Solar energy is the poster-child of the new, environmentally friendly, economically feasible world of the 21st century. Lightning-fast technological innovation in the private sector and complementary government tax credits have brought about the rapid ascent of the low-impact energy source, much... Read More
It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the “historic” COP21 agreement, wherein a majority of the world settled on goals for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Since then, I’ve been asked by countless family members at holiday gatherings how my experience in Paris was and what I... Read More
December 8, 2015 | Message to the World: It’s Time
Within moments of stepping into the grand doors of Le Petit Palais for the COP21: Earth to Paris event, a gust of innovation and a spirit for change was quickly noticeable. Standing next to the likes of environmental activist Alec Baldwin, Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall was both humbling and frightening. The question quickly hit me: What am I doing here?
I’ll admit: I’ve never considered myself to be an avid conservationist. I’ve always recognized the importance of protecting the planet, but I would have never regarded myself to be much of an activist for green initiatives. Recycling Coca-Cola cans and reusing water bottles felt more like motions of my daily routine rather than any sort of a heroic contribution in the battle to save our planet.
As a Solar Ambassador for Conergy, my college-aged peers from around the countries are remarkable and noteworthy advocates for the environmental movement. I was afraid that their background as young leaders for change negated my ability to have an impact on the world. But, I was wrong. Before you write-off the COP21 negotiations as just a conversation about environmental problems, please take a moment to read our stories. The results of COP21 are going to change the world, as we know it.
“We cannot have a Plan B. There is no Planet B.”
When the question of environmental sustainability is raised, there are so many aspects to be addressed. This week, our blog posts will touch upon issues related to the rights of indigenous people, the next generation of solar energy, divestment, understanding the energy needs of developing countries, and more. We have met and interviewed world-renown experts, and we are ready to share our stories with you.
So before you write off COP21 as just another day of dialogue, think of what is at stake: Wild weather patterns have become the norm, long spells of droughts have caused food shortages in several continents, and a lengthening of the El Niño effect has sent disaster into the homes of too many families.
What can you do right now? At the “Earth to Paris” event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded young people — and those of all ages — that we have the opportunity to change our leaders, both in principle and in practice. He pleaded our generation to “make this world better.” This is where you will live. This is where your children, your grandchildren, and generations to come will live.
You should be a part of this process, and you can be a part of this process. You have a right to challenge your leaders and the norms they have set forth. You have a responsibility to do something. Fighting climate change is not something out of your hands — you can start by changing your behavior. Think critically about the rhetoric your political candidates share on climate change. Turn off the lights when you are not home. Shut off the water when you finish brushing your teeth. Maybe you can even get an early start on your New Year’s Resolution and start biking to class or work. There are so many small things you can do, but the impact will be huge. The 21st century is the time of global interconnectivity. Imagine if 1 billion people cut their shower time by 10 seconds or started carpooling.
You can change your behavior. You can challenge your leaders. You don’t have to be in Paris to make a difference. Join us in the fight to save our planet. We need you. We need each other.
Eric Beeler is one of Conergy's Future Solar Leaders. Eric is a sophomore studying International Affairs and Chinese at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.