by Paige Donner
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the leaders attending the Global Climate Conference in Copenhagen earlier this week, he noted Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid, its famous statue in the city center that is drawn from a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. He also noted that his favorite fairytale as a child was “The Ugly Duckling” because of its theme of transformation.
The California Governor is lobbying hard to maintain our focus on the fact that “this conference is automatically and already a success.”
In these final hours of the historical summit, much focus is being placed on a global agreement being signed by all the world’s leaders, the developing nations and the developed nations; And in particular whether China and the U.S. can come to an agreement about emissions reduction inspections and national sovereignty. Much focus is also being placed on which leaders B.O. is including in his pack and which ones he is snubbing.
Schwarzenegger’s emphasis continues to focus our attention on the integral role that subnational governments and leaders – and individuals and entrepreneurs – play in this transformation of our environmental practices and some of the industries upon which we base our global economy.
“…the world’s governments alone cannot make progress, the kind of progress that is needed on global climate change. They alone cannot do it. They need everyone coming together, everyone working together. They need the cities, they need the states, they need the provinces and the regions. They need the corporations, the activists, the scientists and the universities. They need the individuals whose vision and determination create movements. They need everybody out there.
So ladies and gentlemen, let us regain our momentum, let us regain our purpose, let us regain our hope by liberating the transformative power beneath the national level.
That can be the great contribution of Copenhagen — that could be the great contribution of Copenhagen.
Some examples he gave of industry and entrepreneurs leading the way: A German company in Texas building and operating the world’s largest wind farm; a renewable energy company in China stating that they feel that renewables are “good business, not a burden.” Solazyme, the firm that derives its renewable energy from algae and its recent U.S. Department of Defense contract is more evidence of successful private-public partnerships.
He also spoke about his late Mother-in-law’s pioneering efforts to create the Special Olympics. This was an effort of individuals and people. This was not an effort set forth by governments. He pointed out that it is people, friends and family, who are there at the finishing line to give the athletes participating in the Special Olympics a big hug, not governments. The Special Olympics is now in 180-plus countries.
Without the dedication of individuals, activists, entrepreneurs, there would be no environmental movement. “Movements began with the people, not with governments,” concluded Schwarzenegger.