The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
“Green Spaces as Far as the Eye Can See”: My Experience at Climate Week
By Ivanna D’Alencon on November 6, 2023
Ivanna D’Alencon, UUSC’s Campaign Strategist and Coordinator, recently attended Climate Week NYC, an annual week-long event that brings together more than 500 events and activities across the Big Apple to call attention to the climate crisis and effective solutions driven by the communities most impacted. Below are her reflections on the event.
If you’ve never heard of Climate Week New York City, let me paint a quick picture for you. Over 600 climate-related events hosted across New York’s five boroughs, thousands of people—from climate activists to industry experts to global leaders—in attendance, 75,000 people on the streets for the March Against Fossil Fuels, and throughout it all, people coming together to figure out how to quickly implement climate solutions before we run out of time.
Because we are running out of time. There was a heightened sense of urgency present in every single panel and discussion I attended: the very real fear that we will not be able to stop global warming at 1.5°C, all because our global leaders refuse to take the bold action needed to mitigate the worst of this climate crisis. It feels bleak, but if I took anything away from my time at Climate Week it’s that there’s always hope as long as we have each other’s backs.
There was also a running theme of a much-needed course correction when we talk about climate solutions. Currently, global leaders are simplifying the climate crisis to an economic one. This is dangerous because instead of looking for ways to protect our communities, leaders are just looking for ways to boost the economy. A just transition must look beyond clean energy and jobs, it must also provide reparations, healing, and true justice for the frontline communities that contribute the least to climate change, yet suffer the most from its impacts.
Hearing about the many ways that Indigenous peoples, BIPOC women, and young folks from around the world are finding solutions, organizing, and dreaming together gave me a renewed sense of optimism. I want to uplift a few of the amazing organizations and coalitions that I had the privilege of sharing space with during Climate Week. Check them out and support them in any way you can!
- Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change: One of UUSC’s partners, PISFCC is leading a visionary campaign to take the world’s biggest problem to the world’s highest court. Pacific Island Nations are seeking an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the topic of climate change and human rights. Learn more here and here.
- Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network: “A solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.” Learn more here.
- International Funders for Indigenous Peoples: “International Funders for Indigenous Peoples seeks to transform the relationship between the funding world and Indigenous Peoples to one of mutual understanding and benefit. It recognizes the urgent need for solutions that are led and understood by Indigenous Peoples not only to improve lives in Indigenous communities, but also as a resource for solving social, economic and environmental challenges around the world for everyone.” Learn more here.
Finally, we talk a lot about the things we don’t want to see in our future so let’s start naming what we do want to see. I dream of green spaces as far as the eye can see, people living in harmony with nature and with each other, a world where the norm is people over profit and everyone has what they need to thrive.
What are you dreaming of?
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