Tuesday 8 December 2015

Climate Change and COP21: our role as citizens

By Alan Silayan*

7 December 2015 - As ordinary citizens, it is sometimes difficult to see how we can engage in the climate change debate, which is very broad and very complex at the same time. It is often much easier for us to leave it to the professional negotiators of our government institutions to do the homework and negotiations for us.

There is a problem however. While ordinary citizens – farmers, fishermen, ski instructors, are affected by climate change, those causing climate change such as large oil companies, and industrial agriculture have the biggest influence on the government. We have given corporations the liberal hand in maximizing profits to such an extent that these companies are now influencing governments to their own ends like never before.

Here, at COP21 this influence is clearly felt in the sponsorship of the conference by multinational institutions, so much so that civil society is shut out of the COP negotiating event while the private sector is allowed inside.

This points to a fundamental flaw that is systemic in our societies today. Our societies, our laws, and governments are all created to support profit making of the capitalist system. In this system, nature is seen as outside ourselves, separate from who we are – a commodity to be bought, sold and exploited.

As citizens our role is that of transformation. We need to transform our societies, our laws and ultimately our hearts to reconnect to a fundamental truth that nature is part of humankind. We cannot separate ourselves from this truth. By reconnecting to our true nature, we will have a chance at saving our world.

People always talk about the COP21 negotiations as if our world is negotiable, as if the future of our children is negotiable when in reality there our common future and shared humanity is non-negotiable.

*Alan Silayan, is now in Paris with the Pilgrimage “Una Terra. Una Famiglia Umana. In cammino verso Parigi”- Focsiv

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