Wednesday May 22, 2019

Denis Hayes- Earth Day Founder Predicts 2020 will be Turning Point in Global Climate Change Movement

"I'm confident that the end is in sight. When conditions are right, people are ready to demand change, and America can turn on a dime," Hayes told reporters

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earth day, climate change
FILE - A man walks past a mural the day before Earth Day, in Philadelphia, April 21, 2017. VOA

Denis Hayes, the man credited with founding Earth Day, predicted 2020 will be a turning point in the global climate change movement.

“I’m confident that the end is in sight. When conditions are right, people are ready to demand change, and America can turn on a dime,” Hayes told reporters Monday during a news conference on Earth Day, which he helped established in 1970.

Hayes said people around the world are demanding change, especially the young, and that makes him optimistic.

earth day, google doodle
FILE – An environmental militant shows an orange, painted as a globe, during an event to mark the Earth Overshoot Day on Aug. 1, 2018 in Berlin. It marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. VOA

“It recently happened in the United States on gay marriage. It more recently happened in New Zealand on gun control. It happened globally on the ozone hole,” Hayes said.

Tens of thousands of students around the world skipped school for one day last month to protest inaction on climate change. There were protests in South Africa, India, New Zealand and South Korea. In Europe, students packed streets in London, Lisbon, Vienna, Rome and Copenhagen, among other cities.

Mass climate change protests have been taking place in London for the past week. On Monday, police said they have arrested 1,065 people since Extinction Rebellion began, aimed at paralyzing parts of central London to emphasize the need for sharp reductions in carbon use.

earth day, climate change
FILE – Youths demonstrate with a banner reading “the greed for profit destroys our earth!” during the “Fridays For Future” movement on a global day of student protests aiming to spark world leaders into action on climate change, March 15, 2019 in Berlin. VOA

ALSO READ: Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day with Series of Animations on Six Unique Inhabitants on Earth

“Most social movements are powered by youth,” he told reporters.

Hayes said even though U.S. President Donald Trump has “taken a wrecking ball to international climate treaties, appointed the two worst EPA administrators in history, and pledged to resuscitate the dead coal industry, I’m confident that the end is in sight.” (VOA)

Next Story

EU Countries Consume Earth’s Resources Faster than they can be Renewed: Report

Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying "Broken Climate Broken Future"

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earth's resources
France's President Emmanuel Macron, right, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speak during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. VOA

The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies, a report released Thursday said, as EU leaders met to discuss priorities for the next five years.

“All EU countries are living beyond the means of our planet. The EU and its citizens are currently using twice more than the EU ecosystems can renew,” the report by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Global Footprint Network said. It was issued as leaders met in the Romanian city of Sibiu to set the course for the bloc after Britain’s planned departure from the EU.

Climate change key priority

French President Emmanuel Macron said before the summit that climate change was among his key priorities and it was included in the bloc’s 10 “commitments” for the future until 2024, agreed by all the 27 leaders meeting in Sibiu.

earth's resources
The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies. Pixabay

But the bloc is divided on how to achieve any ambitious climate goals and it remains far from clear how the Sibiu declaration would be implemented. Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.”

“We cannot talk about a prosperous future without a healthy climate,” Greenpeace climate activist Alin Tanase told Reuters. Views on concrete action to be taken to combat climate change differ between EU countries, influenced greatly by their dominant industries, such as carmakers in Germany or the coal industry in Poland.

Tusk sensitive to climate change

The chairman of the summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, said there was no future for politicians who were not sensitive to climate change and environment protection issues.

“The young generation is much more united on this than the member states. The truth is that nothing has changed when it comes to this divide and different opinions about this. What is new is this very fresh and energetic pressure,” he told a news conference after the summit.

climate change, earth's resources
Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.” VOA

Climate protection and sustainable development is also an important topic in the election campaign for the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, which will influence the leadership of European institutions and their programs.

The European Commission has been pushing for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050 through reducing carbon emissions that will otherwise boost the Earth’s average temperatures with devastating consequences.

“The EU uses up almost 20 percent of the Earth’s bio-capacity although it comprises only 7 percent of the world population,” the WWF report said. “In other words, 2.8 planets would be needed if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident,” it said.

climate change, earth's resources
FILE – Climate change demonstrators hold banners in front of the Winston Churchill Statue during a protest near Parliament in London, April 12, 2019. VOA

ALSO READ: Billionaire Jeff Bezos Reveals Mockup of Lunar Lander, Embraces Trump’s Moon Timetable

Luxembourg smallest but fastest

It said the EU’s smallest and richest country, Luxembourg, was also the one which used up renewable resources the fastest last year. Just 46 days into the year, it had consumed its full share of the Earth’s resources, it said.

The EU’s poorest nation, Romania, took the longest to arrive at that point, on July 12th. But that was still earlier than the world’s average of Aug. 1, called Earth overshoot day. (VOA)