2020 – The Year the Climate Crisis Heats Up

M and I attended a brilliant session with (ex Irish President) Mary Robinson a couple of weeks ago; and we were very inspired by her advice to start climate action at home. She urged us all to work bottom up because the politicians and big business will only move when they see the demand is really there.

But for ages we have all been saying, “what can we ourselves do as a sensible response to the climate crisis?” And for many of us it’s very hard; we are highly dependent upon government policy actions to give us grants for house renovation or electric cars or charging points. And also, highly dependent upon big businesses that control the cars we drive, the fuel that’s available for transport, home heating and electricity to name just a few. So, when we watch the disaster that was COP 25 and learn that the fossil fuel industry plus the USA, Russia and Brazilian governments effectively killed any agreement, who can blame us for being cynical and despondent.

So I was very interested to come across Ted Countdown. An initiative by Future Stewards (a coalition of partners working together) to build a regenerative future – where we meet the needs of all, within the means of the planet and Ted. Countdown is a collaboration in which literally everyone to play a part in counting the world’s emissions down to zero. The intent is not to be something brand new, but to amplify and cross-fertilize the extraordinary work that has already been done by so many. Powerful solutions have already been proposed by more than 50 authorities on climate issues. The website countdown.ted.com provides information and opportunities for people around the globe to join the effort.

A team led by Future Stewards and TED will select the best proposals and turn them into talks. Partner organizations, including YouTube, C40, Global Covenant of Mayors, Climate Reality Project, Climate Leadership Initiative, Global Citizen, and Project Drawdown. Individuals are also lending their voices, among them climate scientists Johan Rockström with the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden; Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC and Endowed Chair Professor at Korea University Graduate School of Energy and Environment; and Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. Others include Pierce Brosnan, Don Cheadle, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ava DuVernay, Davis Guggenheim, Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Norman and Lyn Lear, Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, and Meg Ryan.

Among the leaders who convened to announce Countdown were: Chris Anderson, Head of TED; Christiana Figueres, previously Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during the Paris negotiations; António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Tshering Tobgay, former Prime Minister of Bhutan; Al Gore, former Vice President and environmental activist; Jessica Walsh of &Walsh, who created the campaign visuals; actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo; Ted Halstead, Chairman and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council; and Yuval Noah Harari, historian, philosopher and author of Sapiens.

These will be delivered at a Countdown summit in Bergen, in front of a hand-picked audience capable of turning those ideas into action. The proposals and their accompanying commitments for action will be shared with the world on 10/10/20 with an opportunity for global companies, cities and individuals to participate. For the cities portion, C40 and the Global Covenant of Mayors have joined as official partners, and for the first time local TEDx organizers – operating 4,000 events annually – will activate to bring Countdown to their communities. Beyond cities and TEDx, companies around the world are invited to join this initiative and engage with employees on how to best play a part.

Take a look at the Ted Video. Note the whole thing is worth an hour of your time, but the Q & A at the end is very powerful. I came away thinking this just might work.

About davidsprott

Artist, writer, veteran IT professional
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