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Why I’m In Paris

The COP21 climate conference represents a pivotal moment in how we address the most important global issue of our time.

I’ve been an environmental advocate for more than four decades, speaking out on the urgency to take action on climate change.

The science surrounding climate change is clear. Humans are causing it. And after 40 years, climate change is finally being recognized as the single greatest environmental crisis and global challenge of our era.

While I have been speaking out for 40 years, this moment in time is what brought me to Paris this week.

Aristide Economopoulos/NRDC

On Monday, representatives of more than 170 countries arrived in Paris to formalize their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If the conference is a success, it will mark a crucial turning point in our approach to fighting climate change: the moment when we decide our world is worth saving and determine how to go about saving it.

We all have a role to play. Your response to NRDC’s recent petition to world leaders fueled the demand for urgent climate action. We collected more than 250,000 signatures in the two weeks leading up to COP21.

Today I joined mayors from all over the world at Paris City Hall to discuss how cities are leading the way to reduce carbon emissions. Mayors are our nations’ leaders. They are closest to the people. We have the tools. We have the answers.

This is the largest — and most important — climate meeting, and for good reason.

No matter who you are or where you are, I urge you to continue to be engaged. This is it. This is our last chance. Climate change is no longer a threat for the future. It is happening here and now.