Every year the Earth keeps revolving around the sun, it also keeps evolving for everyone on it, and everyone to come in the future. While reflecting upon how the world changed for good in 2015, my mind kept coming back to two remarkable moments when people from all over the world came together for good.
The first was the Global Goals commitment, which aims to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change in the next 15 years. A huge campaign to get the Global Goals message out to everyone on the planet culminated in a wonderful concert in New York, which I was fortunate enough to attend.
The Global Goals are extremely ambitious and far-reaching, and their first test came not long after the pledges were made, when world leaders gathered for COP 21. If the goal of fixing climate change is to be achieved, the world needed a strong, long-term, global agreement in Paris.
I was there in Paris to see the extraordinary work going on behind the scenes to secure the agreement the world needed. It was far from plain sailing, but ended in a watershed moment that set us on a pathway to net-zero emissions, economic justice and shared prosperity.
Speaking at COP 21, The Elders’ Ela Bhatt said: “I am not alone in this world. You are bound to me and I am to you. I am also bound to the people in my community, and we are linked to each neighbouring community. Together, we form the world. Like oceanic circles, or the rooting branches of the great banyan tree, we are all bound to each other and to the land. The sweetness you pour into our relationship will nourish my life; just as the bitterness I spill will harm your life. We are under one sky. Let us acknowledge this bond between us. The world is sustained by the sum of all our correlated actions.”
Finally, this poem was written by Zhang Yue, B Team member and Founder of Broad Group China, who introduced me to the Chinese Environment Minister at COP 21. The Chinese played such an important part in securing the agreement. The poem was written long before COP 21, but like the agreement, its message will resonate long after:
How many dreams have soared on the wind?
How many hopes have withered and then revived?
How many struggles have resulted in success?
How many years have ushered in daybreaks?
Every success symbolizes a new beginning,
Every failure a tempering in spirit,
Many, many times I soar to the utmost limits,
Many, many times I reflect upon my broad visions.
Please fire my ardor, for dreams travel as far as the heart;
Please fire my wisdom, for the world is as big as I am;
Please fire my youth, for the road is as long as I live;
Please fire my blood, for my broad visions have lightened my life.
What do you think changed the world for good in 2015?