IDEAS leadership speaks up on COP 21 and future of youth driven climate action. Special recognition from Bill Clinton and the Turner family on how IDEAS is equipped to lead the charge.
Orlando, FL — 12/16/2015 — After one of the most difficult deliberations and agreements in United Nations history, the twenty one year saga of debates on climate change have finally come to a close in Paris, France with the establishment of a universal document outlining a goal to hold the World to – stop global climate change by keeping temperatures below 2C and strive to reach 1.5C.
Some have called the historic COP21 Agreement, and its goal of curtailing emissions “an achievement bigger than the industrial revolution” or “the final nail in the coffin of the Fossil Fuel Era”, while others have called it “empty promises with no plan of action”.
Mixed reactions are to be expected considering the document was a true process of compromise, that on paper at least, culminated with an unprecedented consensus of over 195 nations that climate change is happening and that it is human caused. Previous sessions over the last twenty one years since the Rio Convention created the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), have had little success grappling with such issues of how the developed World would be able to help the developing World fight and pay for climate change resilience and mitigation. Yet, with the strike of a gavel on December 12th, 2015, the Paris Climate Agreements became history.
The COP21 Agreement is a giant step in the right direction on a long road to solving climate change. Environmental, social and economic development will fail if citizens, businesses, and particularly NGOs do not play a significant role in driving human ingenuity, developing action, and holding their leaders responsible with measurable results.
This need for action harks back to Former President Bill Clinton’s 2013 Commencement Speech at the University of Central Florida where he said “No matter how smart we are, how righteous we are, how close to the truth we are, we all do better when we work together, when we share prosperity, when we share responsibilities, when we share membership in the community… Look at IDEAS — they had no money, they didn’t know what was going to happen … now The White House recognizes them as change agents and today that group is called IDEAS For Us.”
The former 42nd President of the United States inadvertently spoke to the role of youth have to play in this process by referring to the successes of the UN Accredited NGO, IDEAS For Us. This global organization with a presence in over 20 countries seeks to develop, fund, and measure solutions to the World’s most pressing environmental and social problems. IDEAS For Us has a long history of working hand in hand with the United Nations, White House, U.S. State Department, and various other institutions to advance sustainability goals worldwide. They’ve also joined the Sustainable Energy For All practitioners network and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to share cross-cutting sustainable solutions that can replicate to communities around the World.
Millennials have a considerable role to play in this sustainable transition, particularly because they represent the largest generation in human history.
John Rutherford Seydel, the grandson of Ted Turner and youth environmental advocate says “The COP21 agreements creates the mechanism, the architecture, and the responsibility for developed and developing countries alike to continually tackle this problem in an effective way. But let us not forget that the problem is not solved because of this agreement, better yet the solution has just begun. With the help of organizations like IDEAS For Us, we will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change by mobilizing our youth, and communities to pave the way for even more progress, in successive stages, over the coming years.”
Earlier in 2015, IDEAS For Us was invited by the United Nations to work hand in hand to aid in developing the sustainable development goals being reviewed at COP 21. Recently, in August 2015, Chris Castro, President of IDEAS For Us, presented at the United Nations for over 2 hours on the importance of NGO lead action. He stated, “These agreements will hold no weight without local action and accountability. The Paris Climate Agreement marks the beginning of a long journey ahead to improve the lives and wellbeing of everyone, end the fossil fuel era, and empower local governments, academia, civil society, NGO’s, community groups, and the private sector to accelerate local solutions to these challenges.”
Despite the need for action, making lasting change at the community level – let alone the global level – is difficult. Funding stands at the largest barrier for projects, considering it is always in short supply and usually lacks the oversight to ensure a project’s development, measurement, and success. As a result, IDEAS For Us is in the midst of a capital campaign, raising funding to develop more ideas into solutions, measure the results, and then scale those solutions across their Network. IDEAS For Us recently funded five international projects in the 4th quarter of 2015 as cool as Ugandan aquaculture in Lake Victoria, reforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and sustainability education in Liberia.
IDEAS For Us aims to ride the momentum COP21 has created, the right timing for large scale action on climate change is now. The hope is that with community, business, and governmental support, IDEAS For Us will be able to develop more ideas into solutions, measure the results, and then scale for capacity and impact across their grassroots, youthful network. “This is the first step in a long journey, but it’s a great journey ahead”, assured Castro.