The changing climate

By Kathleen Rogers

MiNDFOOD’s environmental columnist is the president 
of Earth Day Network and 
says we need sustainable solutions to our climate problems.

There is no denying the gradual warming of the earth. With more attention being drawn to the plethora of environmental issues throughout the world, the United Nations is seeking solidarity and resolution through worldwide forums 
of public diplomacy.

In the past year alone, the earth has experienced serious climactic disasters. Record-breaking heat waves caused wildfires in Russia, destroying more than a million acres of land. Pakistan’s worst flooding in history left millions homeless. Certain areas of Guatemala have been inundated with deadly mud slides due to a sustained increase in precipitation rates.

Will we continue to scramble to repair the post-disaster damage or start proactively mitigating these events with sustainable solutions? And with an increasing track record of failing to reach global consensus since the Kyoto Protocol, how will our future efforts be different?

There have been varied responses to these climate change conundrums since the mid-1990s. While most countries agree that nation-wide action is necessary to combat climate change, they just can’t seem to agree on implementing the solutions.

The 16th session of the Conference of the Parties and the sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP16/CMP6) are meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

From November 29 until December 10, delegates, observers, international officials, civil society and media representatives will “join [together] with the aim to build an understanding and ensure that COP16/CMP6 deliver concrete and effective results to tackle the global challenge of climate change”.

But what does this really mean? Will the negotiations continue to revolve around concrete benchmarks for lowering carbon emissions, or will more substantial discussion towards a green economic future be put 
into play?

We all share one earth, one planet. In order to reach a long-lasting sustainable solution, we must work together. It is civil society that will make a difference, each of us coming together and creating a solution in our own way. The negotiators headed toward Cancun are ready – are you?


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