Nalat Phanit-Black is a 2014 UNA-USA Social Good Summit Blogger Fellow. View this post on her blog here.
It was a hot and humid Sunday morning in New York City. The yellow taxicabs were racing around the bustling streets of Manhattan looking for their next fare while avoiding some serious roadblocks and detours. This was a very eventful Sunday especially for activists and advocates.
September 21, 2014 may just go down in history as the day humanity stood in solidarity for climate change action. More than 300,000 people gathered on the west side of the island chanting messages and holding home-made signs on why leaders and individuals should care about climate change. The People’s Climate March coincides with the upcoming Climate Summit on September 23rd at the United Nations, where global leaders will convene and talk about solutions to climate change issues such as extreme weather events, climate refugees, and carbon emissions. The march was a global event where other cities were having their own roadblocks as citizens took to the streets demanding climate action from world’s leaders. A few blocks uptown, at 92Y, a different form of global activism was taking place. Around 2000 bloggers, writers, entrepreneurs, human rights advocates, activists, and a plethora of social do-gooders attended the 2014 Social Good Summit hosted by Mashable, 92Y, and the UN Foundation. During the six-hour conference with webcasts from other Social Good Summits around the world, we heard inspirational stories from men and women who followed their hearts in creating resilient communities through the use of technology.
“If you take the hard numbers, then science is clearly telling us that we’re running out of time.” – Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Humanity is on its way on locking itself onto the pathway of going beyond a +2°C (+35.6°F) in average global temperatures. This should be a concern for everyone because such a shift in climate means unpredictable weather events and the cascading effects include water and sanitation issues, public health issues, food production issues. With the environment taking the brunt of climate change effects as well as from human activities, natural resources will become even more limited than they are now which will undercut the ability to pursue human development. “The world may run out of environment before we run out of fossil fuel,” commented Jonathan Wolfson.
“There is no silver bullet to Climate Change issues, but if we work together there might be some silver buckshot.” – Jonathan Wolfson, CEO of Solazyme, using microalgae as renewable oil.
All around the world, communities of various sizes are finding ways to build resilience in their infrastructure, natural resource consumption, and emergency preparedness. In the past two years, the amount of action that cities are taking to mitigate and adapt more than doubled. Through the use of webcasts and social media, communities, even poor communities, have access to an abundance of knowledge, information, innovations which they can apply to their locale. However, poor communities are most vulnerable to climate change because they lack access to tools and mechanisms that global players at the United Nations have. There is a need to transfer high-level talks, wisdom, finance, and resources to the local level in order for there to be more resilient communities.
As daunting as the topic of climate change is, especially when figuring out solutions, there is hope. There are entrepreneurs, philanthropists, scientists, musicians, artists, inventors, mothers, children who want to take climate action. They want to live in a world where there would still be clean water to drink, forests to capture carbon, and energy based on renewable sources. And they do not want to just spectate as decisions are made for them by politicians and corporations. They want to be a participant of solutions.
Take a stance and make your voices heard:
We Are Here Movement
“We Are Here is a movement inspired by Alicia Keys to raise awareness of issues around the world that cannot be solved in isolation. We are joining together to give birth to a movement based on the idea of social ecology – that we’re all related and need to work in harmony to create a kinder and better world for all.”
“We need your vow to keep up the fight against extreme poverty! ONE and award-winning director Richard Curtis (Comic Relief founder, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) are creating a video to show world leaders this week at the United Nations General Assembly Meetings. Let’s tell these leaders that we want to live in a world where all people can live in dignity — without extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable disease — by 2030.”