The world is listening. We've rallied, we've marched, we've kicked, we've screamed - Yesterday, 195 nations made a step in the right direction in the Paris Agreement at COP21, but what does that mean? I've scrolled through countless articles sharing the hallmark of this moment, but, again, what does it really mean? It means that nations have agreed that it's time to do something. GREAT - to what extent? Investments towards a low carbon, resilient, and sustainable future are monumental, but how about the people who are already suffering in a warming world? We can't bargain with the environment. It can't be sold! I am privileged because I was there. Last week, I listened to negotiators draft the text of this agreement. Last week, I rallied for divestment with youth from all around the world. Last week, I felt like a big voice in a little world. This is the biggest, most interdisciplinary issue of our generation. What else do we all have in common? WE LIVE HERE.
So, where are we now? What can you do? If you are interested in reading the text of the agreement, please take a read here. The UN Climate Change Newsroom is also a great place to get the latest information about the negotiations. As a first semester senior who just turned in her thesis, I hope to rest and reflect over the holiday season on this wild semester and experience in Paris. I feel as if I have a duty to inform others, and I start this by sharing my experiences with my family when I arrive back in Los Angeles. Thankfully Paris was one of the most well covered COP's in history, people are really listening, but will it be enough? I encourage everyone to reach out this holiday season - have a drink with your family and make a toast to the world you want to live in. Open up the conversation to the kids, tell them about how fun it is to ride a bike to school and have your Aunt Sally join in. It won't just be healthy for the family, but healthy for the earth. Spending lots of free time at home? Start a composting bin in your house! Here is a great article as a foundation for your new sustainable project!
Every little bit counts, Paris was just the beginning. A step in the right direction. I found this quote by Rose-Walters Prize winner and a personal hero of mine the most compelling: "This agreement won't save the planet, not even close," Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, a climate advocacy group, told The Huffington Post in an email. "But it's possible that it saves the chance of saving the planet -- if movements push even harder from here on out." Read this article here.
As for me? Yes, I will be catching up on all of the sleep that I missed out on this semester, but you will probably find me joining these protestors in Porter Ranch, CA. I live a short 5 minutes from this neighborhood and it's the site of a leak that is spewing 100,000 pounds of methane every hour, according to estimates. Environmental costs and health costs are unimaginable. But, yet another step in the right direction will be to raise our voice to shut down this well.
Lastly, I am so thankful to everyone of my supporters for helping me fund the opportunity to travel from PA to Paris. It could not have been done without the love, support, and encouragement of you all. Happy Holidays and be well. XO.