Looking ahead in 2021: Climate Hopes & New Beginnings
By Jono Anzalone and Amelie Panaccione
Jono’s Reflections, KCI Executive Director:
This month, we have seen bold action to stem the climate crisis from both individual states and the Biden-Harris administration. At the executive branch, we are seeing an administration that acknowledges the merits of engaging with our diplomatic partners in reentering the Paris Agreement, and executive orders to prioritize climate change as a domestic and international policy agenda item. We are also seeing states, like California, launch the first Climate Corps program, which directly addresses and seeks to mitigate climate change and foster equitable outcomes for the State’s disadvantaged communities. On the other coast here in Maine, Governor Mills continues to accelerate plans to bring Maine to carbon neutral by 2045.
With NASA declaring 2020 the hottest year on record, Former Secretary of State John Kerry’s words reflect what many, including myself, feel “the stakes could not be higher.” Spending more than 20 years responding to disasters before joining KCI, I grew increasingly concerned that the speed and intensity at which climate change was causing disasters was far outpacing the relief workers’ need to meet the basic humanitarian needs of communities most impacted. Many of the long-term development programs in at-risk communities worldwide are seeing decade long investments in strengthening community resilience erased as frequent storms, drought, and other and climate phenomena occur. The stakes of climate change are indeed high, especially as the IPCC notes who will be most affected “certain segments of the population, such as the elderly, the very young, the powerless, indigenous peoples, and recent immigrants, particularly if they are linguistically isolated.”
The KCI team is inspired by the bold action we are seeing both in the US and across the globe. In 2021 KCI aspires to educate, empower, and activate 100,000 high school and college aged youth to climate action. We will not stop there, as we aim to reach 10 million youth by 2025. Bold? Yes! Impossible, we don’t think so. We invite you to join us today by becoming an Ambassador at http://bttr.im/hbskg or if you are able, to support the mission of KCI by visiting https://theclimateinitiative.org/donate/
Together, we can do this!
Amelie’s Reflections, KCI Youth Ambassador:
In the last four years I saw things that I would only read in history books. All our eyes opened to the inequalities and problems that have been brewing for some time now, and finally exploded. As someone who is still growing into an adult I have learned where my ethics lie and what is wrong vs. right. In the last few weeks, I have witnessed a capital storm and a new era of change. There is a saying that my mom has always reminded me of, “things have to get worse to get better” …the capital storming was no exception. That day I was deeply disturbed by the people that make up our nation. The deep divide that has separated two different political ideologies exploded yet since that day great progress has been made.
I look at our nation as something that is full of potential. With what has already been done in the last few weeks I am proud to call this country my home. The Biden Administration has already re-entered the Paris Agreement and made executive orders to combat climate change; for the first time in history climate change has been in the top four problems a president will battle. This urgency that is running through our society empowers me even more to take action in my community, by pressing my local government officials for more extensive change; and also activating those around me to take steps in their life to minimize their impact. In 2021, I hope to see my community listen to us youth on projects they should enact. On a national scale, I would like to see basic ideas such as composting and recycling be broadcasted on a national platform. Hope is truly on the horizon.