In December this year, global leaders will meet in Copenhagen to agree the way forward on one of the biggest challenges facing our generation – climate change.
While this meeting is a crucial step in the global fight against climate change, it is certainly not the only step which needs to be taken. In addition to the international agreement we entreat our political leaders to negotiate, we need to band together as a global community to take real and local action starting right now.
The International Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 found that unless we take action now we could potentially be facing:
• by 2020 – 60 per cent of our Great Barrier Reef will be bleached
• by 2050 – 50 per cent of agricultural lands in Latin America are likely to suffer desertification and salinisation
• by 2080 – between 25 – 40 per cent of mammal species in national parks and sub-Saharan Africa will become endangered
And unless we take action globally islands such as Tuvalu will be told within the myths and legends of future generations
The solution is in our hands and we need to act now.
Sixteen years ago Clean Up the World, formed a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme. Since then we have actively inspired and empowered people from all across the globe to take environmental action. It has since grown to engage an estimated 35 million individuals in over 120 countries, all heeding the call for urgent action.
Those 35 million people know every one of us has a duty to preserve and protect the environment in which we are just temporary occupants.
They understand that if we are to leave our children and grandchildren an intact ecological, social and economic system the one cannot be achieved without the other.
That 35 million want action, they know we need government action, but they also know they hold the power in their own hands – the power to influence change. It’s the power of grassroots, community-based action.
Come the weekend of the 18-20 September, Clean Up the World participants from all across the globe will simultaneously take that grassroots action as part of the Clean Up the World Weekend. Actions such as tree planting, local clean ups, education campaigns, and water conservation projects.
It never ceases to amaze me just how passionate people are about protecting our environment and the lengths people are willing to go to protect it for our future generations. It is communities and activities such as those highlighted on this map which will make the difference our environment needs.
If your community is undertaking an environmental activity I’d love to hear about it.
Ian Kiernan AO