April 22, 2016 marks the 46th Earth Day, which may not seem like a particularly important milestone, but it is the first Earth Day since the signing of the Paris Accord.
As such, it represents an opportunity of a new beginning; a fresh way of thinking about the fundamental challenge of our time.
My hope is that each of us will use the occasion of this most special Earth Day, not to reinforce the belief system of someone who already agrees about the need to take decisive action against climate change, but rather to try to change the mind of someone who is still a climate denier or a climate skeptic or a climate fatalist.
All of us find it easier and more personally reinforcing to spend time convincing the already convinced. So, on this year’s Earth Day, and every day that follows, lets tread the more laborious path. Let's reach across the aisle.
Doing something about global warming - rather than doing nothing at all - is the new societal norm.
We can start by talking about the remarkable consensus that was achieved in Paris by representatives of every country who inhabit this global village. Critics get immersed in the perceived shortcomings of the Paris Accord - that it is non binding; that the cumulative national commitments do not maximize our chances of limiting global temperature rise under 2°C and avoiding the worst effects of climate change; etc. etc., but to me those specific issues are less important than the fact that the global community is now moving, all in the same direction.
Doing something about global warming - rather than doing nothing at all - is the new societal norm. Politicians and consumer-facing corporations now are waking up to the fact that, after Paris, they disregard the climate issue at their own peril.
But Paris only represents a good beginning to the fight to save the planet. Everyone who poured energy into making Paris succeed now needs to direct that same amount or even greater energy pushing forward to implementation, persuasion and acceleration.
Paris changed a lot but one thing has not changed. We are still running out of time.
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