Five years ago this week, in Paris, the world’s nations agreed to a historic pact, committing to reducing climate pollution in order to prevent the catastrophic impacts of runaway climate change. Moms Clean Air Force was there to advocate for, and to witness, this unprecedented agreement.
I had the opportunity to represent our members in the civil society section of the conference, where organizations from every corner of the globe gathered in a sprawling suburban conference center on the outskirts of Paris to share our vision for a stable, healthy future. It was inspiring to connect with parents, elected officials, teachers, youth leaders, researchers, business leaders, indigenous leaders, and activists all coming together to do the hard and necessary work that so clearly needed to be done.
And what we achieved was extraordinary. The Paris agreement wasn’t enough to hold global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius that scientists have warned about, but it offered so much more than the complacency of the past. This was a new stage of global cooperation, and it marked a turning point – in large part because the U.S., the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter per capita, participated avidly in the forging of the agreement, and signed it.
But, from the get-go, Trump denied the gravity – and even the reality – of climate change, and resented the requirements of the Paris agreement. So even as the majority of Americans supported the agreement, Trump pulled the US out of it.
The U.S. withdrew, but Moms never did. We’ve held a trajectory of staying committed to the Paris agreement. Here’s how we did it:
- We advocated for staying in the Paris agreement.
- We launched the Moms & Mayors program to support local action on climate change.
- We participated in the Global Climate Action Summit in 2018, which highlighted local and state-level action to curb climate pollution, and allowed advocates and activists from across the world to connect and strategize about the future.
- We launched the EcoMadres program, to amplify and organize Latina moms around climate change and air pollution.
- We launched the CommunityRx program, to amplify and organize African American moms, through their faith communities, around climate change and air pollution.
- And we kept growing. We continued our work of talking to other moms, to elected officials, to federal and state agencies, and amplifying the stories of our members across the country in the media, on Facebook and Twitter and, especially this year, on Zoom.
We dug in deeper, and stayed the course. We Stayed In.
Five years is a lot of time to lose. But in many ways, Moms Clean Air Force continued to push forward. We were resourceful, resilient, and determined. Thank you, Paris, for all of that and more. We’ll see you again real soon.