Epirus Declaration for Climate Democracy

On 24th of July 2019 we planetary citizens, representing all the continents, have gathered to demand representation in global decision-making on challenges, such as the climate crisis, which affect us all. To achieve this we demand: the creation of a United Nations parliament representing everyone; an executive to complement this legislature; and, to ensure justice, the creation of a world court with the competency to prosecute environmental crimes, holding states, corporations, other non-state actors and individuals accountable with universal jurisdiction.

In a world of effective global governance, resources currently dedicated to national security must be redirected to global security, and in particular living sustainably on our planet. It should be a human right to enjoy a healthy environment, and our duty to protect the rights of the environment for the future generations.

As the legitimate forum to achieve these democratic ideals, we urgently demand that the San Francisco Promise be upheld to convene the United Nations Charter review and renewal process. 

Let “we the peoples” govern the world!

Expressions of support are welcome on Avaaz.org.

Canadian Among Youth Convened for Democratic Solutions to Climate Crisis

A passionate group of youth activists from all continents spent the last week of July in intensive training to become Climate Ambassadors with the recently founded Center for United Nations Constitutional Research (CUNCR). Part of the training was held in the Mediterranean—a known climate hotspot.

Climate Democracy Summit attendees deliberate over what to include in the Epirus Declaration for Climate Democracy in Vitsa, Greece, July 2019. Photo by Andre Maraz.

Activists gathered in the Epirus mountains with leading legal scholars and CUNCR research fellows to exchange and develop humanitarian and democratic solutions to the climate crisis. In addition to training as Climate Ambassadors the group co-authored the Epirus Declaration (full text below) during a two-day hackathon calling for climate democracy and justice by means of a UN parliament and a world court for the environment.

“With just over a decade to end unsustainable relationships to the Earth, we need mechanisms to hold individuals, corporations, state representatives, and non-state actors accountable for climate crime. We also need global environmental law enforcement to achieve climate democracy and livable conditions for future generations,” says Christine Leclerc, a Climate Ambassador from Canada.

From left to right at Zagori Philoxenia Hotel in Vitsa, Greece: Camila Lopez Badra (Climate Ambassador, Argentina), Gator Halpern (Climate Ambassador, U.S.), Sebastiano Putoto (Young European Federalists), Christine Leclerc (Climate Ambassador, Canada), Yana Prokofyeva (Climate Ambassador, France), Hanna Cordeiro (Climate Ambassador, Brazil). Photo by Anna Bryanchaninova.

An ambitious action plan, including lobbying, networking, outreach, education, and fundraising was devised. The plan, once implemented, will significantly increase awareness of planetary citizens, politicians and academics on climate governance in the months to come.

Currently, nation states vote on global issues at the United Nations, rather than we the peoples. Democracy at the global level and a world court for the environment would give all peoples a voice and an accountability mechanism for emissions targets, for example. “We need global governance for issues of global impact, such as the climate crisis. That’s why I’ve signed on to the Epirus Declaration and encourage all in Canada to do the same,” says Leclerc.

Epirus Declaration for Climate Democracy

On 24th of July 2019 we planetary citizens, representing all the continents, have gathered to demand representation in global decision-making on challenges, such as the climate crisis, which affect us all. To achieve this we demand: the creation of a United Nations parliament representing everyone; an executive to complement this legislature; and, to ensure justice, the creation of a world court with the competency to prosecute environmental crimes, holding states, corporations, other non-state actors and individuals accountable with universal jurisdiction.

In a world of effective global governance, resources currently dedicated to national security must be redirected to global security, and in particular living sustainably on our planet. It should be a human right to enjoy a healthy environment, and our duty to protect the rights of the environment for the future generations.

As the legitimate forum to achieve these democratic ideals, we urgently demand that the San Francisco Promise be upheld to convene the United Nations Charter review and renewal process. 

Let “we the peoples” govern the world!

Expressions of support are welcome at Avaaz.org.

