CLIMATE REALITY vs CLIMATE TALKS What HAPPENED at COP 25?
“I expect a clear demonstration of increased #ClimateAction ambition & commitment out of #COP25. Leaders of all countries need to show accountability & responsibility.
Anything less would be a betrayal of our entire human family and all generations to come.”
-The UN secretary-general António Guterres, at a COP25 Opening Address
On a personal level, it was fascinating and heartbreaking and inspiring, and it's all still playing out.
I am a conservation biologist by training, and have been teaching about environmental ethics and sustainability for more than a decade. I attended COP25 as an observation delegate for the University of Minnesota, and in my five or six days at the event, I took 102 pages of notes. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite quotations from event speakers and offered a few insights in the documents below. In total, I've outlined 5 specific gaps or gulfs that have cracked open. We must address these chasms to move forward.
A Clarion Call
For me, this was the COP of the youth, women, and indigenous peoples. I found their voices clear and poignant, articulating both hope and urgency. The youth brought forth the language of “climate emergency,” which was everywhere.
Indigenous peoples comprise 5% of the human population, but manage 40% of our protected lands. Ensuring their empowerment and control over their own knowledge is a fundamental tenet of Climate Justice.
At press conferences highlighting accomplishments of indigenous people, I heard feminists decry “false solutions that fail to address root causes” of colonialism, militarism, overconsumption, and racism. I found new climate heroes, like Mandela Barnes, the Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, and a poet from the island nations that spoke of "Smiles of Resilience."
Created with an image by delfi de la Rua - "Sunset across the inlet"