Overcoming Fear and Embracing Action…Guest Post by Kelly Rigg

Women in the world – IWECI Summit delegate series

Featuring the 100 women attending the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit along with Natalie Isaacs, 1MW CEO and Founder, in New York from September 20-23.

Written by Kelly Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) (Netherlands)

In 1988, shortly after the birth of my first child, the reality of climate change hit home for the first time.  Sure, I had learned about the greenhouse effect in school. But it all seemed so theoretical. Now suddenly scientists were speaking out with greater urgency, sounding the alarm.  One evening, presented with the latest scientific projections, it dawned on me just how radically the world was likely to change in my daughter’s lifetime.  And I was devastated.

IMG_6507Fortunately, I was working for Greenpeace at the time. I say fortunately, because I soon discovered that the greatest antidote to fear was getting active, campaigning to save the climate.

Fast forward 20 years and another child whose future I needed to worry about. The impacts of climate change — record heat waves, devastating forest fires, monster weather events, and diminishing Arctic sea ice — became increasingly hard to deny.

The fossil fuel industries had done their utmost to undermine progress, but with the Copenhagen climate conference approaching in December 2009, many were convinced that saving the climate was an idea whose time had come. A new alliance — the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) — brought together some of the world’s most influential organizations to work for a fair, ambitious and binding global agreement.  The logo for the campaign was TckTckTck, a ticking clock signifying the need for urgency and action.  In 2009 I was as an adviser to the campaign, and have served since 2010 as its Executive Director.

Although governments in Copenhagen failed to deliver the agreement we wanted, many did – for the first time – adopt climate targets and legislation to implement them.

Unfortunately, the promises on the table are insufficient to keep global temperature rise below 2°C, a goal that world leaders have committed to, let alone a safer 1.5°C goal that more than 100 countries have called for.

While the climate negotiations continue to move forward, our movement for climate action is expanding.  We continue to work to influence governments at major international meetings, but we’re also seeing a huge wave of activism against the expansion of dangerous and dirty climate-killing industries: coal, tar sands, Arctic oil drilling, and fracking. People are speaking out against taxpayer funds and tax breaks being used to increase the profits of these polluters. They’re questioning where their pension funds are going, and calling for fossil fuel divestment. The deployment of renewable energy is expanding so fast that the clean energy revolution is no longer a distant hope but a reality in the making.

And that gives me hope for my children.

Kelly Rigg speaks at the Earth Day Rally in Washington, DC, April 22, 2012

  • A bit more: Kelly Rigg is the Executive Director of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), a global network of 400 organizations (www.tcktcktck). She has been leading international campaigns for more than 30 years on climate, energy, oceans, Antarctica and other issues. She was a senior campaign director for Greenpeace International for 20 years. After leaving Greenpeace she went on to found the Varda Group consultancy providing campaign and strategic advice to a wide range of NGOs, and led the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition’s campaign to protect the high seas from destructive bottom fishing. She joined the GCCA in 2009.
  • See the full list of IWECI summit delegates here.

Don’t forget to head over to our website! We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au

Woman in the world – Sharing the stories of inspiring woman around the world who are taking action on climate change.

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