Wednesday, November 17, 2021

We all did this

Dear Avaazers,

I'm writing this from Glasgow, full of hope, grief and pride.

After a campaigning marathon from Avaaz and many other inspiring activists, youth leaders, indigenous people and some governments, the deal signed at UN climate talks keeps our fight for survival alive -- just.

We secured some crucial victories in the battle to save our future, though the agreement still falls far short of what's needed. But what fills me with hope isn't about what governments agreed. It's what we did together, with thousands of activists and determined negotiators from countries on the climate frontline, to defend our beautiful planet and our people. Just look at what we got done… 

Ten awesome things we did together at COP26

Long before the talks began, Avaaz was funding incredible indigenous leaders to come to Glasgow and make their voices heard. They didn't get everything they wanted, but the final text secured some important language on indigenous rights, and a recognition of the role indigenous cultures have in guiding our response to climate change. And we also funded negotiators from developing countries and youth activists to come to the talks!

We rolled into town on the back of a series of hard hitting ads in Australia, Italy and Canada, all key power brokers on climate finance, demanding they unlock the talks and save lives by stumping up the 100 billion dollars that rich countries have promised but not yet delivered.

... and on day 1 of the talks, we launched one of the fastest growing campaigns we've ever run -- a clarion call for climate justice in partnership with four inspiring youth leaders: Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, Dominika Lasota, and Mitzi Tan. It reached 1.8 million signatures by the end of the talks! Together we got it all over the media just as world leaders were in town for the summit, and then we turned it onto a thirty page action plan that governments used in negotiations!

Then our actions team took the media by storm with a powerful rally to "End Climate Betrayal". Avaazers in Glasgow showed up on short notice and held up many of the letters in the photo... and the event gave voice to inspiring young people and indigenous leaders from all over the world to deliver a powerful call for real action, not empty words.

We partnered with parents groups fighting for their childrens' wellbeing, and helped get inspiring mothers all over the media calling for an end to fossil fuels. Here are six of these brave mothers delivering their call directly to Alok Sharma, the president of the conference.

Meanwhile, a crack team of researchers teamed up with analysts from other great organisations to track toxic disinformation narratives that could derail climate action or harm climate activists. When Brazilian trolls started spreading lies about an inspiring indigenous activist who helped open the talks, we investigated, and issued an alert to the media to call out the lies and correct the record.

Our advocacy team got busy writing our dream text for the deal, and shared it with literally hundreds of government officials and negotiators, persuading them to champion crucial action to keep climate safety within reach. Our work was particularly helpful to developing countries on the climate frontlines who had smaller delegations at the talks.

And when former US President Obama rocked up to meet youth leaders, we teamed up with them to greet him with a wave of pressure. We demanded he keep a crucial promise he made 12 years earlier in Copenhagen to deliver billions in climate finance to vulnerable countries, putting the issue firmly in the spotlight.

Meanwhile, the actions team joined up with an amazing group of artists and "Little Amal", a 3.5 metre tall puppet symbolising child refugees, who came to the talks to meet youth activists delivering our movement's campaign. Just look at this amazing photo!

Then as the negotiations reached crunch time, we turned up the heat on the blockers. When the US pushed back on keeping a crucial promise to deliver money to vulnerable countries, we published a hard hitting ad in the FT and delivered it to US Secretary of State John Kerry. Check it out!

And the media interest the ad created helped further raise the pressure for a breakthrough on finance, lending critical support to vulnerable countries at a key moment in negotiations.

It all culminated in a compromise deal that saw governments agree to rapidly increase their efforts to limit warming to the crucial target of 1.5 degrees, and deliver billions more in life saving money for countries on the frontline of the climate crisis. For the first time, there was a formal recognition of the need to reduce coal, the filthiest energy source, and to cut the trillions in taxpayers' money propping up fossil fuels.

But it's nowhere near enough. That's where the grief comes from. Glasgow could and should have done much, much more. People are already dying in climate disasters, and beautiful habitats are already being lost. Right now, we're on track for at least 2.4°C of warming, enough to create a global catastrophe that will be measured in extinctions of amazing plants and animals, forced displacements, and unimaginable human suffering. We need an utter transformation in the scale and ambition of climate action.

And we're going to get it. All over the world a powerful movement is rising. We're not alone. We're getting stronger and more powerful every day. And that's thanks to everyone who joined campaigns, funded our movement, showed up at protests, and made sure their voices were heard to secure the future we dream of, one where we live in peace with our planet. We won't give up until we've made that dream real.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Bert, with the whole Avaaz team in Glasgow and around the world.

Avaaz is a 65-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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