Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she couldn't believe what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.
This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many "tipping points" that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white 'mirror' that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. Already this year -- storms, temperatures -- everything is off the charts.
We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.
We have 30 months until the Paris Summit, the meeting that world leaders have decided will determine the fate of our efforts to fight climate change. It might seem like a long time - it's not. We have 30 months to get the right leaders in power, get them to that meeting, give them a plan, and hold them accountable. And it's us vs. the oil companies, and fatalism. We can win, we must, but we need to blast out of the starting gate with pledges of just a few dollars/euros/pounds per week until the summit -- we'll only process the donations if we hit our goal. For the world we dream of, let's make it happen:
Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it's also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It's a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.
Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here's the plan:
- 1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders -- 5 crucial countries
have elections in the next 30 months. Let's make sure the right people
win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global
advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will
be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the
oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.
2. Make Hollande a Hero -- French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit - a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel -- his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors -- to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.
3. Take it to the Next Level -- The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It's time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.
4. Out the Spoilers -- Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change - funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.
5. Define the Deal -- Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don't exist.
At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese 'climate' elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we're 23 million, and growing by 1 million per month.
Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children that’s beauty matches our dreams. Let's get started.
With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,
Ricken and the entire Avaaz team
With Arctic sea ice vulnerable, summer melt season begins briskly (The Christian Science Monitor)
Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days (Guardian)
Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)
The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth (The Guardian)
Arctic sea ice melt disrupts weather patterns (NBC News)
The Arctic Ice “Death Spiral” (Slate)