Connections in Chaos- COY 12

2A85C7F2-BC5F-4626-A94A-1EE185F4692FAs we zoomed through the tide of scooters, cars, bicycles, and buses in our taxi I was overtaken with a sense of tranquility, today was the day.  We were about to arrive at my first Conference of the Youth (COY) 12, which this year twas located in Marrakech, Morocco.  It was a strange way to enter this space, there had been a heated email listserv debate leading up to this about how the COYs were organized regarding inclusion and feelings that the youth movement had been co-opted by outside influences.  

Walking into registration it was visible the effect having these last minute venue changes and discussion had had on the organizational structure of COY.  We got our badges and lunch tickets and were off.  After finally finding our room we began our presentation for Care About Climate on climate communications.  A spirited discussion emerged about how we engage non-environmentalists, and how to better shape our messaging to bring in new parties instead of just talking to people who already believe there is a problem.  This was it, this was what I had come for.  To exchange ideas with a global community and grow as an individual hoping to make progress towards climate issues.

These feelings were dampened as I received my lunch.  A meat sandwich, prepackaged muffins, and Coke – all packaged in a massive brand new cardboard box!  Is this all a show?  Is climate change action something reserved for talks but not for implementation?  I was lost, unsure where I fit in.  Last minute room changes and a mismatched schedule led to nothing else productive the first day, it was time to start fresh tomorrow.  

IMG_0556The second day was much like the first, again I was beginning to feel detached and unsure of the reason we were all here.  That’s when Youness sat down next to me at lunch, looking equally disappointed at the massive box our meal has come in.  We started talking about how we felt about the organization of COY, but this quickly gave way to a much greater discussion of ideas.  Culture, identity, food, love, gender, religion we navigated these traditionally heated issues deftly as the conversation progressed forward.  I learned about how the market culture was going away in Morocco, being replaced with a more European model of supermarkets.  That he felt the identity of many Moroccans were at constant war internally as they attempted to reconcile Moroccan, Arab, and European values into their daily lives.  Youness believes the climate change conversation in Morocco is not so much about bringing sustainable practices to Morocco as it is encouraging people to return to the ways they have always held up until the past few years as the country moves more towards a European model of consumption.  This stuck me, as so often in the west we talk of BRINGING sustainability somewhere, when often times it is only the introduction of consumerism and other western creations that created the problems in the first place.

E4D5C3B3-6615-4BA6-B22B-B2828658D184Throughout the rest of the COY I had several more genuine human connections with youths from around the world. My understanding of them and myself grew deeper each time.  Ultimately it wasn’t the meetings, workshops, or panels at COY that pushed my development or thinking further, it was the people.  And that’s the message to take away from the whole conference.  We can’t rely on conferences or organizations to connect us and help us grow, it’s up to us to step out of our comfort zone and genuinely interface with another human being from a different walk of life- as often as possible.  That is what will push us forward and that is exactly what we hope to do with the Climate Sign, to foster connections between all people in the climate movement and make these types of connections more common in our everyday lives.  

Nick Jones

Chair, Care About Climate

Delegate, Care About Climate UNFCCC COP22

Why #Marrakesh (@COP22) Is More Important Than #Paris (@COP21)

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COP 22 will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016. COP 20 in Lima was tagged the COP of negotiations of a universal climate change agreement, COP 21 in Paris last year was a COP of Agreement while COP 22 in Morocco is tagged the COP of Implementation.

Taking critical decisions to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement is the major endeavor at COP 22 in Morocco. Last year, African Development Bank support contributed significantly to ensuring that Africa’s concerns were addressed in the Paris Agreement. The Bank has also committed to triple its climate change finance to about USD 5 billion per year and to provide USD 12 billion on renewable energy investments by 2020. In consistence with the New Deal on Energy for Africa that provides a good entry point for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and given that COP 22 is a key milestone for the implementation of that Agreement, it is important that Africa is fully on board, while ensuring linkages with the Bank’s High Fives.

“To make the Paris Agreement a real-world success story we need more than a historic political agreement, we need practical climate action to “decouple GDP from GHG” – or economic growth from greenhouse gases – as UN climate chief Christiana Figurers put it during a lecture at Climate-KIC partner the Grantham Institute.”

