COP21 Update – Friday, December 4

20151204_004726Wow! You were busy out there while we were getting started: in support of the fight against climate change, 2300 events. 175 countries. 785,000 people. (Avaaz report) And your images are still being shown here at the Climate Summit. Together we can do this!

Keep up the encouragement. As exciting as it is to be here with so many like-minded people concerned about the future of our world and its people, sometimes we get discouraged (like today) at the slow pace of the negotiations. But we experienced some encouraging things today.

Former US Vice President (and author of “An Inconvenient Truth” ) Al Gore came to talk! He is a regular “ROCK STAR” in this crowd—a prophet of old whose time has come. They had to move us to a room six times the size of the first. He told us that civil society is stronger at this meeting than at any he has ever attended. Not only is there larger representation, but we are more engaged and informed.  He thinks this is the tipping point, and told us not to be discouraged—things always seem to be falling apart at this stage (and he ought to know!) He quoted Wallace Stephens, “After the last ‘no’ comes a ‘yes,’ and on that ‘yes’ the future of the world exists.” He is seeing great initiatives from governors and city leaders, and says that the financial sector already sees that it is GAMEOVER for fossil fuels. It is starting to look for a soft landing for pension funds. The Monsanto years are coming to an end (big cheers from us)  He responded knowledgeably to questions from a nun from India, an Inuit from the Arctic Circle, a lawyer from Bangladesh, and other professionals from Italy, Uganda…and YOUTH, lots of youth from many countries. “In all great social movements, Youth have been in the vanguard.”  And remember that every voter must be a climate voter in every election.

At a booth dedicated to information about tropical rain forests, we met an Orthodox bishop in mufti, from an African nation. He said he had a hard time getting out of the country because he was considered a troublemaker. (He is concerned about poverty and inequality!) We met wonderful young women from Atlanta, Seattle, Copenhagen—so eager and bright, majoring in environmental law and international policy and things that did not exist when our generation was acquiring the tools to fight this battle. How could we not be encouraged?