We are holding our breath in anticipation because the next 10 days of COP 26, which promise great suspense, may or may not give rise to a real roadmap. The history of these meetings, often biased moreover, has so far revealed only a succession of empty promises, fine words and pious wishes to make the Earth a habitable place for all.
Yet in the wake of Covid 19, we have seen a fractured world, so quickly healed and united again. Does this suggest dynamism in the face of (extreme) danger? Well no. Not when you analyze the aggregate numbers: only 2% of people in low-income countries received their first dose of the vaccine and many are now lagging behind because of it.
When it comes to the environment, of course we all hope for something different. Only this time there will be no rapid antibodies. The long path that we are going to choose today will decide whether there is life on earth for future generations. Yep, if you thought there was a place for you on Jeff Spacos, you're dreaming!
At the time of writing this article in Kenya, the country is going through a national drought; 2 seasons with dramatically falling rainfall, locust invasions and poor harvests, have put more than 2 million people in danger of starvation. Climate change has already happened. It is pure pride to believe that we can now play God. Yes, we should be able to slow it down (mitigate it), I totally agree with decarbonisation and supporting net zero emissions initiatives. But, it is how we distribute the rules of the game that will define our time, and its "elected" leaders.
As a citizen of the world, it is time to put nationalism aside and work on global solutions. We need climate resilience. People have been dying of climate change for decades, the lion's share of which is here in the Global South. Another classic neocolonial outcome where centuries of mercantilism and profit have only punished developing countries. Although I like to think it was not premeditated, we can no longer play the ignorant. It would be committing climate genocide.
In the run-up to COP 26, moving open letters have called on world leaders to stand up for appropriate climate action, but nothing seems more relevant than equal opportunity. This is the opportunity for all humans, regardless of geography or class, to live a life of dignity and prosperity.
So when our leaders gather on the Temperate and Safe Water Island, I hope they understood that the time for public relations stunts is over. A world problem calls for a gathering of a world population. Only then will we solve it. The goals that we (re) imagine must be based on the current unbalanced status quo.
And I believe it is possible. In my capacity, I will do everything to support smart companies in their fight against climate change and who engage in an authentic way with marginalized communities. Unfortunately, channeling resources from the North to the South is not enough. Foreign aid, nonprofits, and local governments have almost without exception all failed here. We must educate and incubate a new generation of climate stewards capable of achieving our planetary goals. Without forgetting that they must be old enough to be able to follow the unfolding of events until 2050 and beyond.
So when you take your next deep breath, don't think about all of the beautiful costumes gathered in Glasgow. Let us remember the incredible ways of the more than 500 million small farmers finding themselves at a famine meal or of indigenous peoples stripped of their ancestral lands and rights. It is only when we use this incredible force that we can then truly survive in a changing climate.
I hope governments can also recognize the power and importance of those who have little or nothing. That is to say the majority of this world.