Fours ways Marrakesh is going to help achieve that:

 

  • Going from National to Global Action Plans is very important: In the run up to Paris, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Now, they are preparing their first climate action plans (NDCs) – dropping the ‘Intended’ from the title – which will be updated every five years and should represent an increase in ambition. This is the often cited ‘ratcheting’ mechanism built into the Paris Agreement. In Marrakesh, countries will hope to agree on how the stock-taking exercise should work every five years, and how they can make sure it will indeed ratchet up the level of ambition around the world. The action plans outline the post-2020 climate actions of each country and contain details such as emission-reduction targets and how governments plan to make those happen. A range of policies, including those addressing the aviation and maritime sectors (which are missing from the Paris Agreement), need to be drawn up and implemented to create what is often called the “enabling environment” for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Making Measuring Progress Transparent will keep the commitment: Perhaps even more important, are the ways we monitor and verify the amounts of carbon emission reductions reported by countries. There is currently no common methodology to monitor the national commitments, which hinders the transparency of the Paris Agreement’s implementation. Information matters. If countries understand their emission profile they can target the most problematic areas first. Then, comparability of national action plans open the door to understanding about which policies work best and why, which will lead to the exchange of best practices – resulting in more efficient action globally. The EU is a strong proponent of such a common approach. This year we expect significant progress on working out the details of a harmonized verification process. Marrakesh will be a key milestone to ensure we understand our progress towards the common goal of curbing climate change.
  • Involving The Business Sector is very important: The development of low-carbon technologies, and making better use of existing ones by making them accessible to all, is crucial in the fight against climate change. In Paris, we’ve seen the world’s billionaires making a stand and the Paris Agreement itself have recognized this too: now is the time to invest. Strengthening technology cooperation between countries will promote economic growth and sustainable development. There have been international efforts in this direction already, such as the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTC-N), but it desperately needs scaling up. Innovative, green technology in all sectors of industry should also make their way to the national economies of developing countries – generating higher rates of productivity, and growth throughout the whole value chain. The world needs to step up efficient match-making between the technology needs of countries and the solutions available around the world. What’s absolutely crucial is that we involve the business sector in this, which ultimately produces the goods and technologies we use. Marrakesh should bring clarity to how this process of global technology transfer will be organized from now on.
  • Empowering Developing Countries to take Action: Last, but not least it is fundamental that all countries can develop efficient climate change policies, and have the means to implement them. You’ll hear the term “capacity building” a lot in this context. There are huge differences between developing, emerging and developed countries. Capacity building aims to ensure that governments and civil servants in all countries have the skills and knowledge to implement the Paris Agreement through national policies. The Paris Agreement makes provisions to support this, with the details to be worked out this year. The EU has made this action a priority in its post-COP21 assessment and a number of other initiatives deliver important programmes to support this worldwide. Already, the UN’s CTC-N has been supporting developing countries with the development of specific climate policy programmes, but there is a consensus that this needs to be scaled up massively. But the public sector by itself, no matter how smart their policies are, will not be enough to make the transition to the zero-carbon economy. Entrepreneurial education, support for an emerging start-up culture and the encouragement of cross-sector action will empower people who want to take action and make a difference. This is something that international innovation networks and partnerships like Climate-KIC already do on a daily basis. In Marrakesh, a lot of time will be spent on trying to broaden the definition of capacity building to make sure everyone can act on climate change, no matter where they are.

In conclusion, “We need a wide range of breakthrough innovations to transform how we live, what we consume, and how we do business while creating new economic growth and jobs. We need to change the system, and we need to do it everywhere on the planet.”

Thank You.

Olumide Idowu is the Co-Founder, Climate Wednesday. He can be contacted on Twitter via @OlumideIDOWU

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Hello from Cassidy the Intern

Hello! I’m Cassidy and I’m an intern here at Care About Climate. I’m currently in my second year at Saint Louis University, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. To me, the passion I have for our Earth is inseparable from my future career. It is inseparable from my being.

