Earthshot - we need another giant leap for humanity
20 Jul 2009
Forty years ago Neil Armstrong took "one giant leap for mankind" when he set foot on the moon, an achievement that looks ever more remarkable as time passes.
For me, one of the striking things about the Apollo Project is that when President Kennedy made his famous declaration in 1961 about landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade, many scientists thought it was too challenging or unrealistic a goal. But with political will and resources it was achieved.
Forty years on we are in desperate need of another giant leap for humanity. This time, the challenge is not to show that we can reach another world, but that we can live safely on our own. We need to start bringing down global greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and irreversibly by the end of the next decade to have a shot at maintaining a climate safe for human civilization. This time, the scientists say this goal is imperative and achievable but the politicians are complaining it is too challenging or unrealistic.
In fact, we know what is unrealistic is to hope that humanity can live in peace and prosperity in a world turned upside down by runaway climate change. This time, therefore, we the people cannot afford to be mere spectators; we must become participants.
Friends of the Earth is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, organized in 70 countries. In each of those countries we are campaigning to ensure that the political leaders who represent us at the Copenhagen climate summit in December know that the only acceptable outcome is a deal strong enough to deliver safety and fair enough to deliver justice.
Here in Ireland our campaigning for a climate change law is having an impact. A law in advance of Copenhagen would show that, this time, Ireland is serious about playing its part. A climate law can be the cornerstone of a low-carbon recovery that creates sustainable jobs. But we are not there yet and only sustained public mobilization will get us there.
Today, you can take one small step. You can can join Friends of the Earth. Together, we can make the giant leap to sustainability.
Friends of the Earth
P.S. We have one shot at maintaining a safe climate. Earthshot, if you will. Let's make the leap.