On Saturday, the 12th of December, at noon (that is 12-12-12), thousands of people will gather in the streets of Paris carrying red flowers to honour past and future victims of climate change, driven by respect, determination and hope.
This gathering is about respect.
It’s about respecting the laws… of physics. We know that the agreement discussed at Le Bourget comes up way short, putting the world on a path to a three-degree Celsius increase in temperature or more. That’s a grave failure, given the fact that we’re already seeing dangerous consequences of climate change.
It’s about respecting those who have already died from the effects of global warming—from New Orleans a decade ago to Chennai a week ago. The people hurt the most are those who’ve done the least to cause this problem, which makes climate change the ultimate injustice in an unjust world.
It’s about respecting those who will die in the future—we bring flowers to lay at their feet as well, because the inaction of our leaders for the last decades has already doomed so many, in low-lying islands and on high melting glaciers, in pasture land turning to desert and tundra turning to swamp.
It’s about respecting each other as a movement—the leadership that comes from frontline communities and Indigenous Peoples, and the strong commitments we’ve made to each other to stay peaceful, non-violent, and loving.
We know that our leaders have shown little respect—not for the rights of people on a planet torn by inequality and racism, nor for the red lines for a just and livable planet. Lines we should dare not violate. So we will stand with our bodies to draw red lines, committed to protect our common home from burning up.
And we know that the richest, biggest companies on earth have shown no respect at all, not even for basic truth. They have lied about the consequences of climate change, and they continue to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into searching for more carbon. They are outlaws.
We are not. We are just citizens, who want finally for those in power to show respect for the red lines that scientists have drawn, that people have paid for with their lives, and which we will, today and in the years ahead, do our best to make real. We—and our children, and their children—deserve it. And we demand it.