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I’ve spent the majority of my life in Miami, Florida, where my parents passively instituted a love of nature in me early on. For vacations, we always went to National Parks and hiked as a family. At home, the ocean acted as another part of our family. My father had always wanted to be a marine biologist, and my little brother is currently pursuing that path. We went boating and fishing whenever we could, always with a deep respect for our ability to do so. I only realized how influential this was when I got to college and was able to truly discern how important the environment is to me. I was a huge activist in high school, but I spread my vigor across various subject areas; college was the first time I recognized how all-encompassing my love for the environment is. Now, I plan to make it apart of what I do, whether I end up in politics or conservation, which are my goals. I set my ideals to our National Parks or the United Nations if I could achieve everything I’d ever want.
Care About Climate has allowed me to expand upon two of my largest interests: climate change, policy, and—most importantly—the interactions between the two. In addition to consumer awareness, I believe policy is the path to sustainability and addressing climate change. Education is a long-term strategy that I believe will pay off, but the movement needs enforcement and needs it soon. Multi-national corporations, consumerism, and disconnect from the origins of our lifestyles serve as the biggest catalysts to climate change. While the latter two are societal perspectives that require a shift in thinking, the contributions major companies have to environmental degradation can be controlled with better policy. This is true for grassroots issues and efforts as well as overarching international problems. Across the country, local and international unity on environmental causes have prompted action from a globalized system that won’t have mercy without our push for it. Care About Climate expands on this ideology. Working for Care About Climate allows me to promote a message that works to harness the power of the people to demand change.
Both Care About Climate and I believe in the inherit bond we all have as humans inhabiting and living off of the Earth; it’s fundamental to the health of us all to come together in our battle for a more sustainable world. We need to carry out our hopes with confidence and consensus. My time here aims to further this idea.

 

Meet the COP 22 Delegation

In 1992 Rio hosted an Earth Summit, and at this summit they created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC. Since then, countries meet each year to advance international climate policy at the Conference of the Parties (COP). Last year, at COP 21, countries created the Paris Agreement, which is the first significant climate agreement since the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement is different though. This is the first time major countries like the United States and China have committed to reducing their greenhouse gases in a tangible way. At COP 22 countries will come together to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and Care About Climate will be there to promote ambitious greenhouse gas reduction, support loss and damage, and advocate for climate finance for developing countries. We will also be working with other groups to promote the Climate Sign. Meet our delegates, and you can follow our travels on this blog.

Natalie Lucas

Natalie is the founder and CEO of Care About Climate. She is a recent graduate from the Universi14691325_10210594939013703_45322702835571936_oty of Arizona with a Masters in Development Practice. Natalie has attended and led youth delegations to four UN Climate Negotiations, or COPs, and has been advocating for climate action internationally and domestically throughout her professional career. Throughout her adventures she has worked on significant sustainability projects at the University of Arizona such as community gardens and waste diversion programs, has done research in Indonesia and Namibia related to conservation and forestry, and has worked collaboratively with youth around the world to help support climate action projects with Care About Climate. She believes that with collaboration we can achieve anything, and Natalie works to build bridges to make this happen.

She is excited to go to COP to connect with more groups to make climate action a priority for the world.

Leah Edwards

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Leah Edwards is a young professional currently working at an investment management firm in San Francisco. She was one of the founding board members of Care About Climate, and is passionate about increasing awareness of climate change and encouraging sustainable20150721Leah-Edwards-lwvsf001-edit practices. She also serves on the Board of the League of Women Voters San Francisco, and helps develop the curriculum for a Financial Literacy program at San Quentin State Prison. In college, Leah was involved in many sustainability initiatives as a chairperson for Students for Sustainability and through her internship with the NASA Space Grant Consortium. In her spare time, Leah enjoys traveling, and has worked as an intern at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and volunteered at the Maya Mountain Research Farm in rural Belize.

I am excited to attend COP because I believe that individuals acting together can change the world, and that COP is an incredible opportunity for people across borders to come together and take action on climate change.

