Paris Climate Talks
Mere weeks after the Paris Terrorist Attacks of 2015, the city held the United Nations Climate Change Conference known as COP21. In the wreckage left by violent shootings across the city, there loomed an anxiety and a pressure. An anxiety about what might happen next while the world watched Paris take center stage. And a pressure to overcome fear and achieve global progress.
I spent two weeks in Paris documenting life during the Climate Conference known as COP21. The conference came on the curtails of a terrorist attack in the heart of Paris that shocked the western world.
Tensions were high.
Aside from global leaders from 196 countries, professors, researchers and activists flocked to Paris in hopes to be heard and make a difference.
I came as a fly on the wall and left more confused than one.
To have breakfast with one man who hails carbon sequestration as the answer to rising emissions and then dine with a woman who claims sequestration efforts are an utter waste of time ... is one hell of a scramble. They were both seeking preventative action, both hoping to correct the wrongs done to our climate, both hoping for a brighter future ... but their opinions on how to implement change were entirely conflicting.
On another occasion, ignoring the US Travel Bureau's warning, I took the metro across town to check out a rally. An activist group was protesting the conference itself. They were arguing that the government of France didn't actually care about the climate. That the corporate sponsors hosting the conference had ties to gas and oil. And they weren't wrong.
And so it went.
I wish I had returned as an ambassador of truths.
Few answers and many questions later, I did manage to come home with one truth:
Our climate is complex and so will be our solution to managing it. A large shift in the public mindset is necessary. A shift in our priorities. A shift in how we power our homes and businesses. How we travel. How we consume, both products and food. There is not a singular answer to this crisis. What I do know, is that it is coming. In my lifetime we will see the impact of our actions ... and our inaction.
WE are the environment.
For it to change, we must also change.