I won’t lie. I’m cautiously optimistic and rather excited about the Paris Climate Conference now starting. The twenty-first such conference, it seems to bring political and private investment to the table, strong public awareness, and the recognition that we are facing a global crisis. Collectively.
This comes at the same time that certain reports show that public support for “strong action” against climate change is waning slightly across the developed world. Reading that story, I thought that perhaps these poll numbers don’t quite measure the right thing. Perhaps they signify an acknowledgement that world leaders have finally taken scientists’ warnings to heart and are paying attention to their constituents. It’s in their hands now, even if this attitude suggests a degree of defeat at the personal level.
The truth is that, no matter how climate-conscious and eco-friendly we get at a local level, each of us are a tiny piece of the puzzle. We depend on entities (private and public) capable of marshaling resources thousands of orders of magnitude greater than us. For example, the 0.4% of total GDP spent by the U.S. on alternative energy, which nonetheless equals billions.
I am taking that number from this article which seems to herald a powerful and promising start to the Paris conference. So yes, I am hopeful. The people of this world–human people, animal people, plant people–need these baby steps to start walking down the path of balance and sustainability. And the whole thing does feel like a downhill stroll, doesn’t it? Once we begin to care for one part of our environment, we inevitably discover reasons to care for other connected parts.
They are all connected. We are all connected.