Climate change, whether you believe in it or not – is very real. The world in which we live today is vastly different from the world that our ancestors called home. Humans are the most lethal inhabitants of this planet, and we are murdering it.
In a global effort to deal with the issue, over 190 countries will gather in Paris for the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties ( UNFCCC COP21) from November 30 -December 11th. Using past climate negotiations as a measuring stick, the outlook may not be as bright as it should be. Recognising the need for consensus on an ambitious climate agreement, hopes are strongly tethered to the People’s Climate March which will occur as a lead-up event to COP21.
In September of 2014, 400,000 people assembled in the streets of New York City and there were. 2646 solidarity events in 162 countries. It was the largest climate march in history. This year, citizens of the world will stand together again to demonstrate their support for climate change action to demonstrate their support for climate action. History demonstrations the power that lies in protest and great social change has occurred largely as a result of global social protests which have inspired positive action, pressure leaders to adjust, and contribute to shifts in the balance of power. From Mao Zedong in China, to Martin Luther King in the United States, and Tubal Uriah Butler in Trinidad and Tobago, there is evidence to prove the link between policy and peaceful protest. Therefore, it is with great expectation that I am looking forward to the People’s Climate March. It has the power to turn neutral bystanders and passive allies into active allies and the more allies the climate change movement has, the greater the chances are for the survival of the world in which we live.
This year, on Sunday November 29th 2015, when world leaders begin to arrive in Paris, the IAMovement team will be leading the march in Port-of-Spain (POS), Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city – POS to Paris. A country of just 1.3m people, this island state is already biting off more than it can chew from the global carbon emissions cookie. We must stand with in solidarity and call for our leaders to take real action to confront climate change. According to Jonathan Barcant, one of the directors of this non-profit organisation which aims to effect positive change through education, community building, and environmental awareness, “In T&T we have built our economy on fossil fuels and so have felt that it isn’t our place to talk about climate change. However the opposite is in fact true. With the resources we have been blessed with we should be looking at how we can re-invest into a renewable energy landscape which will give us the energy security we will need in the future, so that when our fossil fuel resources are depleted our children and grandchildren have an energy secure, clean-and-green nation, with a diversified economy that can sustain itself beyond the Era of the Oil.”
POS to Paris is expected to be a momentous event for the local environmental movement as it will see the coming together of voices on a scale not seen before in Trinidad & Tobago. It is hoped that this will create the much needed shift in national care and attention we need. Do you
intend to stand back and watch as the environment crumbles and people suffer; environmental justice must be achieved at all levels. Remember that small actions multiplied by many people equals big change. You can be a part of this change.
POS to Paris begins at 3pm on Sunday 29th November, marchers will gather at the Nelson Mandela Park in POS. This year, there will also be an Eco-Village from 1pm – 3pm where environmentally conscious groups, organisations, and schools from around Trinidad & Tobago who have been doing excellent work to conserve, protect, rehabilitate, and raise awareness about our nation’s wildlife, ecosystems and natural environment will be showcased.
Through cyber activism you too can become a part of the People’s Climate Mobilisation. Some popular hashtags to follow to draw attention to the cause are #ClimateMarch #Call4Climate #POStoParis #EarthToParis. Get your friends involved in this critical issue, educate yourself.
Let us fashion a different world where the economy can be stirred by environmentalism; one which does not depend on the degradation of the environment for the so-called advancement of human beings. Onwards, we march.
Written by – Dizzanne Billy
Dizzanne Billy is President of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) in Trinidad and Tobago, where she works in the areas of education and public awareness with regard to environment and development issues. She is a climate tracker with Adopt-A-Negotiator and an advocate for climate change action.