Where Can I Learn Key Concepts In Climate Science?

This stratified silt deposit represents seasonal deposition of fine particles into Glacial Lake Thompson. Climate science on paleoclimates could focus on this type of deposit to learn more about past climates.

Have you seen a documentary about climate change and the impact it’s having in communities around the world? If so, you likely understand how the greenhouse effect works. You’ve probably also seen important climate science graphs that reflect how much carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere or the rate of retreat for many of the world’s largest glaciers.

But how do people who practice climate science come up with and make sense of these graphs? The following free online courses provide insight into key concepts in climate science. Each course is self-paced and developed by experts in the field.

  1. Climate Change: The Science | Available on the University of British Columbia’s edX platform, this course is taught by oceanographer and paleoclimate expert Dr. Sara Harris. Topics covered:
    • carbon and energy flows
    • climate modelling
    • climate history
    • forecasting
       
  2. Introductory e-Course On Climate Change | This course is offered through One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership. You’ll need to set up an account to take this course, but it’s free and takes under a minute. The e-course is broken down into six two-hour segments, the first of which deals with climate science. But why not take part in the entire course? Topics covered:
    • climate science
    • climate policy
    • climate change adaptation
    • climate change mitigation
    • climate finance

    Those who complete this course are awarded a certificate.

  3. Atmosphere, Ocean and Environmental Change | Offered by Yale’s Dr. Ronald Smith, this is a full length course that goes into greater detail on the natural laws that effect Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. This course can be downloaded through the iTunes U app. Topics covered:
    • introduction to atmospheres
    • retaining an atmosphere
    • perfect gas law
    • vertical structure of the atmosphere
    • Earth systems analysis
    • greenhouse effect
    • hydrostatic balance
    • horizontal transport
    • water in the atmosphere
    • clouds an precipitation
    • coriolis force
    • convective storms
    • frontal cyclones
    • seasons
    • ocean bathymetry
    • ice
    • evidence for climate change
    • ocean currents
    • global warming
    • climate sensitivity and human populations
    • energy resources
    • renewable energy

Are there other courses you’d recommend to the online community? Which topics do you look forward to learning more about?

5 Star Wars / Exoplanet Climate Connections You May Have Missed

An image of planet Tatooine from Star Wars.

This year I studied climate with a professor who liked to use examples from exoplanets to help students learn key concepts in climate science. Star Wars introduces over 750 planets several of which we know the climates of. What are the top five climate connections you may have missed?  Read on to find out.

  1. Planets with oxygen-filled atmospheres and life possess a variety of climate zones and would not be all swamp or desert as Dagobah and Tatooine.  See “Hey, What’s Up With The Planets In Star Wars?” by Leslie Pitt for analysis from volcanologist Dr. Andrews and astrophysicist Dr. Carpineti.
  2. Dr. Andrews and Dr. Carpineti discuss how it would be unrealistic for a life-supporting planet’s surface to be all desert or all swamp, but Climate Central points out that an all ice-covered planet can exist. See Climate Central‘s take in “The Star Wars Universe & Planetary Climates.”
  3. A planet’s atmosphere is responsible for whether it has colourful sunsets. The colourful sunsets we’re used to on Earth arise from light scattered by the particles that make up the atmosphere. NASA scientists ponder what sunset on a Star Wars universe planet could look like in “Are Star Wars-like planets really out there?
  4. It’s hard to say how water would remain available to support life on a desert planet, but astrophysicist Dr. Greg Laughlin believes a planet like Tatooine would be more resilient to climate change than an ocean planet like Earth because its water-free surface would not be as good at trapping incoming solar radiation as our planet is. See more in Wired‘s “Could the Planets in Star Wars Actually Support Life?
  5. Molecular biologist Dr. David Ng has painstakingly crafted a “Tatooine Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC) report, in part as a pedagogical tool, but also to help inspire us all to pay attention to IPCC reports about our own planet.  When’s the last time you had a look at the latest on our changing climate?