The landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 had an aggressive target of limiting the global increase in temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2030, along with specific steps to get there by joint global action. By the time the world met again in 2021, we mostly observed countries with the largest manufacturing & mining base dragging their feet, politics (especially the Trump era in the US) and global commerce not accepting much responsibility on this issue. Science got squeezed by popular politics and profit concerns.

On the positive side, we had 15-year-old Greta Thunberg protesting outside Swedish parliament in 2018, and a new generation of activists (our future leaders, however you look at it) from UK to Japan following her lead. Greta continues to make a difference with little political backing, no “media” hype (traditional media was a follower of independent social media, in this case) and direct calls for global action. COVID pandemic also created meaningful examples of nature healing itself fast (if left alone) and a significant awareness on the value of a healthy and happy nature. In my opinion, ownership of the subject by Gen X+Y+Z, helped by their direct experiences during the COVID pandemic, is the single most important change that created a positive momentum on treating nature better. Although a secondary effect on my list, I applaud both EU commissions and US EPA for creating, refining and sharing greenhouse gas measurement models, and many conscientious businesses starting to measure and report on their carbon footprint in the past few years.

Looking forward, it is up to each one of us try to treat nature better every day. We still have ways to go. There is no plan(et) B. Every small step counts. Always remember: nature does not need us to survive, as it has adjusted-survived-and-flourished many times before; we need a friendly nature to survive as a species.

I would love to hear your thoughts on significant initiatives, achievements and/or neglect on this topic.

Link to Part I – Paris 2015
Link to EU report
Link to US EPA guidance