Local Politics Have Global Impact

(March 1, 2016)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Last year came to a close with two major international agreements — the Paris Climate Accord and the approval of the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda.

Both of these agreements need to be lived out on the ground, however. If we can’t find a way of implementing changes right where we live, these documents get added to a long list of failed attempts to make a difference.

As I write these words, the neighbourhood roosters have just crowed in Nairobi. I lived between two worlds recently, engaged in debate over composting in Winnipeg while participating in environmental meetings here.

It is a long way to travel, with a handful of people, to affect decisions about the future of the Earth we share — and light-years away from Winnipeg city hall.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is now responsible for the environmental mandate of the United Nations. We were meeting at UNEP headquarters to prepare for the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in May.

Back in Winnipeg, councillors deferred making a bad decision on composting — a victory of sorts for those who want to see changes made, but nothing to celebrate.

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