Dear Valentina & Luis,
There are times when certain events define history and sometimes…even our fate. This past December, Paris was that time. The time when all governments finally decided to act upon the biggest threat to you and future generations, climate change.
As your mom, I didn’t take these threats lightly. You both know I have made it my mission to get people to understand more about the state of our planet‘s climate and what was at stake. It’s been many years now since we all experienced the pounding of hurricanes Rita, Wilma, and even prepared for devastating Katrina while living in Miami. As the four of us cuddled in bed inside that interior guest bedroom while the hurricane passed through, I had no other choice but to be brave and not feel scared for you. Later, we found out it had been the most active hurricane season in Atlantic Ocean’s history and after watching the documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, I connected the dots and discovered the truth of our climate reality. That’s when I really got scared, not for me, but for both of you. Several years have gone by and many more destructive climate related events (Katrina, Typhoon Haiyan, Sandy, California’s drought, Russia’s Heat wave, Colorado’s fires, Bangladesh’ floods, Houston’s floods, Alberta’s fire…) are recurring worldwide making it obvious, more evident, and imperative that action was needed yesterday!
As your mom, and as a citizen, I was angry at the lack of political will and games politicians played -with our livelihoods at stake- just to keep standing in their political game. It was obvious their best interest was not of the people, for the people, but… for their own agendas. After all, why would they allow fracking in our states to pollute our drinking water, dispute the clean power plan that will give us cleaner air and even ban the word climate change from state communications in one of the most vulnerable states already suffering from raising sea levels?
And so we rallied, united, fought it, persisted, and finally got the agreement we needed for our planetary collective climate action effort. And thus, I cannot help but to feel hopeful for your future.
These past two years, I’ve started to see a little dim light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen how countries like Costa Rica and Germany supply their energy needs almost entirely on renewables. I’ve seen the biggest 500 fortune companies declare their support for climate friendly operations, mayors from cities around the world uniting to sign a global compact to commit to sustainability. How the two biggest polluters (China & the US) agreed to act on climate together and finally after so many years asking for a universal climate agreement we finally got it in Paris this past year.
Together, we’ve spent many years commemorating Earth Hour. You have seen me spend countless hours on my computer rallying for climate support and signing petitions. You have seen me march with over 400,000 people in NYC as we demanded action from our world leaders. And as I got ready to go to Paris, you saw me debate whether or not to attend COP21 after the terrible Paris attacks. In the end I did, thanks to your dad’s support, because the risks of not getting that agreement and the lack of our much needed climate action, was a far greater risk to your future than a terror threat.
And I didn’t regret it; in fact, I felt so honored, proud and thankful that I overcame my fear and was able to be there for you. I left my mark and accomplished my mission to bring your voices and those of so many others to the negotiations. With many great leaders of civil society, I was able to represent and deliver the signatures of over 6.2 million people calling for climate action and present this to the United Nation’s secretary himself, Ban Ki Moon, and to the rest of the world!
Remember the little dim light I told you at the end of the tunnel? This past Earth Day, more than 195 countries once again reassured their commitments and signed the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in front of millions of people like me, who will make sure their words will turn into action. And so I am happy to say, that light is now burning a little more brightly. But that flame needs to burn…burn stronger, because your future depends upon it and there is still a lot of RED tape!
On this Mother’s Day, I write you to promise I will continue this journey to protect your future. I do hope other moms and dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas, neighbors, schools, students, teachers and friends will unite THEIR voices and help us to get there quickly. Because I love you with all my heart and we have no planet B!