Sacred Heart School being green and learning about COP 21!Back to stories
Linda Davis is the green engine at Sacred Heart School. For years she has been sharing her passion for the environment and inspiring and empowering students both inside and outside the classroom. Some of the things she and the tireless young women on Sacred Heart’s intrepid Green Team have been up to in recent weeks include a week full of activities for Earth Week (bake sale fundraisers, litterless lunches, lights out, earth day pledges, etc.) and figuring out what to power with the solar panels they made.
They recently invited Kiki Wood, director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, in to discuss the global climate negotiations and her recent experience at COP 21 in Paris. A very pertinent topic as the first four months of 2016 smashed global temperature records as the hottest in recorded history.
An astonishing 192 parties were represented at the conference and some 35,000 people attended! Can you imagine the logistics in organizing so many people and how to get them to negotiate and come to a consensus and shared agreement? That cannot be easy! Kiki shed some light on how the event, held in a decommissioned airport, was organized and also where and how decisions were made – during the nutrition and coffee breaks! Coffee must have been appreciated because delegates did not sleep very much as the schedule of the conference was intense. For example the breakout sessions ran from 8 pm to 3am. The Canadian Government invited 4 youth to join the official delegation in Paris. But as young people know, being present doesn’t necessarily mean you are heard. Youth have different concerns and a lot to contribute. But youth face barriers in being heard and are often disempowered and their perspectives and ideas are overlooked. The Canadian Youth Delegation, like students in Green Teams across the province, won’t be silenced and are working hard to ensure they are both seen and heard!
Some outcomes from the Conference and in the Paris Agreement which were noteworthy include: First, recognizing that the warming limit should be closer to 1.5 degrees celsius rather than 2 degrees celsius, a threshold that scientists warn could lead to “run away” warming is surpassed. Second, including all rich, poor and emerging countries in the goal of “de-carbonizing” between 2050 to 2100. This means not producing more greenhouse gases than trees, soils and oceans naturally absorb. However, scientists warn this needs to happen by 2050. Third, money available to help developing countries deal with climate change and green their economies.
On Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016, 170 global leaders met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Agreement, a critical step toward putting it into action. To figure out how to do this the world is meeting again at COP 22 in November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. The Canadian Youth Delegation will be there – see the information below if you want to see how you can be involved. But, even if we follow everything laid out in the Paris Agreement the world is headed to a 2.7 degree C warming. So, even if you’re not into big high-level policy actions, there is a lot we can all do each and every day to reduce our carbon footprint and you can start by saving energy and teaching others!
We want to hear from you, please share your energy savings ideas in the comments below!
To learn more about the Canadian Youth Delegation visit: http://www.ourclimate.ca/
To find out which countries have signed the Paris Agreements since April 22 visit: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/04/parisagreementsing…
To see how much Earth’s temperature has changed in the last 150 years, look at these great animated graphics: Spider chart shows temperature deviations, or changes, for every months from 1850 to 2016: http://www.dw.com/en/un-climate-talks-in-bonn-seek-to-turn-paris-agreeme… and NASA map shows where the warming occurred: http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/