As we sit here on the precipice of a new negotiated agreement tensions are high, excitement is tangible, and the confidence in the United Nations by the citizens of the world hangs in the balance. We wait with baited breath to hear what these heads of state have to say with their agreement, and what they have promised for us. The uncertainty for some nations is tragic. They are facing the toughest choices, ones that I’m sure many of us in the United States would not dream of giving up. Their earnest hope that they will be helped can be seen on their faces.
I was witness to two really positive actions today. One undertaken by a group of scientists, and one undertaken by a ramshackle group of unlikely comrades. The Pole to Paris group spoke to us today about the endeavor that they undertook, voluntarily, to call attention to the North and South Poles (where warming is impacting the most), and all the land in between. Erland ran from the North Pole to Paris and Dan biked from the South Pole to Paris in an epic journey to raise awareness about climate change and the significance of COP21. They traveled over 15,000 km and along the way had some amazing conversations of people who live in the regions over which they traveled. You can read about their journey here: www.poletoparis.com. They are beyond inspirational and have dedicated 7 months of their life to this cause. As they said, “If you live, you need to be concerned.”
As I returned to our hostel, I was greeted by 125 bikes out in front and 125 people milling around in green safety vests. When I approached a couple, they told me that they had started out from London about a week ago and they traveled through rain, cold, and beautiful sunny days to reach Paris in an effort to raise awareness throughout this beautiful country. Their spirits were so high, and their glee so evident that you couldn’t help but be optimistic about what is happening in the negotiations.
We are here, and we know what has to be done. No matter how badly the negotiators might disappoint us, we already know what we have to do. We don’t need anyone to remind us. Our future is in our own hands, and we just have to keep communicating the messages in our own way.
Ride a bike across France? Sure.
Ride a bike from the South Pole? Okay!
Run from the North Pole? Great!
Stand in solidarity with your neighbors demanding change in your own community? ABSOLUTELY.
We know the way. It has been paved for us. Now let’s roll.