December 14, 2015

The Paris Talks Are Over—This is Where We Start.


The Paris Climate Talks are over and we have every reason to celebrate: A global agreement between 200 countries to stop our climate from rising beyond 1.5 degrees.

This is momentous. But there is also reason to worry.

Will the world celebrate this outcome from the Paris Climate Talks and fail to see that now is when action desperately needs to happen?

Of course we all want to believe that each of these 200 countries will keep their promises and begin to make massive shifts away from fossil fuels, deforestation and pollution. The chances that our governments will act fast and make swift changes is a pipe dream. This agreement from Paris has left it up to each of these 200 countries to make their own plans to achieve a stable climate.

If we leave things up to the governments of the world to act there are two issues:

1. Most economies are dependent on using fossil fuels. As much as governments have power… money drive by fossil fuels has more power. Moving away from fossil fuels will be hard for many Governments.

2. If we expect the Government to fix it all, what responsibility are we each taking for our own impact on the planet and our climate?

Now more than ever we need passionate, driven people who care about our planet, climate and humanity to take action. We need people to stand up and hold our governments to account for their promises. We need active citizens to push for as much positive change as fast as we can, to avoid the detrimental impacts of a rising climate.

We also need to be the change we want to see in the world. We can’t keep consuming goods, using fossil fuels and living lives that negatively impact our planet. There are so many things we can each be doing to reduce our footprint on the planet.

For me it started 10 years ago when I was holding two plastic bags full of groceries. I was working for an environmental non-profit and I just finished my degree in a Sustainable Development. We were lobbying the government to take better care of our environment. So much of what I did was try to get others to care about our planet, meanwhile I was walking home and I had single use plastic in my hands.

A light bulb went off for me: if I don’t do more for our planet in my day to day life, how can I expect any one else to?

From this point on, I made it my goal to walk the talk. Plastic bags were the first to go and I haven’t used one since. From there I looked at reducing the waste I produce, consuming less, switching to all natural products, and using my consumer power to buy sustainably. I started giving back to my community though volunteering, and eventually teaching others about the many ways we can lighten our footprints in the home, outside the home, and in our communities.

If world leaders see people who are acting to reduce their impact on the planet and making positive change, they will see populations that care and expect them to act too.

As much as we need to celebrate the outcome from the Paris Climate Talks, we also need to get moving.

Let’s make positive change happen from the ground up.

Two things you can do:

1. Join a Local Climate organisation and help them keep your government accountable.

2. Commit to live a more Eco-friendly life by learning about all the changes you can make to reduce your impact on the planet.

We have a global agreement for the wellbeing of planet, now let’s each see it through.






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Author:  Jamie Van Jones

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: via the author

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Jamie Van Jones