At this point in time, there is very little doubt that humans will have to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is already affecting a vast range of human rights as well as the quality of life and the well-being of people around the world. We are already seeing its deadly effects in the form of severe storms, wildfires, rising seas and extreme weather worldwide. In March 2016, global levels of CO2 passed 400 parts per million, which sent a clear signal that the world must take immediate action. Climate change requires undivided attention due to the on-going irreversible changes happening in the Earth’s ecosystems, which will require both adaptation and alterations to individual and collective behaviours.
Unfortunately, over time ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ became politically loaded terms. Despite decades of warnings, reports and talks on the issue, we find ourselves amidst a serious social and political paralysis. The pervasive ‘doom and gloom’ narrative has caused many of us to tune out the moment we hear ‘climate change’. Despite its urgency, we still seem not sure how to talk about it in a meaningful way.
There are a few things that happen when ‘climate change’ gets mentioned or is a topic of discussion. There is a general disconnect or unease that occurs and it is very much due to the fact that often when we talk about climate change we talk about it in terms of: the worst possible scenario, how it’s too late to do anything unless we completely change our lifestyles, and how we have a low chance at surviving as species. Even though the latter statement is accurate and realistic, it entails one big mistake – it leaves us out of the equation and takes away our power as capable individuals who can and will drive the necessary change. The narrative implies that it is happening; we are the cause of it but fail to relate that just as we are the cause, we are also the solution.
In November 2016, ISC Paris and the World Solidarity Forum joined the international dialogue by launching a series of interactive talks on climate change, which aimed at understanding: what climate change is, how it impacts the everyday lives of people and the environment, what actions need to be taken on local, national and international levels in order to adequately address it and start building a new climate regime. During the last event, ISC Paris trained and certified participants on how to design their own climate action campaigns. For the talks, we were joined by environmental policy makers, representatives of the biggest environmental organizations seated in Brussels, environmental campaigners, UN SDGs expert, journalists, science professor and innovators.
Our goal was to create a progressive platform where everyone attending had the opportunity to become consciously involved and take active part towards advancing the dialogue and finding individual and collective solutions.