What COP21 means to me

DSC_0035With COP21 world leaders negotiating a do-or-die carbon emission reduction strategy, this is a globally significant week. Although I wasn’t part of the Global Climate March (I live about 150 kms from Cape Town, where South Africa’s mobilisation took place and felt the amount of carbon that would be emitted during trips there and back couldn’t justify my presence), I can feel the energy coalescing around this historic event.

This is an incredibly exciting time for me as it feels that at long last world leaders are sitting up and taking notice. And although we are committed to 2 degrees Celsius of warming regardless of any mitigating strategies COP21 comes up with, any and all mitigating measures are gratefully received. One of the reasons for this is that I have a 10-month old grandson and he and his generation will be directly affected by the impacts of climate change.

DSC_0514When I first started on my environmental path more than 20 years ago, climate change was a “Cinderella” issue and not something that the mainstream was concerned about. I well remember trying to convince reluctant businesspeople in corporate Change Management workshops I conducted in the 1990s that they needed to build climate change resilience into their business strategies.

Now, however, the world’s changing climate has warranted an unprecedented gathering of world leaders and the largest mobilisation of concerned global citizens in history. This is a remarkable step forward. As such, it should be applauded for being the victory it is. However, it should be remembered that this is an early battle and the war on climate change has only just begun. We have yet to see policy translate into real, belt-tightening change. Let’s hope that the world is finally prepared to take this step…