Appropriately, Earth Day fell in accordance with the signing of the Paris Climate Treaty focusing on global climate-change, low-carbon growth, and sustainability. Over 160 countries gathered to discuss and sign the agreement. This was an inordinate number of countries to show their unified support and intention to commit themselves to the future of our environment. rsz_1un-climate

A noticeable shift in political willingness was evident at the signing ceremony. The occasion made it clear that promises will no longer suffice and that actions have to be pursed. Countries must take initiative to create programs, policies, and tangible goals. Commitment must match the scale of global issues we face. Strong leadership coupled with local movements can have a resounding impact. More developed countries have a duty to step up and contribute to the world. Domestically in the United States, the forthcoming presidential election has potential to change the US and its stance on the environment, climate change, and global responsibility toward sustainability.

There was a common thread that each leader touched upon. Each emphasized the importance of today’s actions on youth and future generations. A moral responsibility exists to uphold efforts to ameliorate humans’ environmental degradation. Younger generations were encouraged to take their place in protecting resources and understanding long-term environmental sustainability.

The signing of the Paris agreement is one of many gatherings about the prospect of Planet Earth. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses common themes and The World Humanitarian Summit in May has the opportunity to garner support among all peoples in recognition of our shared resources. The world is changing quickly and each of these global discussions demonstrates recognition and action toward environmental transformation.

– UN Team Member, Kathryn Horter