The first full day in Paris was an action-packed one for our 10 Education Ambassadors, who kicked off the morning with an orientation full of get-to-know-you games, interview practice, and a briefing from Minnesota State Representative Melissa Hortman and Energy Transition Lab Director Ellen Anderson. In the afternoon, the group took to the streets of Paris to attend a UNESCO event featuring three Indigenous Peoples and introduced by Robert Redford. Many of our Education Ambassadors expressed their feelings of deep empathy and motivation to action that were inspired by the stories of a Marshall Islands poet activist, an Indonesian Indigenous Peoples leader and a Papua New Guinea chief. Read more about the event in their blogs below!
While officially the Paris climate talks were on pause on Sunday, Paris and Le Bourget remained a blur of activities, meetings, and protests to call attention to the urgency of reaching a strong agreement. A flotilla of canoes and kayaks manned by Indigenous Peoples from the Arctic to the Amazon took to the waters in Paris to call for an end to fossil fuel extraction and the respect of Indigenous rights in the COP21 agreement; hundreds of people led by women climate leaders formed an aerial art display calling for a 100% renewable future. Additionally, at a lunch of global business leaders – representing brands such as Unilever, Virgin Group and L’Oreal – the corporate executives pledged their support for a goal of zero net emissions by 2050.
As the negotiations enter the final week, questions of transparency and finance remain. The U.S. in particular is pushing for an aggressive and binding transparency mechanism that would require countries to monitor, verify and report their emissions reductions to an international body. However, negotiators and experts alike remain hopeful that a strong agreement will emerge, with French Foreign Minister and conference president Laurent Fabius pledging, “I intend to muster the experience of my entire life to the service of success for next Friday.”
In the News
During the week that our Education Ambassadors are in Paris, The Huffington Post has invited us to submit a few of their blogs to be posted on their special blog stream featuring perspectives on COP21. Check out Beckie Alexander and Nicole Anderson’s Huffington Post blogs!
Education Ambassador Blogs
Beckie Alexander: “Guardians”
Billy Koenig: “Satellites”
Nicole Anderson: Climate Change’s Most Vulnerable
Kathy Bosiak: Let Me Tell You a Story…
Kristy Otte: Survival is the Priority of Some at COP21
Lauren Leith: A Social Justice Focus at COP21
Peter Johnson: If It Were My Island
Phillip Haberman: Putting a Human Face on Climate Change
Roy Lander: The Vanishing
Shannon Bartholomew: What Do We All Have in Common?
Janet Brown: An Exceptional Group of People
Kristen Poppleton: Window into Paris Begins!
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