The United Nations Secretary General said, “Climate change is a race that we are losing, but it is a race we can win”. Climate change is one of the most pressing crises of our time which is happening at a pace faster than we imagined. The past 4 years have been the hottest on record and global warming has severely threatened our food and water security in addition to widening economic gaps between the world’s richest and poorest countries.1 In order to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis and put ideas into action TEDx came up with a global initiative named “ Countdown”.
The “Countdown”2 movement was started with the goals of reducing carbon emission by half before 2030 and to make a cleaner world for everyone. It aimed to achieve these goals by calling upon various organizations, artists, government officials, NGO’s, activists and scientists and facilitating conversations consisting of actionable-research backed ideas and solutions. The program was officially launched on 10-10-20 and the first session was called “Urgency” hosted by Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo, both of whom are artists and climate change advocates. The main themes of the first session were to discuss the current state of climate and how to achieve a future with zero-carbon emission. Four more sessions followed that were called “Leadership”, Transformation”, “Breakthroughs” and “Action” respectively, symbolizing the steps demanded to make a safer world.
Some brilliant ideas3 and innovative solutions were discussed such as replacing concrete with LC3 (Limestone Calcined Clay Cement) which can reduce carbon emission by 40%. Karen Scrivener, a cement researcher, highlighted that when cement is mixed, the limestone helps to put it together which releases enormous amounts of CO2 in the process. Replacing limestone with LC3 on a large scale can eliminate about 40 million tons of CO2 every year.
Similarly, climate and gender activist Ernestine Sevidem emphasized on protecting the environment and talked about her work in Cameroon where she teaches about restoration of a 20,000 hectares Kilum-Ijim forest and her organisation trains people as beekeepers to economically benefit from sale of honey products and beeswax. Her main goal is to foster the love for the environment within her community.
In addition, Thomas Crowther, an ecosystem ecology professor mentioned “Restor”4 which is an open data platform of ecological insights. Restor can enable people to join the global restoration movement, monitor projects and share information with partners, policy-makers and the public. It also shares the experiences of environmental conservationists who are working to develop projects on various levels to introduce biodiversity to their lands. The platform is expected to launch in 2021 as next decade is crucial in saving this planet from the irreversible damage inflicted by climate change.
Following the Global Launch in October 2020, TEDx plans to build on the ideas discussed in the upcoming year and by making partnerships develop intersectoral projects with set goals which will be presented at the Countdown Summit and the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021.