Today is Earth Day and today 60 world leaders and around 110 other countries’ representatives are signing the Paris Climate Agreement in New York. It will be a ceremonial affair, befitting the landmark agreement. One-by-one in alphabetical order, representatives at the UN HQ will have 40 seconds each to sign the single copy of the agreement which is translated into six languages.
The Paris Agreement is the first ever truly universal treaty to fight climate change. Never before has a climate deal included so many countries. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol set targets for emissions cuts but fewer countries ratified the deal. The Copenhagen conference in 2009 was supposed to deliver a treaty but ended in chaos. The Paris conference, held in December last year, was different – all 185 countries taking part signed up.
All countries agreed a temperature rise of 1.5C from pre-industrial times to 2100, a limit demanded by many low-lying states and developing countries who are at most risk of the extreme weather effects of climate change. Richer nations also agreed to contribute around £66 billion a year until 2025 to help those countries build their resilience to the dangerous consequences of our changing climate.
Article 12 of the Paris Agreement is on education, training and public awareness. It states that parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under the agreement.
Roots for the Future is on a mission to encourage and inspire the community to actively participate in the planting and preservation of trees, thereby leaving a lasting legacy of an improved local environment. We will do this through workshops planting small glades of tree saplings and semi-established trees with the community, with a particular focus on children and youth. The workshops aim to empower the next generation with a foundation of knowledge and skills in finding environmental solutions that curb the effects of climate change.
Addressing an audience in London at an event I went to in February, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN, said: “People are abusing the privilege of nature. We have only one Earth. This is the only place where human beings can live together with nature. We cannot negotiate with nature. We cannot go against it. [This is] a turning point to change our course in living harmoniously with nature.”
Roots for the Future’s vision is that our community is engaged in, invested in and committed to creating and maintaining a sustainable natural environment within their local vicinity. We want to ensure that all those we can reach start living more harmoniously with nature.
Find out more about Roots for the Future and how you can get involved.