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Buenos dias. It's a great privilege for me to be here and I want to mention that I received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC in 2007. That was quite a while ago. I have a power point presentation, which I hope has been loaded and I presume this is the device that I will be using for changing the slides.
Let me start by saying that it’s a great privilege to be here and I’m particularly happy that we are dealing with issues of science, technology and the preservation of Mother Earth, and the ability of human beings to live in peace and harmony with Mother Earth. I’m very grateful to the ** of the EMAP by madame Gabriela Lara. It was a great privilege to hear Dr. William Soto Santiago, who I haven't had the opportunity to meet and I will greatly wish to go and see him in Puerto Rico and meet him sometime in the very near future. I'm also very grateful that we have had the wisdom of Dr. Oscar Cóbar and Dr. Dmitrii Kharakk-Zaitsev.
I think this is a unique meeting and as matter of fact, I write every two weeks an ** piece for an Indian newspaper every second Friday. And this time I’m actually going to write about CUMIPAZ, because I am deeply impressed with the whole concept of this meeting and the fact that you have so many persons, particularly from Latin América, getting together to talk about issues that are going to define the future of humanity and planet Earth.
Now I wanted to check if my slides have been mounted. So I start my presentation with a brief video. I have two organizations that I have launched. One is called the World Sustainable Development Forum and some of you may have been to Davos, which is a gathering of the richest and the most powerful people on planet Earth meeting once a year. They often fly in their private jets, spend meager twenty thousand dollars per night to stay there and they talk about all the problems of the world. But I’m sorry to say that they have done very little in terms of following up and implementing some of the measures by which we will see human society move on the path of sustainable development and the protection of planet Earth.
So I felt that it is needed to set up a group forum that focuses on the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. And this is call the Wold Sustainable Development Forum and I’m very happy to tell you that about 25 former heads of State and heads of government some from the Latin American region who are patrons of this organization.
The second organization is called Protect our Planet or the POP Movement, which focuses on the youth of the world, because I’m convinced that national governments will not be able to deal effectively with the challenge of meeting the problem of climate change and adhering to the sustainable development goals. So I am convinced that it is the youth of the world who have to take leadership and who have to initiate change and we have very little time in which to do that. If we fail to do it then I’m sorry, not only is the future of youth on this planet going to be ** but we will also cause serious problems to all species on planet Earth; and as Dr. William Soto Santiago reminded us: We cannot live in isolation with all other species on Earth. Even our genes are in some sense common to what you have with other living beings.
So, with this I’d like to request that we play the first video, which is at the start of my presentation.
I’m sorry, this is my mistake. I was told my presentation is in the afternoon. So I don’t want to burden you with anything more at this point in time.
And what I would like to emphasize is that we are at a unique moment in history. We have so much knowledge, we have so much ability and capacity to be able to bring about change in the direction of sustainability and if we don’t do it as soon as possible, and by mobilizing every stakeholder, which includes government, civil society, business and most importantly academia; we will fail in our responsibility, not only to the present generation, but generations yet to come.
And I would think that we need CUMIPAZ being held in every part of the globe, in every region, so that we rise above the normal day-to-day tensions and differences that we have and that we actually bring about a substantial shift towards things that really contribute to happiness. I’m sorry to say that human society has become so addicted to greater and greater consumption, and that to my mind is distorting everything that we are doing as part of society.
Really speaking: Happiness comes from love, from understanding, from close relationships with family members and in general, and understanding of what every human being on planet Earth is capable of and is interested in. And I think we have to bring about the shift because you have seen the enormous amount of waste that is being generated as a result of this consumption obsession that we have all over the world.
A projection has been made that by the middle of this century we will have more plastic in the oceans than fish. And it’s already known that fish are eating a lot of plastic and we are eating those fish instead. So we don’t know what that’s going to so to our systems and this is only one example of how the circular economy, where everything reproduces everything we throw away comes back to us.
There are several other examples. The whole transport system, which is based on emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and every major city in the world is today the victim air pollution, which is harming our lungs, which is harming our bodies.
So it is time that we wake up, it is time that we use the knowledge that’s available, all the data, all the facts that tell us that we have to bring about change.
I’ll end by saying something that my dear friend Thomas Friedman who writes for the New York Times, who always says: “It’s that the problem is that there are too many Americans.” And what he says is that everybody wants to live like an American. And it was Mahatma Gandhi who many years ago was asked by a British journalist: “Mr. Gandhi, don’t you want India to reach the same level of prosperity as Britain?” And Gandhi, who was a very wise person, he also had a sense of humor; he said: “Look, it required Britain to use half the resources of this planet to be able to reach its level of prosperity. How many planets would a country like India require?” So I think that's something that we need to reflect on.