Did you know that November 6-10 had been designated as Shout Out for the Climate Week? Probably not unless you're a British teacher using Friends of the Earth UK's curriculum "for key stage 3 pupils who want to become active on environmental issues," or a student in one of those courses. In retrospect, the label is incredibly appropriate, and not just for middle schoolers in the UK: "climate change" is a fitting label for all sorts of things that occurred this week:
- We noted that protests were planned around the globe for last Saturday in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting will run through the 14th, but already, new conference president Professor Kivutha Kibwana has spoken on the threat climate change poses to millions of the world's poorest people, and "called on Parties meeting in Nairobi to work together to ensure that tangible achievement is realised regarding adaptation to climate change." One tangible goal he seeks: "an agreement on how to manage the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund," especially since Africa is now almost guaranteed to "feel the heat" of the climate crisis even if the international community commits to a radical change of course on greenhouse gas emissions. A more positive and proactive statement came from the announcement by Nobel laureate Professor Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert of Monaco of the The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.
- We in the US have likely missed much about the UN conference, as we've been embroiled in our own bit of changing the climate -- the climate in Washington, anyway. While the Republican party's loss of both houses of Congress stemmed from voter frustration with the war in Iraq, recent corruption scandals, and concerns about national security, the US government's position on fighting climate change will likely be one issue to arise in the coming weeks and months. A number of winning House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maria Cantwell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry McNerney made energy and the environment visible parts of their campaign (thanks, Tom!), and it will be interesting to watch how these issues play out with new leadership in Washington, and the state capitals.