Nick Jones

Howdy. My name is Nick Jones and I hail from Flagstaff, Arizona. I have degrees in hydrology and history from the University of Arizona. I have worked in both public and private sectors, most notably for Uber and the Arizona State Senate. My long term goal is to work in Washington to bring environmental policies to fruition that also spur our economic growth by putting people back toIMG_8952 work in the green sector. One of the most dangerous premises today is separating the human world from the natural world. The typical human being’s day-to-day interaction with the environment is not in a meadow or forest; it’s walking down a side-walk or in a transit vehicle, hustling through the activities of daily life.

As a co-founder of Care about Climate I have the pleasure and honor of serving as Chair of the board.  I ensure information and opinions are making their way up from the officers, and that proposed programs are tempered by the combined experience and knowledge of the board. That way our organization can put forth the best and most efficient programs, optimizing our resources. Seeing Care about Climate reach this milestone of participating in COP and being able to send a delegation are the greatest reward I could imagine for my time with this nonprofit. It has given me a platform to advocate for our positions, and, more importantly, to be able to learn from my global peers.

Climate change is an excellent example of what happens when global issues arise that force us to stop acting individually and bring us together to learn and to act as one. COP represents an opportunity to do this, and I look forward to participating.

Sarah Voska

DSC_0739My name is Sarah Voska, I’m 21 years old and from the Chicago suburbs. I’m currently living in Londrina, Brazil volunteering with the youth group of a local church. I am a Junior Sustainable Management major at University of Wisconsin, completing my bachelor’s degree completely online. The program’s nature has allowed me the opportunity to travel and gain a different perspective on environmental policy and social issues in Latin America. My career goals include working with municipal government in South America to work towards sustainable development.  I am fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. I hope to brush up on some French preceding my time in Morocco (unless I manage to learn Arabic!!) I think that food is the most basic way that we interact with our environment, and enjoy cooking, and reading books about food & the environment. In my free time I like to learn languages and practice martial arts.

My role with Care About Climate is coordinating the Online Youth Exchange/ Climate Ambassador’s Program. OYE is a cross between a “penpal” and a professional development network for youth environmental activists (ages 16-30) that pairs students from around the world to discuss environmental issues and receive trainings on community activism and specific environmental topics like climate change, pollution, and alternative energies. This year, we have 70 participants from 30 countries around the world. The goal is to create a platform for student activists to connect and develop strategies to promote change on a campus and global level.  During COP, we hope to reach out to youth organizations from around the world to expand the program, and eventually use the program as a way to connect the policy proposals of our participants to working papers and progress in the COY space.

I’m excited for COP because I believe that the world’s citizens have much more in common than that which separates us. As a collective group, through citizen diplomacy, we can make an impact on how the world will look for future generations.

Nick McCreary

Nick PhotoNick McCreary grew up in Tampa and Dallas. Nick received a B.S. in Geology from DePauw University. Currently, he is a graduate student at Saint Louis University working towards an M.S. in Sustainability. At SLU Nick is a Sustainability Coordinator – Graduate Assistant and runs various programs and initiatives including an energy competition and a sustainability focused student group. At DePauw Nick started an athletics recycling program, focusing on tailgate waste diversion. Nick has worked with St. Louis EarthDay as a recycling ambassador and The Missouri Botanical Garden as a sustainability education intern. Nick is passionate about sustainability in higher education, sustainability in collegiate and professional sports, and local food system sustainability. In his spare time, he enjoys being active, cooking, and watching the Texas Rangers.

We will post updates during the conference, and you can keep up with our delegates here.

Get Involved- Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

This fall Care About Climate is launching a #Vote4Climate campaign, and we will be building out our Climate Ambassador Program. We are looking to talented volunteers and interns to help lead these initiatives.

vote_for_climateVote for Climate– This is an initiative to register voters that care about climate. If voters are already registered they can unite with other voters to stand for climate action with the #ClimateSign. For more information on the Climate Sign visit ClimateSign.org.

Volunteer Application

Operations Intern

Media Intern

Applications due August 1st

Climate Ambassadors- The Climate Ambassadors program engages local groups and individuals at the grassroots level to unite communities for climate action, and to support projects that mitigate greenhouse gases or help communities adapt to climate change.

