With the American election causing anxiety and stress, not just in America but across the globe, it is time to put it out of your mind now the votes are counted. To ease some of your anxieties about the fate of the planet, we have some inspiring stories and good news to tide. From the cop21 agreements being officially put into action, to Australia’s former governor general Quentin Bryce heading up a high powered group of climate lobbyists, and the inspiring history of Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria, Benedict Ayade.
Coming into force on November 4th, the cop21 agreement marks the first time in the history of our species that governments have agreed to legally binding limits to greenhouse gas emissions. Agreeing to the commitments were 55 different countries, including the the US, the EU, India, China and of course Australia, together representing 55 percent of the total emissions of human society. Together these countries governments, and of course the people within these countries, carry the obligation and the proud responsibility of making sure that global warming doesn’t go beyond 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. With the limit of 1.5 degrees of warming significantly reducing the risks and impacts of climate change on human society and the life sustaining ecosystems that sustain us. This historic moment is a great opportunity to seize the momentum and start pushing towards a healthier planet. More plans are already in the works, just going to show that now is one of the most inspiring times to be engaged in action on climate change.
Australia’s former governor general Quentin Bryce is leading the charge in Australia to pressure the government into keeping to the agreements they’ve made. Bryce and a high-powered team of academics, business leaders, financiers and energy providers, is intervening into a political spiral of negativity towards renewables following the blackout in South Australia. Anti-renewable lobbyists and government ministers used the crisis to blame renewable and wind power despite all the evidence to the contrary. Bryce’s group is urging the government to extend and expand its renewable energy targets and begin implementing market mechanisms that will encourage divestment from fossil fuels.
Another visionary leader in Australia is Sydney City’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Moore was the first woman popularly elected as Mayor and has recently been returned for a fourth term. Prior to the election her exceptional negotiation skills saw her gain unanimous support for the City of Sydney’s new commitment to 100% divestment from fossil fuels. Moore was recently our opening speaker at the Illuminating the Environmental, which was a fund-raiser for Indigenous well-being and suicide prevention.
This group’s bright and hopeful vision of a carbon neutral 2050 for Australia is exciting. How inspiring to imagine an Australia run entirely on renewable systems, and know that this is a possible and achievable future.
One person who worked long and hard to help make cop21 happen is the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria, Benedict Ayade. Ayade is also an environmental scientist whose doctoral thesis on climate change won him a $6.5 million yen prize from the Japanese government. On top of this he’s designed a fully solar powered waste treatment system. He is leading Cross River Country through the struggle of being a third world country at the edge of the global capitalist system, in a place one of the most threatened by climate change. It is easy to forget the enormous number of people that goes into bringing something like the cop21 agreement into the world.
It is important to remember that inspiring things are always happening. Everyday new solar panels are installed across the planet, and everyday choices are made that make the future a healthier place. Despite the setbacks that continue to bubble out of our system, our species is slowly managing to divest from the unsustainable ways of the past, and everyday moving a little bit closer to a world that embraces us all.