Adele's not the only voice you'll hear from "the other side" if you listen closely this week.
That other sound you'll hear – if you'll just pause Hello for one moment – is the buzz of thousands gathering across the pond, in Paris, for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). It's a buzz so electric, you can almost feel it.
And the conversation has extended far beyond the Champs-Élysées. Citizens across the globe are taking notice. A recent Pew survey found that an average of 54 percent of people surveyed globally consider climate change to be a very serious problem, and a median of 78 percent support the idea of their country limiting greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international agreement in Paris. By these numbers, then, the world is ready for bold action.
Yet, COP21 runs the risk of falling short of expectations. In the wake of Montreal, Kyoto, Copenhagen and all the other COPs, leaders must sustain the massive drumbeat of COP21 engagement in order to make an impact far beyond the next week. Companies, NGOs and global influencers alike need to inspire interest and engagement of the masses – to make all global citizens want to take action. The conversation should move beyond the board room, the CEO handshake, the editorial page or closed delegate meetings and become integrated into the mainstream.
To create a global sense of urgency and action, organizations and individuals have the responsibility to provide access to information for all and to engage through channels that resonate culturally and personally. In a world where more people have cell phones than toiletsand where smartphone usage is expected to grow to 6.1 billion by 2020, it's imperative that communications be a mix of both traditional and new channels.
We've already seen some successes in the push to expand and ignite engagement across the globe around this critical issue. Al Gore began to make sense of our warming climate with a compelling use of facts and visuals, while Kathy Jetnil Kijiner made it personal with a simple poem to "matafele peinam" on a global stage. Now, #COP21Paris is trending on Twitter*, the voices of hundreds of thousands are rising up at more than 2,300 climate marches around the world and mainstream publications like Vogue are dedicating entire spreads to women climate warriors (which has already received major Twitter support from Kendall Jenner [13.8 million followers], Karlie Kloss [858,000 followers], Iman [97,000 followers], Julianne Moore [677,000 followers] and others).
As Naziha Mestaoui, the artist behind the iconic Eiffel Tower climate installation, said, "I created this installation so that people everywhere can realize what is possible if we come together." Now, more than ever, we must all come together and remain committed to spreading the message of the universal fight to end climate change. While COP21 may be ending in a week, the real work is just beginning.
- Lisa Manley, Executive Vice President, CSR Strategy & Aaron Pickering, Account Director, Corporate Communications