Climate Ambassador Intern Application

Applications due August 20th

If you have any questions please contact Natalie Lucas at nrlucas@careaboutclimate.org.

This Earth Day, the World Will be “Signing” On for Climate Action

This Earth Day, world leaders will gather in New York to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement that was negotiated last December in France. However, world leaders will not be the only ones signing on. People from around the world will raise the Climate Sign to unite for climate action, and show that they are holding their world leaders accountable.

ClimateSignonTowerDuring the two weeks leading up to Earth Day, April 22nd, a group of organizations including Care About Climate, Citizens Climate Lobby, Climate Central, and others, will be asking people around the world to metaphorically “sign” the Paris Agreement by raising Climate Sign.

“By uniting together as individuals, we are committing ourselves to finding climate solutions, but we are also showing our neighbors, friends, family, community, and world leaders that we want climate action now, and we need to work together to make the change we need to see,” states Natalie Lucas, the Executive Director of Care About Climate.

Individuals and organizations can go to SignTheAgreement.org to post a photo raising the climate sign, or post directly to their social media with the #climatesign. These photos will collectively show the diversity of support for climate action.

“With tens of thousands of submissions from individuals around the world, we can demonstrate that there is international momenParisAgreement_#1tum for climate action, and that climate change is a challenge that takes collaboration and expertise from all sectors of our global community,” reports Hadley Greswold, the founder of ClimateSign.org. She continues, “As the effects of climate change are felt around the world, we want leaders in New York to feel the necessity and pressure for action.”

To participate, individuals and groups can submit their Climate Sign photos at SignTheAgreement.org, or use the #climatesign to tag their photo.

 

Expanding the Tools for the Movement

Care About Climate was created to unite people around climate action with a climate symbol, similar to the peace sign for the nuclear disarmament movement in the seventies, and it has been working. People around the world have been using the climate symbol to show they want climate action now!

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During the UN Climate Conference in Paris, France we met another group, ClimateSign.org, that was working on a similar initiative, except they had a hand sign. It became clear to us that we could work together to give tools to the movement that would enable individuals around the world to unite for climate action.

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As of March 2016 ClimateSign.org has officially joined forces with Care About Climate to help connect communities around climate action with the climate symbol and hand sign. Information about these tools as well as a photo gallery will be hosted on www.climatesign.org, and on www.careaboutclimate.org you will be able to find information about the specific projects and initiatives we are working on as an organization.

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Similarly, photos and media about the Climate Sign tools (image and hand sign) can be found on the ClimateSign.org Facebook Page, on Twitter @ClimateSign, and on Instagram. Organizational information, initiatives, and photos will also be shared on Care About Climate’s Facebook Page, on Twitter @CareAboutClimate, and on Instagram. The majority of changes will occur behind-the-scenes, though you may notice some additions to our online presence and changes in our image in the coming weeks.

Our mission and goals will remain focused on empowering communities to take action to mitigate greenhouse gases and adapt in the face of climate change. Lucky for us, we now have a bigger, more diverse team to find success in these goals.
That is about it! Watch out for changes listed above on both CareAboutClimate.org and ClimateSign.org as we roll out a unified visual message. If you are interested in joining our team and have not already, sign up to receive updates and merchandise to spread #climatesign around the world. If you want to bring Care About Climate materials and efforts to your community, sign up to receive information about being a Climate Ambassador. Together we can inspire communities and countries to Act On Climate. Raise the #climatesign and become a part of the team!

Vote For Climate :: A Care About Climate Project

This November, new policies and politicians will be decided in all levels of government throughout the United States. We need to make climate change action a priority, and show we care about climate.

Unite with others for climate action with the Climate Sign, and #Vote4Climate. Get your free climate sign sticker HERE!.

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We are asking volunteers to help us register voters, and to pass out Climate Sign stickers to climate voters for we can unite for climate action! To volunteer to help with this campaign please visit Internship and Volunteer Opportunities.

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We Have A Climate Agreement…. Now What?

On December 12, 2015 nations came together to sign the Paris Agreement. This is a new climate agreement that was designed to get nations to reduce their greenhouse gases and prevent further global warming. This agreement is revolutionary because all countries within the United Nations have to participate, and it outlines a process to attempt to keep global warming on average well below 1.5 degrees celsius.

