CCL at COP21, Day 8: Regarding climate action, we are in this together

CCL at COP21, Day 8: Regarding climate action, we are in this together

By Rod Mitchell

I came to Paris 10 days ago with another delegation – Sustaining All Life – a peer-counseling group that is working to address a major cause of climate change, the vulnerability of the human mind to emotional damage. Scarcity and fears for our survival through most of our existence as a species has taken its toll and left us vulnerable to irrational behavior toward each other and the environment we depend on. Healing this hurt is key to recovering our ability to live with each other and care for our environment.

The launch of Climate Generations at COP21 in Paris.

The launch of Climate Generations at COP21 in Paris.

Over 50 of us from all round the world listened to people at the Climate Generations area of the COP. We ran workshops about addressing many societal oppressions that damage our minds, separate us from each other and in turn cause us to damage our environment. Workshop topics included young people, racism, activists, developing nations and oppressed communities, the poor and the working class.

We also had forums where people from these constituencies could speak about their experiences of climate change. A broad movement of people is essential to tackling climate change and the groups most affected must be included. We made a big impact.

On Saturday, I made the switch to CCL and Pathway to Paris and saw the big connection between what I had been doing and the citizen engagement work that CCL is fostering and has now formalized in the Citizens‘ Climate Engagement Network. This is a vital part of building the broad movement of diverse peoples needed to address climate change.

CCL's Joe Robertson prepares his presentation for the High-Level Dialogue on Accelerating Climate Action.

CCL’s Joe Robertson prepares his presentation for the High-Level Dialogue on Accelerating Climate Action.

Today, with the rest of the Pathways team, I observed a High-level Dialogue on Accelerating Climate Action. Joe moderated a powerful and respectful discussion between people from a diverse range of organizations and key players who are here for the COP. Carbon pricing was only one of many important issues and possible solutions discussed, as it should be.

There was broad recognition that we are in this together and even fossil fuel companies will clearly benefit from broad, collaborative action to address the problem that confronts us all. At the end of the discussion, one person mentioned the concept of Ubuntu, which she said came from a story of children, who when given the challenge of racing each other for a basket of candy, chose instead to join hands and together share the prize. However, in the case of climate change, if we don’t work together, there will be no basket of candy at all.

Rod Mitchell is National Coordinator of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia.

Steve Valk
Steve Valk is Communications Director for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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