If you’re going to ask Drs. Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle to discuss the future of the planet, you may as well invite them to one of the most spectacular venues in Paris. That probably sounds like hyperbole, since Paris is not lacking in spectacular venues, but words can’t really do justice to the vaulted frescoes of the Petit Palais, nor what it’s like to watch two titans of conservation tell you stories under the spears of light scattered by its countless windows.
Earth to Paris was a train of moments like that, all rushing past with seldom a pause between them. As soon as I arrived I was ping-ponged between the main hall and the bustling press room below, catching the cantankerous quips of California Governor Jerry Brown and then ducking into a cloistered interview with Dr. Laura Stachel, grabbing a cup of water and then taking a swim with some dolphins courtesy of RYOT’s 360° VR helmet.
A coalition of more than 110 global partners that are urging the planet to take strong climate action, Earth to Paris was designed as a “high-impact, global, multi-lingual, live streamed summit” in conjunction with COP21. While inviting experts, advocates, private sector leaders, bloggers, journalists and digital influencers of all kinds to join the party, Good and the World Resources Institute organized an enormous Twitter chat to raise awareness about the Paris climate talks and how they will affect the environment for generations to come.
Planet Experts spoke to nearly a dozen guests at Earth to Paris, from Dr. Sylvia Earle herself to 15-year-old Earth Guardianz activist Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh, National Geographic’s Joel Sartore and actor Adrian Grenier.
It was a huge event, and with such high-profile speakers and guests, the tag #EarthToParis made nearly one billion online impressions this week, reaching an estimated 50 million individuals worldwide.
Will this event change the outcome of COP21? Given how intensely delegates are working towards an international agreement that satisfies all 194 parties, the water’s still murky. What we can see is that it is looking increasingly less likely that COP21 will result in a 2°C cap; most experts I spoke to said the UNFCC’s draft puts the planet at 3.5°C warming by the end of the century, and one even said it could reach as high as 6°C.
Yet with so many digital impressions made, Earth to Paris has definitely had an impact on the ground, and that is what it set out to do. That’s why #EarthToParis and other social events that call for climate action are so essential moving forward. By taking these issues straight to the people, it becomes a problem everybody has a stake in fixing.
I spoke to several men and women who are trying to do just that.
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