Thursday, July 2, 2020

Labor Unions & CEOs Stand United for the Paris Agreement

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Here’s a piece of good news to get your decade off to a running start…

Last month, before we ushered in the 20s, a powerful statement of solidarity was issued in favor of the Paris Climate Agreement, in the form of “United for the Paris Agreement.”

Americans banded together to support the Paris agreement.

A vast assortment of labor unions and CEOs, representing more than 12.5 million U.S. workers from the realms of energy, education, transportation, government, retail, manufacturing, construction, communications, and health, collectively signed a crisp, impassioned letter reinforcing the importance of the Paris Agreement while acknowledging the mounting urgency of climate change.

Their views aligned with those of the vast majority of registered U.S. voters, along with over 4,000 U.S. businesses, cities, and states, that wish for the U.S. to be aligned with the Paris Agreement’s critical objectives. More than three-quarters of American voters deem the Paris Agreement worthwhile. Regardless, this position stands in contrast to that of the current White House, which made a point of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement early on.

We celebrate the meaningful gains and shows of unity.

Those with a vested interest in combating climate change tend to watch its worsening impacts and feel increasingly disempowered. The presence of a presidential administration that has worked to shelve and invalidate climate concerns has only added to the sense of widespread despair. It’s important, therefore, to celebrate the meaningful gains and shows of unity.

It was 14 years ago when Al Gore’s galvanizing documentary framed the climate crisis as “An Inconvenient Truth.” Although the truth certainly remains inconvenient, it no longer has to be framed in that way, as it’s now a truth that’s known to us all: unsurprising; undeniable; a bare, raw fact of contemporary life.

In other words, we’ve moved on from lamenting its inconvenience to collectively acknowledging its reality. Not all of us, certainly—but enough of us.

Through “United for the Paris Agreement,” millions of voices spoke at once.

Millions of minds and souls insisted upon a single, solitary truth: the Paris Agreement is historic, essential, and here to stay.

And it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. gets back on board.

In the meantime, hang in there. Do your steady, daily, grinding work for the cause of progress. And as you do so, know that you’re far from alone.

  • Note that 88% of CEOs “believe our global economic systems need to refocus on equitable growth.” In other words, they’re thinking about the simultaneous need to tackle both climate change and inequality.
  • Note also that a variety of peer-reviewed journal studies show an agreement among at least 97% of climate scientists that this past century’s warming trends have stemmed from human behavior.
  • Note, in addition, that not only are Americans who believe in and are worried about climate change in the majority but that that majority is constantly growing.

This isn’t conformity; it’s a scientific reality. This isn’t hardening groupthink; it is dawning awareness. Not long ago, the climate conversation was much slower and quieter. Now it’s loud and rushing.

And unavoidable.

You work among millions. You stand among millions.

You will rise among millions, too.

Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer and filmmaker. Called "the next Philip K. Dick" by author Kealan Patrick Burke, Shapiro is the author of six critically acclaimed fiction books, among them the novella "It's Only Temporary" (2005), which appeared on Nightmare Magazine's list of the Top 100 Horror Books, and numerous short stories published in anthologies alongside work by H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, and many others. His nonfiction articles have been published on The Daily Dot, Ravishly, and The Good Men Project.

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