Editor's Note: Pulse environmental columnist Sandra Kurtz and Sierra Club Student Coalition youth reporter Wenona Kunesh are in Paris, attending the UN Climate Change Conference. This is their final report from the conference.
Over the past two weeks I have learned a lot about environmental issues. There are the melting poles leading to sea rise, the endangered bird migrations, and the destruction of people’s homes. There’s more to it than just saving polar bears.
At COP21 there are many different opinions about how to keep the Earth temperature down and everyone has a part of the challenge.
With water conservation as my special interest, I have learned how bad fracking is and how it effects people’s lives. Thursday night, I watched Groundswell Rising, a video that showed people whose drinking water was ruined by fracking within 100 feet of their property.
These days, if you want to use your car, someone has to make the gasoline. To get gasoline you have to drill and the drill people say “I’m going to drill in your backyard so you can use you car”. It’s a circle we can get out of by using renewables and electric cars.
It’s down to the wire and sadly we will likely be on a plane back to Chattanooga as the final COP21 agreement is presented.
Countries are still at loggerheads on some key issues -- how much money to deliver after 2020 and from whom, a strong long-term goal and aim to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and a way to review and ratchet up countries' emissions targets every five years. The lower the temperature target, the more likely islands and their people will survive.
The next rendition (and hopefully last) of the agreement is to come out tomorrow at 9 a.m. Paris time. No matter what agreement is made its success will certainly depend on our pushing for action toward the goal. Momentum is on our side.
One of the posters hanging in the exhibition hall says “Dinosaurs faced something similar and they also did nothing.” If we don’t act who will?