The global summit for climate change was held on Sept 13-14th in San Francisco, CA. Greeted by protestors, it was an auspicous multi-day event with representatives from around the globe, and several awards cerimonies. It was generally an up lifting event with speakers from around the world and all walks of life both sharing their stories and making pledges. It demonstrated that not just awareness of climate change but action to mitigate it, are starting to take hold on the local levels due the failures of leaders at the national level across the globe. The whole event was live streamed, though there were some issues with the audio on the first day which can be viewed here:
The second day had fewer technical issues but oddly, several speakers were edited out of the footage, such as Hikianalia who canoed all the way from Hawaii to be at the summit and had a great message about the importance of the oceans, as the basis of many parts of life we all depend on, not just for the 30% of protein but also much of the oxygen that humans consume. Was this a silencing of indigenous voices or merely the nanny state telling us what information it has deemed “forbidden knowledge” which apparently now includes the consequences of climate change. The same thing happened in north Carolina so we shouldn’t be too surprised. Both instances seem to be efforts to claim ignorance. An informal interview with several artists and actors such as Rocky Dawuni and Alec Baldwin, which occurred during some breaks in the program were also edited out. Another section that was oddly edited out was a pledge by Gov. Jerry Brown that california would launch it’s own statellite to investigate sources of climate change gasses. If this is how we take climate change seriously, it does not bode well for the future. So, it would appear that the protestors outside had a fairly good reason for being there and were not protesting the global climate summit itself, but some of the participants. You can see the redacted version of the 2nd day of the summit here:
Overall it was an encouraging event demonstrating the commitment of many world leaders to take the issue of climate change seriously, though there does seem to be a possibility that those pledges may just be edited out in the future. So it would appear that the comment by Micheal Bloomberg “Only in America could you have environmentalists protesting an environmental conference,” is very telling of the state of affairs in the united states. That there still is the capacity for people to protest (unlike some places that think they can be world leaders without freedom of speech), and those protests will mostly be construed by the powerful as being for the opposite purposes of what they really are. Not too dissimilar from that “take a knee” movement. At this point you might be asking yourself, “How long can we keep making the same mistakes?”
For better or worse, climate change has put a deadline on it. Also present on day 2 was a short and untranslated speech from the president János Áder of Hungary, I do wonder what he had to contribute to this conference while his country is sliding into an “illiberal democracy” so I can’t say I disagree with the protestors. This only goes to show that climate change is not a partisan issue. So it was hopeful and some welcome news amid the seemingly endless tragedies. At one point it was referenced that the world today does visually appear to be “apocalyptic” with the now year-round fire season, (not just in california, but who reports on the russian wilderness ?) and multiple hurricanes and typhoons being the “new normal”. It seems that the mayor of California and Harrison Ford were the only ones displaying the correct level of outrage. Maybe that is why brown was edited out. Truth be told, if the populace in general is not able to hold on to the same level of outrage and channel it into something productive, then who will hold those responsible to account ?