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Earth Day 2015 - It's Our Turn to Lead

Earth Day 2015: It’s Our Turn to Lead
Image Credit: Earth Day Network

Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day 2015. The theme this year is “It’s our turn to lead.” Our leaders worldwide are dragging their feet in addressing global poverty and climate change. While they debate and make pledges they don’t keep, the degradation of Earth’s ecosystems won’t take a timeout.

In December 2015, around 40,000 world leaders and other participants will meet in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21). [Their] aim is to reach, for the first time, a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies. The stakes are high. To make this happen, we have to lead the way by raising our voices as one.

Individuals and organizations have already begun the transition process to renewable energy solutions by divesting from the fossil fuel industrial complex. As we have already experienced in changing from wood to coal to oil, energy transition is a slow, decades-long process. Resistance from the fossil fuel barons will be relentless.

To coincide with meetings at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), activities for Earth Day 2015 kicked off on April 18 in Washington D.C. with Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day, a free event organized by the Earth Day Network and The Global Poverty Project. For those who missed this event, there are several more activities planned in the United States and across our planet. Search here for events in your country.

The Earth Day Network is calling on cities and their leaders to go 100 percent renewable by 2050. To accelerate this transition, you can join the Green Cities Campaign.

In collaboration with other organizations, the Earth Day Network is also promoting the largest climate petition ever, calling on each one of us to do our part to keep the increase in the average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in December 2015, the Earth Day Network continues to work at achieving its goal of registering Two Billion Acts of Green for submission to the Conference. In committing to implement a small achievable action, like reducing our energy usage, we take the first step towards reducing our carbon footprint.

When we are unwilling to make the right choices for a more sustainable global economy and lifestyle, we will eventually be forced to do so. Just ask Governor Jerry Brown of California, my home state. Faced with our deepening water crisis after four consecutive years of drought, Brown admitted on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday April 5, that “we do live with a somewhat archaic water law situation… And I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a hoax. We’re dealing with it, and it’s damn serious.”

In the days and weeks ahead, let us join forces to show our world leaders a new direction forward. The survival of life on Earth is at stake. It’s our turn to lead.