30th November 2015 marks the beginning of COP21, the world’s biggest climate conference yet, not just in terms of the number of people attending (an impressive 46,000!) but also in view of what it hopes to achieve- a way forward to steer our planet away from catastrophic climate change. It is no easy feat. But over the next two weeks, we will share with you stories of individuals, groups and countries committed to making it happen. 
You too can do your part - tweet your leader today to urge them to put the planet first at COP21.

Friday 18th December 2015:

It will soon be a week after COP21 and it’s still hard to believe we did it! The Paris Agreement, the first truly global climate deal, has set the foundation for long-term action on climate change bringing us a step closer to building a safe, climate-proof future for ourselves and our future generations. Sometimes it still seems surreal that all of our efforts, collectively as governments, private sector and civil society, have helped us reach this point but a handy trick to keep ourselves from getting carried away is remembering all that there is still left to do. The Paris Agreement is only the start. To close the emissions gap, resource the energy transition and protect the most vulnerable, we need to strengthen our actions and ambition both before and beyond 2020 and we need to start now. Join us on 19 March 2016 8:30 p.m. and together, let’s shine a light on climate action -> www.ehour.me/cop21-and-beyond

Thursday 10th December 2015:

One could cut through the tension in the air. The draft text of what could be the world’s first universal deal on climate is out and as the negotiations enter their final phase, everyone’s holding their breath. After the frenzied activity of the past ten days, this seems to me the calm before the storm. But I don’t mean that in any negative way- quite the opposite actually. I have said this before but having practically lived in Le Bourget these two weeks, I am more convinced than ever that we are seeing an unprecedented momentum for climate action, one that I believe can only intensify as we walk out these conference doors. If COP21 was the largest climate conference to ever take place, what is delivered (and what is left out) will require the largest mobilization ever from individuals, communities, businesses and governments alike to steer our planet away from runaway climate change and towards the safe, climate-proof future we have all been advocating for these past two weeks. Can we do it? If we show the right ambition in approach, innovation and collaboration, then we most certainly can and that is something I have seen come alive in this space. The truth is no one causes climate change in isolation and no one can tackle it alone. What we need more than anything to take on the biggest environmental challenge our planet has ever seen is collective action and unity, and if Le Bourget is indeed a microcosm of the society living outside, then there sure is reason to hope — for us and our planet.

Wednesday 9th December 2015:

It is impossible to talk about climate change without speaking about the small island states like Kiribati, Fiji and the Marshall Islands for whom COP21 and climate action are much more than headlines and aspirations- they are a matter of existence. In this blog, as we profile the people, communities and countries, doing their best to change climate change, we absolutely had to speak about the citizens of these countries who show us the meaning of true resilience. Their determination and sheer ability to rise against the odds (almost literally!) is best personified by the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, Mr Tony de Brum. Previously on the front lines of the efforts against nuclear testing, Mr de Brum is now applying his many years of diplomatic experience and advocacy to champion the cause of the small island states and need for urgent climate action here at COP21. And with good reason. With sea levels predicted to rise 5 mm each year over the next 100 years, climate change could spell a loss of homes, lives and livelihoods for the people living in Island states like the Marshall Islands. But neither Minister de Brum nor his people are going to allow themselves or their ambition to be dwarfed by the challenge that lies ahead. In fact, the country which is responsible for 0.00001% of global emissions is actually aiming for a zero emission target by 2050. In Minister de Brum’s words, “Our message is simple – if one of the world’s smallest, poorest and most geographically isolated countries can do it, so can you.” Inspiring? We think so and if you agree, help send a message to your leader to join support firm and urgent climate action- tweet your leader today.


Tuesday 8th December 2015:

Today was Arctic Day at COP21. Everywhere I looked, there was a flash of bright colour, cheerful smiles and an evident pride in culture and heritage, which warmed the heart on a cold, rainy Parisian winter day. As I wandered and discussed with people- a Sami lady from northern Norway, two young girls from Greenland- I was struck by how personal and real climate change was to them, driving into sharp focus the need for the world to take climate action now. Of course, we all know the Arctic is warming at a rate almost twice that of the global average but yet we struggle to see what that means for the communities and biodiversity that live in the region and how it impacts their lives and livelihoods. The same holds true for indigenous communities around the world, from the Amazon to the heart of the African continent, where, for centuries together, people have lived in harmony with nature and now all of a sudden, and with increasing frequency, they find the resources that they have respected and nurtured for generations threatened by rising emissions, temperatures and seas. It is time we realize that our climate and we are all interconnected and our actions both causing and solving climate change can create impacts thousands of miles away. It is time we all act to #ChangeClimateChange and it starts here now- Tweet Your Leader today.


