A Tipping Point for Climate Awareness?

Shoes of those who wished to march in Paris last weekend, placed outside climate talks
Shoes (more than 20,000 pairs!) of those who wished to march in Paris last weekend after cancelled marches, placed outside the location of this week’s climate talks. (Photo: Avaaz)

It’s been quite a week for awareness on climate change – with over 785,000 people marching in over 2,300 events in 175 countries last weekend. It’s the largest climate mobilization in history, pairing this week’s historic UN Climate Talks in Paris. On Monday, in his opening address to world leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed: “The peoples of the world are also on the move. They have taken to the streets, in cities and towns across the world, in a mass mobilization for change… They expect each and every one of you to show leadership equal to the test. History is calling.”

Here in the US, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication just released the first report from its latest national survey: Climate Change in the American Mind.

The report highlights that since spring 2015, the number of Americans who think global warming will cause harm has increased substantially. More think global warming will harm them personally (42%, +6 percentage points since spring 2015), people in the U.S. (56%, +7 points), people in developing countries (61%, +9 points), and future generations (70%, +7 points). The number of Americans who say they discuss global warming with family and friends at least occasionally increased by 9 percentage points over the past six months.

We couldn’t agree more that history is calling – and that now is a perfect time to engage in action-oriented conversation with others in your community. Whether at work, at church, with friends and family, or at school, this is the time to continue raising awareness and working collectively towards solutions. We timed the release of our new discussion course on climate change, Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions, and our three-session primer on energy, Powering A Bright Future, to coincide with the momentum leading up to the climate talks this week. If you are wanting to learn more, engage others, and consider ways to proactively take action, one of these climate-focused courses is a great place to plug in, and January is a great time to start.

As Socrates said long ago, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Here’s to new directions forged, this week as well as into the new year!

 

 

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