This was always the road through Paris rather than the road to Paris, which means that New Zealand must commit to the long term goal and increase its climate ambition.
Mattea Mrkusic had a comment featured on a recent Al Jazeera Stream episode discussing climate change in the Pacific Islands.
We’re bleary-eyed, brandishing banners in the early morning light. Rae Bainteiti, a 25-year-old youth delegate from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, jokes that this might be the first and last winter he’ll wear a puffer jacket in the Parisian cold. Stepping towards the press encircling our demonstration, he addresses the crowd in a suddenly serious tone. “Our lives,” he says, “are not negotiable.” As true as that may be, in the plenary rooms beyond, ministers are putting brackets around his future.
This spirit of grit was on my mind as I rode the metro to Place de la République, a square in central Paris, with the rest of the delegation from the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute. Given the attacks that happened on November 13, the French government had banned public protest actions until stated otherwise. Determined to still be part of the global climate change protest wave that was happening around the world on the eve of the Conference of the Parties and the completion of the climate change agreement, the organisations in charge of coordinating the People’s Climate March in Paris looked to alternative displays of protest.
As I write this post from Paris on the first day of COP21, there are a few questions I’ve been getting on repeat, so I thought I’d set the record straight.
Between Terrorism and now Tear-gas, many people have asked me why I came to Paris?
My response? How could I not.
I couldn’t not be in Paris for COP21.