This post is part of the “Prelude to Paris” series highlighting updates and analysis on international climate negotiations in the lead up to the United Nations climate change conference – the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) — to be held in Paris this December. Other posts in the series are available here.
Today, nearly 200 events across the nation are demonstrating broad citizen support for taking aggressive action on climate change. The events are being organized under the banner of the People’s Climate Movement, a coalition of more than 245 organizations and innumerable individuals.
In the Southeast, at least two dozen actions will take place in cities including Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Asheville, Greenville, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh, Florence, Athens, St. Augustine, Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.
The actions will each have a different and unique angle, indicative of the diverse and broad constituency in support of climate action. The event in Florence, SC will explore the connections between the recent South Carolina flooding and climate change. The Cherokee, NC event will send a message from indigenous people demanding climate justice and a livable future for the next Seven Generations. Greenville, SC’s event will feature a game to help attendees understand international climate politics and interactively explore possible scenarios that could come out of the international climate negotiations to take place in Paris beginning next month. Greensboro, NC and Chapel Hill, NC’s events will be supporting federal legislation to end fossil fuel extraction on public federal lands. Meanwhile big numbers and a diverse range of allies are expected to turn out for marches and rallies planned for the events in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville, Florida.
Young people are taking a strong leadership role in these widespread events, with actions at University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, Warren Wilson College, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Duke University, and an event hosted by the St. Augustine Environmental Youth Council. The actions at NC State and Duke University will be specifically calling for their campuses to be powered 100% by clean energy by 2030.
The widespread demonstrations today come as nations around the world prepare to convene next month in Paris for the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (a.k.a. COP21). As the world’s top-polluting countries have pledged climate pollution reductions, and support for climate action builds through the demonstration of the moral imperative of climate action such as that of Pope Francis and through popular movements such as the People’s Climate Movement, there is hope that Paris could set the stage for meaningful global action on climate change.