Last week I attended the Global Climate Action Summit 2018 (GCAS) in California, a huge meet-up of people and organisations passionate about creating a stronger and better future for our planet. Its aim? To trigger “deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries” towards meeting the Paris Agreement.

As part of the summit, we ran an event to share sustainability stories from our One Planet Cities project (kindly hosted by Sherwood Design Engineers). We wanted participating cities to share what they’ve learned so far about moving towards a better, more sustainable future - and inspire others to follow suit.

Inspiration from around the world

Funded by the KR Foundation, our One Planet Cities initiative is bringing together councils, organisations, businesses, schools and community groups in four city-regions in Canada, South Africa, Denmark and the UK. They will use One Planet Living to create sustainability action plans to help create healthier, happier and greener futures for all their residents.

We were delighted to be joined by Ted Sheldon, Former Senior Community Adviser and Clean Energy Adviser for the Province of British Columbia. He is working with One Planet Saanich in Canada and highlighted that the approach has helped the region to identify gaps and opportunities in sustainability that haven’t yet been addressed.

Musa Mbhele from the City of Durban in South Africa also gave a wonderful speech, telling us he was impressed by the extent of the private sector’s enthusiasm at GCAS to support climate change interventions.

Pooran Desai, co-founder of Bioregional, shared how the new platform will help other cities use the One Planet Living framework to speed up sustainability by creating, managing and sharing sustainability action plans.

We were honoured to be joined by speakers including the former President of Ecuador, Rosalie Arteaga, Laurel Hanscom of Global Footprint Network and Mehrnaz Ghojeh of C40 Cities, who said: “Who better than a mayor telling another mayor what works to speed up climate action.”

Michael McCormick, speaking on behalf of the Office of California Governor Jerry Brown, said that California is delighted to be hosting GCAS and to see how it has brought everyone together.

A group of students from the One Planet Schools initiative had prepared an intergenerational charter for One Planet Living in California, which they presented to Mr McCormick. He responded by saying: “California will be looking into applying One Planet Living and the use of the new platform to support our sustainability efforts.”

Looking to a One Planet future

I came away from GCAS feeling that climate action has moved up to a higher, more mainstream level. With serious players like California, the fifth largest economy in the world and companies like Schneider Electric committing to full carbon neutrality. I was inspired by the eloquence and energy of the Californian students. I felt like I had had a great big hug from Al Gore as he thanked us all from the podium for our efforts.

It was great to spend time with our partners who share our resolve to achieve One Planet Living, and amazing to hear the One Planet Charter commitments of Mayor after Mayor. The whole thing made me feel that there are enough of us, and enough powerful and influential people on the case, that we can, and we will meet our commitments to the Paris Agreement.

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