From November 30th - December 11th, delegates from around the world will gather in Paris at what is projected to be the most significant conference on climate change in history. It was hoped that the negotiations, known as COP21, would outline a universal, binding agreement to tackle global warming. In the wake of the barbaric attacks that occurred in the French capital on 13th November, certain plans for the summit have been altered. Questions have also been raised about what can realistically be achieved and whether climate change will be given the attention it needs in both the media and discussions between world leaders. Despite the inevitable disruption following the attacks, the potential of COP21 has to remain intact - as the irrefutable catalyst we need to reduce carbon emissions once and for all, and ultimately save our planet. We cannot let terrorism draw our gaze from the subject - there is too much at stake.
In response to security concerns for the summit, the French government has refused to authorise a number of public demonstrations and events planned in the capital while tens of thousands of people, including key stakeholders, have also withdrawn their attendance. In response 350.org, the organisation behind the climate marches, defiantly responded: "Our voices will not be silenced...we will still find a way for people in Paris to make the call for climate justice heard, and we encourage everyone around the world to join a Global Climate March and raise their voices louder than ever. There's never been a greater need." He's right - there hasn't - and it is now up to people around the world to respond.
Currently, debates over national securities are drowning out climate concerns. Over the next two weeks especially, it is absolutely crucial that, as a global population, we re-engage the topic of increasing temperatures into conversation and campaign more than ever for the changes governments need to make to ensure our planet's future. We are already half way to the danger zone of two degrees of warming. October was the warmest in history and the sixth month in a row that has broken global temperature records.
The determination and hope from environmentalists, activists and the majority of people who don't want to witness the melting of polar ice caps - which would bring a plethora of damaging and destabilising effects including further conflict - has to remain intact. For so long has climate campaigning relied on the spirit of people. Emma Ruby-Sachs, Deputy Director of Avaaz, who co-ordinated the planned march in Paris alongside 350.org echoes this, "Now it's even more important for people everywhere to march...and show that we are more determined than ever to meet the challenges facing humanity with hope, not fear."
The unjustifiable crimes of perpetrators who show no contempt for the loss of innocent, civilian life must not be allowed to impede a cooperative approach to safeguarding the future of the planet. The necessary outcome of COP21 is a tangible, united plan that will eradicate carbon emissions and contribute to lasting peace. To achieve this, we need to participate, we need to stay optimistic and we need to push our governments to deliver.
To find out about how you can get involved, visit: http://350.org/