People You Meet on the Way

COP 21 reflection from Carol Somplatsky-Jarman

Austalian John Englart


Reflection from Carol Somplatsky-Jarman, observer to COP 21 with PCUSA


At the COP21, Le Bourget, one great aspect of the experience is what happens by accident, the people you meet on the way to where you are–or think you are–going.

A couple days as go, I met John Englart of Australia while waiting to meet my husband for dinner.

I notice right away the green shirt he is wearing, distributed a few days earlier by Les Amis de la Terre France  (Friends of the Earth, France) and being worn by a number of environmentalist at the center.  The shirt has the  slogan of challenge, “Changeons le systeme, pas le climat!” (Change the system, not the climate!).  It is a group he supports in Australia as well.

He also has a dark circle painted around his right eye, one of many environmentalists I have passed in the halls at le Bourget sporting this sign of the day’s protests. Since I have been  wondering of its meaning all day, I take this opportunity to strike up a conversation with John.  He explains this was an action of SustainUS, and it represents the long term goal of being zero carbon by 2050, and that is consistent with the goal of limiting temperature change to just 1.5°.

John is with Climate Action Moreland, in Melbourne, Australia.  Among other activities, the group advocates for good climate positions among local political candidates on issues of sustainability, renewable energy, and work on climate change policies.

A major challenge for Australisn environmental activists in the region is a local coal plant run by a European company, which is one of the dirtiest plants in the world.

John is in Paris with his daughter.  Following the COP21, they will be traveling together for a while in Europe to spread out their climate footprint from the flight to Paris over a longer visit (as opposed to traveling this far again in the near future).

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