So, what is this process? Essentially, nations agreed that they would submit pledges every five years to reduce emissions, and it is up to individual countries to fulfill those commitments through domestic policy with the help of international finance and aid, if needed. This allows individual nations to make policy decisions that make sense for them, while trying to collectively prevent a big problem. The catch is that they either need to keep their current pledges, or they need to up the ante and pledge more each time they submit their commitments.

Although this is a great first step, it is not going to get us to where we need to be without domestic action, organizing, and voting. The agreement is only as good as the pledges and policies that the countries make individually, and the pledges that the countries made in 2015 will still lead to a 3 degree celsius world.

We need to do more, much more, and it will be up to us to make that happen. We need to work locally to develop projects that mitigate greenhouse gas production, we need to elect politicians that care about climate change, and we need to advocate and vote for policies that help support a just transition to a clean energy economy. It will take all of us together to get this done.

This year is a particularly important year because we have the opportunity to take this agreement and demand action now. In the United States there will be an election that will determine the amount of resources, time, and effort that is given to address climate change by the US government. It will be critical to elect a president that cares about climate change, and will uphold what we promised to do in the Paris Agreement. It is up to you to get involved, vote for climate, and encourage others to do the same.

To start, you can show that you care about climate and that you want others to care about climate with the climate symbol. Help get the conversation about climate change started in your neighborhood, on your campus, and in your community. We need to show that we want action on climate change now! Get your free climate symbol stickers here.

If you would like to help in our Vote for Climate campaign email careaboutclimate@gmail.com.

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The End is Just the Beginning

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The past week has felt like the longest waiting game that has ever been played. As high level ministers talked behind closed doors, we were diligently working to influence the process in whatever way that we could from social media, to press conferences, to direct discussions with negotiating staff about the agreement. We even participated in a few actions within the conference space to let negotiators, and the world, know what we wanted in the agreement. Finally, on Saturday representatives from 196 countries came together in the plenary halls to declare that they had come to an agreement.

This is a historic moment. This is the first time that the global community has come together to create a process to address global climate change that does not just fall on developed nations (although they must do more because they are historically more responsible for emission production), but falls upon everyone everywhere to act on climate, and that is an exciting prospect. All nations agreed that they need to keep global warming on average well below 2℃, in fact they want to aim for 1.5℃ or below in order to protect low-lying islands and desert regions. This means that they will have to phase out of fossil fuels, and keep current reserves in the ground if they want to stay below these targets according to science, which was mentioned in the agreement to happen by the end of the century at the latest.

They also agreed that they would submit pledges every five years that will be monitored, reported, and verified to make sure that countries are complying with what they say they will do. This will be accompanied with finance and support for projects that help with mitigation and adaptation to climate change as well as reparations that are associated with the losses and damages to climate change. Finally, for the first time in international environmental law there are references to equity language such as human rights, gender, and intergenerational equity (future generations), indigenous rights, health, migrants, and persons in vulnerable situations, which links this environmental concern directly to individuals that will be impacted. Many of these ideas are innovative, and it is incredible that we have moved so fast and so far in international climate policy in a few short years, and a lot of it had to do with the global movement that we have created.

In the past couple years the world has demanded that countries take action on climate change from the People’s Climate March, to major religions expressing direct requests for action, to local movements that are getting campuses, cities, and churches to divest. The tides are changing, and people are demanding that the threat of climate change is addressed immediately in just ways.

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Now more than ever it will be important to keep up this momentum, and hold our governments accountable to taking significant steps to addressing climate change as is outlined in this agreement. We need to go home and push our governments to develop plans to uphold their end of the bargain, and push them to do more than they think they can by creating the political will to do so from the grassroots. This is an exciting time for all of us, and it is amazing what we can accomplish when we decide that we need to address something. It is clear now that this is not the end of our work, but only the beginning to decarbonize our future, create just transitions, and prevent warming in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. This is a matter of protecting lives and livelihoods so take this moment, and build momentum from it for our communities, our countries, and our planet.