Two moments define the life of a person: the day you are born and the day you realize why. The first one for me was January 20th, 1981. The second is today. For today I’ve found, and accepted with eagerness, the reason for my being, the purpose of my life.
Green hearts at the People’s Climate March. Barcelona, September 21, 2014
A good coach would tell you that your place in the Universe is determined by the intersection of three spheres: what you love (passion), what you’re good at (ability) and what the world needs from you (contribution). In my case, the pieces of the puzzle have come together naturally over the last few years:
- I like challenges and rising myself above the circumstances to meet them. I love helping other passionate beings fulfill their dreams and, in the process, share a bit of our lives together, enjoy and give back. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.“
- I’m good at committing myself to a good cause and sticking to it no matter what. I’m rather decent at designing a good strategy to effectively attain a goal, given limited resources. But, above all, I think I’m darn good at executing, at acting and motivating other people to join in the fun. One day, I’ll even be awesome at leading by example 🙂
- Concerning the world we live in, we all know what is happening out there (growing economic inequalities, massive extinction of species, irreversible Climate Change …), and where we are headed to if we look away and continue the “business as usual” path (civilization collapse as NASA boldly put it). Personally, I’ve always been very close to Nature, having spent my childhood in the awe-inspiring Spanish middle-earth plains, and can’t and won’t surrender to the idea of a devastated, lifeless planet. Having seen and experienced Earth’s wonders I want my kids to be able to enjoy this oasis of opportunities as much as I did, and then commit, as I have, to protect and preserve it for what is worth, for their children, and the children of their children. Yes, we’re mere passing beings but, in a glimpse of eternity, we can pass on love, for one another and for our Home and Mother.
Mix it all up and you’ve my equation: a Climate activist (350 BCN), an eco-entrepreneur (Impact Hub Barcelona) and a citizen in transition, as I like to think of myself. Being well aware of my many shortcomings, I’m willing to put on the necessary effort to keep improving everyday, both as an individual and a member of the Human Race.
Enough of me. Let’s shift the focus now to what really matters: the movement. That abstract yet all-mighty concept that gives meaning to my individual existence and direction to my contribution. The People’s Climate that is. The People’s Climate, what a powerful statement. The People’s Climate, our climate. We choose what to do with it. Neither governments nor multinationals, but we, the people. Taking personal and collective responsibility for our actions, we decide the course of our story. We, together as one, decide to preserve a livable, green and just planet for future generations. We decide to live.
Copenhagen (COP15, 2009) was the reality-check. It marked the end of a failed era (top-down approach, with governments blinded by their own diverging interests and the UN hand-tied by its inability to find common ground) and the emergence of a potentially game-changing one: the Climate Movement. Yes, we were born in Copenhagen, right outside the COP’s main venues, where civil society organizations and citizens of all sorts and origins joined forces and worked hand in hand, at a large scale, for the very first time. Our so-called leaders failed us, big time. No meaningful agreement was reached. But, although the hard way, an important lesson was learned that winter in Denmark: governments respond to their people’s demands, and if we don’t sufficiently show that we care for the climate, neither will they. The solution will be grassroots or won’t be. Next chapter please.
The beginnings of the Climate Movement. Copenhaghen 2009, COP15,
5 years of oblivion and darkness followed. The cause seemed lost and with it our hopes. Well, at least at the international level. Negotiations were stalled and the very nature and efficacy of the UN-led multi-lateral process got under question at some stage. From my side, the once-promising 350 Spain chapter we initiated in the fall of 2012, after a training for trainers workshop organized by 350.org‘s european coordinators, lost momentum and eventually vanished as its members we went for too ambitious a scale (nation) and failed to set concrete and realistic objectives. At that time, tough times and losses obliging, I took the decision to focus my strengths on the entrepreneurial side of the fight, and leave activism aside, for a moment.
Learning from the best: European 350’s organizers Will Bates, Emma Biermann and Kevin Buckland. Training for trainers. Madrid, Sept. 2012
Meanwhile the global movement, quietly on the sides, went on and found new levers. The Math Tour, the Divestment Campaign, the push for renewables, the XL Keystone Pipeline blockades, all successful campaigns of their own, provided traction for the true game-changer that was being engineered all across the network … On September 21st 2014, the largest climate protest in history flooded the streets of the entire world: the People’s Climate March. It built on the successful formula discovered in Copenhagen, and took it to a whole new level: by bringing in every single civic organization and social movement (the ‘partners‘ list as long as a summer day), by focusing on what’s shared and working collaboratively in networks, more than 700,000 people took part in 2,646 events in 162 countries. Massive, beautiful, empowering.
People’s Climate March in New York. September 21, 2014.
And it made noise, God knows it made noise. Heads of state from all over, from Obama to Leo Di Caprio (sorry that wasn’t one), specifically cited the March and pledged for the people’s voice to be heard once and for all.
“To change everything, we need everyone”, was the March’s motto and now the Movement’s crystal-clear vision. As opposed to before, we now know what works. We need to build an inclusive, horizontal and peaceful movement large enough to trigger sweeping change and smart enough to turn enemies into allies. Entrepreneurs, small, medium and large companies, governments, NGOs, media, citizens, everybody is eagerly welcomed and much needed.
Coming back down to my local perspective, in my city of Barcelona, the March meant the end of a 5 years’ drought. 5 years I had waited for the wind to change and blow my direction. Spot on, the march made it all happen. Destiny put a great bunch of motivated climate activists, and better persons, in my way. We got together and started organizing and planning like the good old times, except that this time we really meant it, we knew we had momentum going, and possible the last opportunity to revert the course of our history as a species. The Climate Clock was ticking and we, as a group, decided to respond decisively, from our own little actions, but with all our hearts. Our green hearts 🙂
People’s Climate March in Barcelona. September 21, 2014.
So this is it, my dear friends, this is how the seed of 350 BCN was planted on firm ground. Our contribution to the Movement just took off from there: the #IceRide, the Esperanzah Festival (Solidarity Economy), the petition for a “100% renewable energy system” to the Parliament of Catalonia, and now our first movement-building gathering, during #COP20‘s closing hours, with all Barcelona-based players in the Climate field (from NGOs to companies and entrepreneurs, passing by the media, politicians and plain citizens) to start weaving the fabric of the movement in the City of Gaudí. Two major goals lying on the horizon: reaching a critical mass of committed citizens through networks and finding and spreading solutions to the Climate riddle (mitigation and adaption) for every one of us to adopt in our daily lives. And one clear milestone along the way: the COP21, in Paris, on December 2015. A MILLION people on the streets of Paris we must be #Paris 2015
There is a deadline, a goal and a proven tool. The rest is up to us, the People. Because I want to be able to look at my children into the eyes and say: we did it, we tried as hard as we could over and over until completion. And we did it for you. Because nothing beats a group of individuals committed to something bigger than themselves, that unites them in the deepest of ways. Money will never get even close. As our manifesto reads, while driven by science and reason it is though our spirits that we connect.
Yes, the task at hand is tremendous. The hardest mountain we’ve ever climbed and yet we stand a chance if united. While there is life there is hope. I believe in humanity, in our capacity to reinvent ourselves. I believe in love and will always will. It’s the reason why I exist. It’s the reason why we fight. Join the battle, Rainbow Warrior. Be part of the #PeoplesClimate 😉