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Paris: Hope in the Face of Tragedy?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Nov 19, 2015 12:06:09 PM

The United Nations’ COP21 Climate Talks will take place as scheduled in Paris. Will the meetings unite global leaders around a common purpose to address terrorism in addition to environmental issues?

Despite the heartless, senseless attacks on Paris, the United Nations has confirmed that the COP21 climate talks will take place as scheduled next month. The meetings promise to unite nations around a central purpose—climate action. While the meetings will address one of the most urgent issues our time, I can’t help but wonder, will they foster enough goodwill and solidarity amongst global leaders to facilitate alignment around combating the growing threat of terrorism as well?


At the end of the day, both issues boil down to international safety. If our environment is degraded so much that we don’t have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink or enough food to eat, we ultimately have no security. If we have to live with the constant fear of terrorism, we have no quality of life. The two issues are, in some ways, inseparable and indistinguishable, particularly when it comes to protecting the livelihood and wellbeing of our global community.

160 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Egypt, have now submitted “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs)—commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, adopt renewable energy, clean up transportation, and take other actions to address the realities of our changing climate.

Will these nations take a similar stand against terrorism, committing to protecting themselves and their neighbors against the growing dangers of our time? Are we finally at a point where we can understand that life isn’t a zero-sum game—rather, it’s the synergistic sum of all of this planet’s precious creatures and beings?

How do we unite the global community so that we can work together to find solutions for the growing threat posed by environmental degradation and terrorism? Write to me at sara.gutterman@greenbuildermedia.com or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information about green building and sustainable living, visit Green Builder Media at www.greenbuildermedia.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for regular updates and breaking news.

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