A tiny, distant, thrilling part of humanity’s turning point

I can’t help but think humanity saved the planet today.

Earth To Paris community — 

There is reason for celebration.  At the COP21 United Nations conference in Paris today, officials from nearly 200 countries reached a new agreement to address the threat of global climate change.  

The phrase “the world is watching” was used by everyone. The Secretary-General, the hosts, nation states, activists, experts, scientists. They watched because a new reality of digital connectivity and social media and global public engagement made that possible. That is at the heart of the #EarthToParis coalition and what each of you made possible. A connected, social world lets the entire planet be part of a summit moment and a Paris discussion.

The afternoon has been filled with hugs, tears, and standing ovations at Le Bourget as French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius gaveled in the agreement with an appropriately green gavel: “It’s a small gavel, but I think it has a big impact.”

We know this agreement alone will not meet the threat of climate change; that will require continued ambitious action from governments, the private sector, and all of us to limit the global rise in temperature and move more rapidly toward a clean energy future with net zero emissions.

But after decades of debate, the battle over the reality of climate change is over. Countries from every region of the world and every stage of development have committed to act because they recognize that it is in their self-interest and in humanity’s common interest.

Thank you for all your efforts and being part of the turning point on climate change.  

Aaron Sherinian and Zain Habboo

United Nations Foundation

When CEO and Founder of Amplifier Strategies Allison Duncan sent this email a few minutes ago that noted the agreement of nearly 200 countries at the COP21 United Nations Conference in Paris, I felt the smallest twinge of … what exactly? Community.

Community is what turned this. Countries with nothing in common except a growing reality that the course we’ve chosen would eventually ruin the miraculous one-in-a-galaxy, hospitable-to-humanity planet called Earth.

We’ve known this for decades, but only now do we admit to being responsible and capable of correcting the course. We can– and will–save Planet Earth.

As part of Amplifier’s team, I worked remotely in support of our conference in Paris on Dec. 9 called Climate & Capital. This one-day, invitation-only event brought together a community of global investment leaders who represent about $1 trillion in managed assets. The conference laid out a compelling case for a new lens for viewing investment risk and opportunity–opportunities in low-carbon energy and growing risk with planet-killing fossil fuels. Former Vice President Al Gore attended its reception. This conference was on the leading edge of what is to come and couples perfectly with the COP21 agreement. Finance has been the missing piece of climate change, but that has already begun to change. My colleagues inspire me with their vision, work and commitment to this cause for the past year.

I’m thrilled to have played this minuscule part in a critical moment in the human story. When we look back at this day and talk of the time when the death of planet turned back toward life, I can say I had this tiny, thrilling part to play.

As I said, I can’t help but think humanity saved the planet today.

But more importantly, I wonder, what we humans will do with a saved planet now to make it a better place for all?

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