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April was another amazing month for SustainUS. We supported the Democracy Spring protests in DC, lobbied the State Department, challenged the World Bank on continued funding of fossil fuels projects, launched our COP22 creative challenge, and received a $20,000 leadership development grant from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation. Now, we're gearing up to join #BreakFree actions - bold mobilizations across the globe to stop fossil fuel projects - and are planning an extended strategy retreat in Vermont.If you know any young people that want to get more involved in SustainUS, the easiest way for them to plug-in and hear about what is happening across the organization's teams is to join our SustainUS Community Call on Tuesday May 3 at 9:00 pm ET. Please encourage the young advocates and activists you know to join!Onwards,Arielle ClynesSustainUS Coordinating Body
Upcoming SustainUS Opportunities
Our Community Call is TUESDAY May 3 at 9:00 pm ET! Join the call to meet otherSustainUS leaders and learn how to join an existing team or create a new one. Click here to register for the call.Register for the Community Call!
SustainUS is hiring! With support from Friends of the Earth, we have funding for a 3-month paid fellow to support the #StopTPP campaign and other climate advocacy. Click here to view the job description.Apply for the Fellowship.
Our COP22 Creative Challenge is live. Watch the webinar recordings, then write and submit your movement story of self! The first challenge entry is due May 1. Click here to submit an entry.Sub
mit an entry for the challenge.
UNFCCC Team: Meeting with State Department on Loss & Damage
Climate Finance Team: Objecting to further funding for fossil fuels
Amazing Member Update: Becky Chung's journey to Antarctica
COP21 is over. We now have a universal climate agreement. But it is nowhere near enough to ensure a just and stable future. While COP21 is historic, it is at best a beginning.
I will tell you this: after spending two weeks Paris with our COP21 delegation, I'm convinced that they are some of the most amazing young people in the country. Our SustainUS team led three effective advocacy campaigns that contributed to a stronger COP21 outcome. We made front-page news, published over 30 pieces, hosted press conferences, lobbied top State Department officials, and reached over 17 million people on Twitter. We also forged deep relationships across countries and supported one another through the joys and sorrows of the COP process.
Our team managed to stay joyful throughout the intense two weeks of COP21.
Our SustainUS mission is “to advance justice and sustainability by empowering young people to engage in advocacy.” I wholeheartedly believe our COP21 delegation fulfilled this mission. I'm incredibly proud of the 21 delegates and the delegation leaders, Maria Langholz and Dyanna Jaye, for all of their work this past year.
Here’s a summary of how we did:
Now, the bad news. COP21 set an ambitious target of "well-below 2 degrees C" of warming, with a strong intention to stay below 1.5 C. The existing commitments made by countries are nowhere close to reaching this target. According to Climate Interactive, pledged policies put us on a path for 3.5 degrees by 2100, a hellish scenario for most people on Earth.
The Paris agreement also does not increase climate finance for the least developed countries from what was pledged in 2009. It weakens the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” enshrined in the UNFCCC. Furthermore, it prohibits countries suffering from the worst impacts of climate disasters to seek compensation by holding polluters liable. We must demand better and hold our leaders accountable.
We staged several actions in solidarity with the Climate Vulnerable Forum to push for #ZeroBy2050.
We knew going into Paris that the agreement would not solve the climate crisis. At the very best, COP21 signals a "beginning of the end of the fossil fuel industry." But it's up to us to make the switch to clean energy happen much faster than planned, and in a way that is just for workers and for impacted communities.
The transition to a just economy and a stable climate will be long and hard. And frankly, we still don't have great odds at avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. But after Paris, I have renewed hope. Not because of the agreement. I have hope because of the amazing young people who are part of SustainUS. These leaders are committed to this movement for the long-haul. And because of them, we have a fighting chance.
Hi amazing COP21 Delegation supporters --
We wanted to give you a quick update on our progress. A couple weekends ago, our COP21 delegation held a weekend-long joint training with delegations from Sierra Student Coalition, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Swarthmore College.
We had passionate discussions about the human impacts of climate change, and what kind of support developed countries should provide to developing countries to compensate for livelihood and cultural loss. We strategized around ways to push the COP agreement towards a strong mitigation target to signal that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. We practiced interviews, honed our messaging, and established working groups to carry our collaboration forward.
Over the next few months, we'll be blogging, soliciting traditional earned media, and working with the Climate Action Network to advocate for better outcomes in the Paris agreement. We're also building out a domestic team, which will focus on how we can build energy and momentum around COP21 that's needed for success at Paris and beyond. If you know anyone who would be interested in joing the domestic team (or want to join yourself), use this this interest form get involved.
Thank you again for your support. We (quite literally) couldn't get to Paris to do this work without you.
Dyanna, Maria, Adam and the whole COP21 team