Today at the UN Climate Conference in Katowice Poland, David Attenborough’s People’s Seat initiative will see the 92yr old naturalist use his position to share the voices of the many thousands who have taken to Twitter in the past few weeks to have their say on what needs to be done to avoid climate breakdown using the hashtag #TakeYourSeat. The idea is that the People’s Seat enables people to “virtually sit” and share their views alongside leaders, governments and representative organizations at the UN Climate Change Conference COP24, December 2-14.
“The challenge to humanity that climate change represents is of such epic proportions that only through collective global action will we have a chance to combat it successfully,” explained Michael Moller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and the creator of the initiative. “The People’s Seat initiative provides the impulse for seriously ramping up global solidarity, especially among the young who, at the end of the day, are the ones who will have to deal with the mess we have left them with.”
I’ve been following the hashtag since it was launched, documenting the many tweets that relate to the travel industry, trying to learn from what people are calling on tourism to do. For the rest of this week’s blog therefore, here is what the world is saying via the #TakeYourSeat campaign on how the tourism industry can take action onclimate change.
“We have seen the devastation caused to the world’s coasts, particularly coral, by unfettered tourism. Is it time for international restrictions on all these vulnerable habitats – not just marine conservation areas?”
“We want environmentally friendly public transport to be a human right, true price of fuel and food to be shown in monetary and environmental impact, no subsidies, truth about pesticides & herbicides, discuss population & sustainability.”
“We need; investment and a swift transition to renewable energy sources; cheaper rail travel; support for local, small-scale food production and agroecology; restrictions on air travel; restrictions on meat production. Our dire situation requires drastic measures!”
“Globally no one can have their cake and eat it – unsavoury actions needed including subsidised public transport, prevention of fossil fuel manufacture and use and reduction of cheap and frivolous air travel”
“Why are we debating anything anymore except climate change and the future of ourselves on this planet? #takeyourseat – one of the biggest contributors to emissions is aeroplanes, I want to know why plane journeys are so cheap yet public transport is so expensive in comparison?”
PS: There were many more tweets calling for measures to address aviation’s climate impact than I have included here.