott said with the values of indigenous peoples, and get things right in the Arctic.
Joel Sartore, a photographer from National Geographic was up after the panel to discuss his work with endangered species. He started by showing us a slideshow of his miraculous photos and discussing why he does what loves being a wildlife photographer.
The problem with his job is that he may be the last person to see a specific mammal, a specific frog, or many of the animals that haven’t had a voice until he gave it to them.
In the next 20 years, 50% of the amphibians could be extinct and it is estimated that 150-200 species go extinct every 24 hours according to the UN Environment Programme.
With the threat of a changing climate, we could be facing mass extinctions from habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, and a main factor is human overpopulation.
When we start to pay attention Joel said, “It’s often too late so save them, once they’ve dwindled to a few.” They are so well adapted for where they live, but he could be the last one to give them a voice and the question we should be asking is, “Do we want to live in a world without them?”
Joel mentioned the benefits of being aware, about when we set our sights out for species and recognize that they are endangered, we are able to save them, like the Giant Panda, the Whooping Crane, the Blackfoot Ferrell. There are breeding centers all over the world run by great people who will never see the successes of their work, but do it simply because it’s a part of taking care of the world.
During the whole event, no one except Joel mentioned overpopulation; they ever talked about how the population is rapidly growing and we will soon be at 8 billion, 9 billion, and even 10 billion. He used it to reiterate his call for an evolving relationship with nature, one where we digress to a point where re respect and live with nature instead of changing it to live with us. “Each one of us could save the world or at least die trying—we just need to take care of our own corner of the world.”