Our Common Cause
I believe that our global climate crisis is the biggest challenge that my generation will ever face and that it is up to kids like myself all over our planet to solve this crisis. As ominous as the problem is there is good news about the passion and perspectives that children all over the world have, about how seriously many of us take this topic and of how committed we are to solving it. With that in mind I’d like to share a few recent examples of hope from all around the world with you.
France & Canada
Take my new friend Myriam Khelifi, a French Canadian who lives in the Province of Quebec who wrote me after my recent blog on the Yellow Vest riots in France.
I’m Myriam – a young climate activist, just like you! I am 15 years old and I wanted to propose you a mutual agreement: team work.
I created myself a blog 2 years ago, on which I post a lot of articles, magazines and videos (I have a YouTube channel) regarding many issues about global warming. Although it’s mostly written in French because it’s my mother tongue, some of them are available in English.
I’ve invited her to write a guest blog or two for our site and as she’s considering the topic to start with she wrote the following;
I could talk about the oil sands in Alberta or the Kinder Morgan pipeline that Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister, wants to build even though people are against it. I could even talk about any other subject – I’ve already done a lot of research about coral bleaching, GMOs, plastic in the oceans, etc.
If you don’t think the world is changing, that children all over the planet are serious about this topic, then consider that the young woman who wrote about oil sands in Alberta, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Prime Minister, coral bleaching and plastics in the ocean is “just” 15 years old. Thanks Myriam for helping make my point and being such an inspiration to me and so many others.
I am humbled by how often I hear from children in India and their fears concern me deeply. In fact, one of my first classroom presentations after starting The Sink or Swim Project was to a girls’ school in India by Skype. That was an amazing experience, me here in Miami near midnight and the children in their classroom live in front of me on the other side of the world a morning later talking about their concerns. Sea level rise threatens an estimate 50 Million people in Bangladesh alone who are predicted to become Climate Refugees (the number of Climate Refuges that South Florida could produce within my lifetime is 2.5 Million people).
So, yeah, India has a very serious problem on its hands and notes like this recent one from my new friend Pathan are common (as are his concerns):
I am Pathan Arshadkhan from India.
The world’s most air polluted cities are here but no serious action done by government.
What can I do for my country and my people?
My response includes ways to engage his local government, to start small on fixing this very big problem and I am confident that he and children all over India are doing just that right now.
And while we are touring the world a bit allow me to share with you that I am honored to announce that on April 2nd I will be the opening speaker at the University of Cambridge (England) for The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and its annual Climate-Related Financial Reporting Conference. I am grateful to know that the University and conference attendees want to hear from a child as they consider ways to measure and manage the complex issues of climate change.
The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership was created to assist people, businesses and industry all over the world seek profitable, sustainable, ways to work together to address common challenges and become agents of true global change. The Institute has offices in Cambridge, Brussels and Cape Town as well as delivery partners in Beijing, Melbourne and São Paolo. By working with multinational businesses, multilateral agencies and governments all over the world the Institute and its amazing staff delivers sustainable projects in Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australia.
The conference, as outlined on its website, “is designed for financial officers, risk officers, strategic managers, enterprise risk managers, investors, regulators, insurers, accountants, auditors and accounting academics who are interested in understanding the development progress and potential impact of near- and longer-term initiatives to report the implications of global climate change on potential financial performance, the implications of firms’ decisions on global climate change, and the degree of firms’ interactions with and dependencies upon stocks of natural capital.”
As I said, I am truly honored that the University of Cambridge would think to invite me overseas to speak at this important event and would like to thank them, Dr. Alan Jagonlinzer and the University of Zurich for sponsoring me. You can learn more about the Conference by clicking here.
The United States of America
Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United states and are projected to intensify in the future but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.
United States Global Change Research Program
Fourth National Climate Assessment
November 23rd, 2018
And that brings me back home to America. The good news is that it’s not just children who are “getting it.”
Slowly, but surely, even Republican lawmakers in our country are breaking rank with the past and with our President, seeing the growing gravity of the problem and starting to pay attention to the science as much or more than antiquated, protectionist politics.
Take for example the recent New York Times article (which you can read here) entitled Trump Is Increasingly Alone On One Side Of The Climate-Science Divide where it was reported that three Republicans from the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative’s Walden of Oregon, Upton of Michigan, and Shimkus of Illinois wrote an article for Real Clear Policy and within it state “climate change is real” and suggested that we change our ways so as to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
And if that’s not enough proof that things are starting to change, that reality is sinking in, in a historic first a candidate for the 2020 Presidential race, Washington Governor Jay Inslee launched his bid for the White House by announcing that our nation’s most pressing issue is climate change. “It is time for our nation to set a new priority,” Inslee told supporters gathered at a solar-panel business in Seattle. “This is truly our moment. It is our moment to solve America’s most daunting challenge and make it the first, foremost, and paramount duty of the United States … to defeat climate change.”
Of course, when I say reality is starting to set in I am not referring to the current occupant of the White House. President Trump remains America’s Climate Denier in Chief, an abate embarrassment as he desperately works to secure re-election votes from coal mining states, utilities and others who want to continue their polluting ways. Our President is so delusional, so unwavering in his ignorant, evil, support of carbon pollution that according to the Washington Post (click here) he’s in the midst of creating a committee of scientists to take issue with his own Administration’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, a report last year that concluded “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.“ 97% of the world’s scientists agree that our planet is warming and that man’s reliance on fossil fuels is the cause, but leave it to Mr. Trump to seek out the 3% who are likely biased in some fashion and might want to suggest otherwise just as tobacco companies ran advertising with biased doctors promoting cigarettes’ use a generation ago.
We still have much to do, and do quickly, but from Miami to Canada, India, England and beyond, today’s youth have tired of the pollution, and the politics of deceit, and are quickly coming together to solve our common cause, our global climate crisis.