I'm mary robinson. I was elected the first female president of ireland in 1990. I want people to stop caring about climate change. I really want us to stop thinking of climate change as a scientific issue as something about nature or something about conservation and think about people who are affected so deeply and disproportionately, the least responsible are more affected.
I want the image of climate change not to be the polar bear on an ice floe, but to be a woman in a developing country with a worn face because she & # 39. S got to go further for the water in drought.
Well, i certainly came to the issue of climate change through the lens of human rights, and what i saw first of all was the injustice and over time i've, refined that to being at least five layers of injustice, which make it so important That we have a climate justice approach and the first layer was the one that i began with when i had finished my five years as un high commissioner for human rights and was working in african countries on the rights that really matter.
If you don & # 39, t have the rights to food and water and health and education. You know in europe and in the united states we weren't, seeing the impacts of climate change, particularly but absolutely in african countries.
It was changing for the worse they kept saying to me. We don't know when to slow. When we sow, we get flooding that destroys our harvest or we get long periods of drought followed by flash flooding. Climate change affects disproportionately the poorest countries.
The poorest communities and the small island developing states who are least responsible for the problem, the second layer is within that the impact disproportionately on women, because women still have to put food on the table.
They have to go further in drought for the water and the firewood. The third injustice is the one the children have been striking about the inter-generational injustice that we're, not providing a safe world for them and their children and grandchildren, and i'm so glad that they're.
So clear about it that they're, so angry, i've, been lucky enough to have six grandchildren and we're, expecting a seventh and i think about their world. How will they have a good life? How will they have enough to eat enough water unless we change from our current wasteful pattern? The fourth layer is the injustice of the pathways to development of different parts of the world, ireland and the united states and the industrialized countries.
We built our economies on fossil fuel and now we have to wean ourselves off fossil fuel in order to have a safe world developing countries before the paris agreement promised in their nationally determined contributions that they wanted to go as green as possible.
But they said we will need the investment, we will need the technology, we need the skills, we need the solidarity of the rich world to help us do this, and actually we haven't stepped up, and the fifth layer is the one that i Came to probably latest, but now i think, possibly is the most important of all, and that is the injustice to nature herself, the way in which we have totally abused and wasted the biodiversity.
We're, not protecting the ecosystems that we depend on for our own life and we're, not connecting ourselves with all the other species and nature the land, the rivers, the oceans. Each of us has a responsibility.
Climate change is not going to be affected just by the actions of individual people, but they are important. So i'm, asking everyone to do three things. First of all, to make climate change and the climate crisis personal in your own life do something that you, wouldn't have done before we can change our habits about what we consume, how we control waste, etc.
There are lots of things we can do. The second step is to get angry about those with more responsibility, who should be doing more, and that is governments. Everyone can affect that by voting by using their voice to urge that those with responsibility do more and the third thing, and actually i think this is the most important.
We need to imagine this world that we're hurrying towards because we & # 39. Ve got to be hurrying towards it. It's very urgent that we make this change to stay at a world. Doesn't go above 1.5 degrees celsius of warming, 2.
7 degrees fahrenheit. It's interesting to talk about hope, but i have to say in january of this year i was struggling with the idea of hope, because i didn't see that governments were prepared to step up and do responsibly what they had To do in order to ensure that we would reduce the emissions and then covert 19 happened on top of the climate crisis, but i have more hope, because it has caused us to pause and rethink.
Apart from the high offices that i've. Had the honor to hold, i also have written a book of stories about climate justice because stories, i think, bring empathy. It's called climate justice, hope resilience and the fight for a sustainable future, and i've, also done something that i hadn't expected to do.
I've, become involved in a podcast, and we interview women from different parts of the world with great diversity, women of color young women, indigenous women. We get their voices out so that they will be heard.
I am more hopeful that we will be more thoughtful and actually take the responsibility that we need to take going forward. [, Music, ],