Like countless people in 175 countries around the world, we’ve been busy the last few days preparing for our local Global Climate March on Sunday, November 28th. The United Nations climate summit starts this week in Paris, and we are absolutely convinced that this summit represents our last good chance to provide our children and our children’s children with a world not plagued by chronic drought, famine, and war. The horrific attacks in Paris only reinforce the urgency of climate action. The connection to Syria has been at the forefront of the discussion about the violence that claimed at least 130 lives, and given the unmistakable influence of climate-change related events on intensifying volatile situations like those in Syria, the ripple effects will only be increasing over time.
World leaders have the opportunity (and duty) to go beyond pledges and commit to action. NASA’s carbon counter calculates the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is presently 401.58 parts per million, above the 350 parts per millions the scientific community advises is the ceiling for a planet hospitable to humans. The vast bulk of fossil fuels must stay in the ground, never to be burned, and this is something oil companies can only be coerced into doing through government action and popular pressure. A just transition to 100% renewable energy is the other piece of the puzzle, with the richest countries most responsible for the carbon in the atmosphere paying their fair share to helping all countries adapt.
From Parksville, Canada (where we’ll be attending a march) to Phitsanulok, Thailand, there are over 2,000 planned marches across the world on Sunday (though the one in Paris has been canceled by the government due to security concerns). The companies that stand to benefit from the short term burning of fossil fuels (the oil, coal, and natural gas industry) and from the long term havoc of a world fighting over scarce resources (weapon manufacturers, etc.) already have an army of lobbyist to ensure politicians hear their side. It will take a sustained surge of popular expression to drown out the pleas for profit in favor of the outcome our children and our planet need. Tomorrow’s just the beginning, but it’s going to take all of us to achieve the improbable.