Yeb Saño and the Fast for the Climate Movement at COP21
I arrived in Paris yesterday for the Paris climate talks, officially known as Conference of Parties or COP21. The ultimate goal of COP21 is a binding agreement signed by world leaders that will reduce global carbon emissions to limit global warming to 2C or 3.6F. COP21 began Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 11.
I was looking forward to my first evening as I was hoping to get the chance to meet Yeb Saño, a former Philippine climate commissioner, who embarked on a 930-mile walk from Rome to Paris to arrive just in time for the climate talks.
I have been a long-time admirer of Saño ever since he gave an impassioned plea demanding climate action at the United Nations negotiations in Warsaw in 2013, just days after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit his country. Watch here:
Soon after I arrived at the event, I saw Saño and had the chance to ask him a couple questions.
First, I asked him what his greatest hope was for COP21. “Well I have an aspiration for COP21 to be the miracle that it should be," he replied. "We have been walking from Rome to Paris for close to 650 days. We have hope in our hearts that the miracle can happen here in Paris. It is really the only one that can provide the success that the world deserves. So I ask world leaders, please do not stand in the way from that miracle happening. I appeal to them that they look into their hearts and hear the clammer for change and transformation, and build a future that is safe, peaceful, harmonious and sustainable.”
I asked him what else he’d like EcoWatch readers to know. “There are tons of things I want to say, but I want to talk about this particular moment right now where we are celebrating the Fast for the Climate for what it has become," Saño said.
"It is now a big family, a global family of people from different cultures, different spiritual traditions, different creeds and different nationalities. It is a beautiful paradox and I think we are all united in solidarity with our common purpose of building that beautiful future for all of us and our children. Solidarity is not some alternative in our current circumstances as we face the climate crisis. Solidarity is our only chance. And that means solidarity across faiths, solidarity across generations and solidarity across boarders."
Last night’s event was the culmination of a one-day fast where thousands of people from more than 90 countries fasted in solidarity with vulnerable people and to call for a just transition toward a safe climate future. The purpose of the evening event was to break the fast and join together to celebrate unity across faiths, cultures and continents as well as civil society’s global leadership toward climate action.
The dinner featured sustainable, local, seasonal vegetarian food cooked by Climate Delicious (Bon pour le climat), and performances from prominent music and spoken word artists.
Saño was joined last night by faith leaders including archbishops, imams, rabbis, general secretaries and bishops, civil society leaders, Marshallese poet and Climate Summit 2014 speaker Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Earth Guardians founder Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, amongst 200 other participants.
This was hardly the the first time people fasted for the climate. The event in Paris and others like it worldwide celebrate the global growth of the Fast for the Climate movement. Saño helped ignite the Fast for the Climate movement during his speech at the UN Warsaw climate talks when he declared, "I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight."
I will be attending many more events throughout the next 10 days. Stay tuned to EcoWatch's COP21 page for the latest news on the Paris climate talks.
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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