Monday December 7th 2015:

I realize I missed filing an entry over the weekend but it was not because there was any lull in activity at all- rather the opposite. This weekend I undertook a rather interesting exercise, walking around the halls of the “green zone”- the civil society space on the sidelines of the negotiations- speaking with youth from all over the world about climate change, sustainable & innovative solutions and the role they felt the youth could play and I came across some incredible stories. I met a student from the Netherlands who is using his time here at COP21 to capture images and stories that can help him go back and tell his friends and family that the answer is “not to build more dams but rather stop emissions and sea level rise in the first place” and a 14-year old boy from the U.S. who sent out a message to President Obama to divest. One of the most happy and optimistic people I met was a bubbly artist from the Philippines, the third most vulnerable country in the world to climate change, crafting a message of solidarity with her art and soon after, I met a group of young students from France who were planning to pursue careers in renewable energy and could barely contain their excitement at the prospect of being a part of a 100% renewable future. So many stories, so many countries and so many diverse backgrounds and yet they all had one thing in common: a sense of purpose and passion for the planet. The determination in their eyes and the concern in their hearts to protect the planet was palpable even through a camera lens and left me with a reason to hope, for us and our planet.

Join their efforts to #ChangeClimateChange- Tweet Your Leader NOW.


Friday 4th December 2015:
Today was a packed day at Le Bourget as negotiators were racing against time to finalize the draft agreement that will form the basis of the ministerial meetings next week and even as so much was happening, the big news of the day came from the Paris City Hall located a good 45 minutes away. Host to the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, organized by Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, the majestic Paris City Hall saw some game-changing announcements today. First up was the EUR 1 million worth pledge made by Hidalgo to the Green Climate Fund for mitigation and adaptation, a first by any local government, and then came the declaration by 1,000 mayors from all around the world voicing their commitment to shift towards 100% renewable energy. Now you may wonder why this is such a cause for elation and to you I say, consider this: 70% of the world’s CO2 emissions come from cities!

At Earth Hour, we have long believed that cities can be tremendous drivers of climate action, the rationale behind the Earth Hour City Challenge run by WWF-Sweden, and today’s announcement just goes to show the potential and determination there is to make that shift, in more ways than one. At the end of the day, there is only one thing left to say- #WeLoveCities!

Thursday 3rd December 2015:
When you wander over to the civil society space called ‘Climate Generations Space’, the first thing that strikes you is the energy-of people, organizations and their passion for the cause. In a few steps, you move across countries and regions, learning about what climate change means to different people from different places. It could be concern for one’s most beloved species like polar bears and penguins like one 14-year old boy confided to me or it could be a constant fear of what the changing climate would mean for lives and livelihoods amongst indigenous communities who have lived in harmony with nature for many centuries now. As diverse as their answers may be, they are unanimous in their call for firm climate action and determined to do their best to change climate change.

You too can help the cause. Tweet Your Leader today and urge them to put the planet first. 


Wednesday 2nd December 2015:
It's mid-week, the sky is a classic grey in true European winter style, negotiations are getting to the sticky bits and suddenly, there is a ‘ray of sunshine’ that fills the rooms. News of yesterday’s ‘power-packed’ announcement by Heads of state from Africa, one of the continents most vulnerable to climate change, is making the rounds - and with good reason! The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), driven by African countries, aims to achieve 10 gigawatts of new renewables by 2020 and then scale up to provide as much as 300 gigawatts of renewable energy – twice the continent’s total current electricity supply – by 2030. It is exactly the kind of ambition and large-scale action and collaboration we need to steer the world away from a future of fossil fuels and towards the 100% renewable target we know is possible and needed for communities, species and biodiversity to thrive. Hurray for Africa! 





Tuesday 1st December 2015:
Its Day 2 of COP21 and we are seeing the exhilaration we saw yesterday transform into purpose. Negotiators and civil society, buoyed by the speeches of the Heads of State, seem determined to do their part to change climate change and against such a backdrop, it seems only fair that one of the issues on the agenda today is forests. We all know how forests can be strong allies in the fight against climate change, defenders who know how to stand their ground (pun unintended) and today, as the world recognizes the intrinsic value of forests, we thought we would give a shout-out to the passionate people behind the world’s first Earth Hour forest. A 2,700 hectare-wide thriving patch of green in Uganda, a country that loses 6,000 hectares of land to deforestation every month, the Earth Hour forest is unique not only in its existence but also in the reason for its being. It was back in 2013, when thousands of individuals united with WWF-Uganda and companies to create the forest making it the living proof of what the power of the crowd can achieve. Today, the forest is home to communities leading sustainable lives and livelihoods, reminding us everyday that it IS possible to live in harmony with nature- it starts with each of us. COP21 is our chance to make sure we act collectively to put the planet first, now and in the years to come. Join us in sending a strong message to leaders at COP21 today. 






Monday 30th November 2015:
There is a sense of expectation in the crisp winter air. Roads have been shut down and public transport made free as the French capital prepares to welcome an unprecedented 150 Heads of State for COP21. Amidst the crowd and hustle, a figure stands out- Christiana Figueres. As Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, the organization responsible for bringing the countries together at COP, Figueres literally holds the key for the climate talks taking place at Le Bourget over the next two weeks (see picture below). And yet their work didn’t start today or even over this past weekend. Since 2010, Figueres and her team have worked tirelessly to build political momentum around COP21, reiterating the aim for Paris at the COPs in between, organizing the intersessionals in Bonn and Geneva this year, meeting with countries behind the scenes and beyond to urge them to reach an agreement at the Paris climate summit. Together with the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, they have worked to whittle down an 85-page long document to around 20 pages, pages which will form the crux of the discussions over the next 10 days. As they work round the clock to help safeguard our planet and our future, show them that you stand with them to make a difference. Send a tweet to @CFigueres now.





(image copyright: AP)