“We represent a number of nations, like my own, that face extinction”. Yesterday, the President of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, issued a warning. In a packed press conference, leaders from across the world came together to call for radical action on the climate crisis. Make no mistake, the path we are currently on will render species, cultures and even entire nations at risk of extinction. We cannot, and must not, allow this to happen.
Mohamed Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives, hammered the point home.”We are not prepared to die,” he said, “and the Maldives have no intention of dying … If we continue business as usual, then we will not survive”.
We support these calls for action and we have been fighting hard to get a robust Paris Rulebook and ensure enhanced NDCs by 2020 €“ but we will do more.
Whatever does or does not happen in Katowice, it is clear now that something new is emerging. Across the world, the people are rising. From the school strikes in Sweden to the Sunrise Movement in the United States, people are rebelling against their governments.
These movements may have different names and different faces, but they are one: a pledge to tell the truth and to call an emergency an emergency.
“Stand up for the people”, said Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman at yesterday’s press conference. In his lapel was the badge of Extinction Rebellion, the civil disobedience movement that started in the UK two months ago and is now in over 35 different nations around the globe. In London, thousands of people have broken the law and risked arrest to demand radical action on climate breakdown. They have shut down roads and occupied buildings and their actions have been supported by countless voices, from Noam Chomsky to Vandana Shiva.
This energy is vital. And it does not belong to anyone. It is anchored in hope, and this hope is creating bold moments of fearless action.
So, be prepared and listen to the people. For the sake of the world, we will rebel.