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  • Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • Any reality we are given is not set in stone,

  • it can be changed.

  • I come from Costa Rica,

  • a country known for our deep commitment to peace,

  • our high level of education

  • and our far-sighted stewardship of nature.

  • But it wasn't always like that.

  • Way back in the '40s,

  • my father, José Figueres Ferrer,

  • was a young farmer, tilling the soil of these mountains,

  • and cultivating his vision of a country grounded in social justice

  • and guided by the rule of law.

  • His vision was tested, when in 1948,

  • the government refused to accept the result of democratic elections

  • and brought in the military.

  • My father could have been indifferent,

  • but he chose to do what was necessary to restore democracy,

  • surviving the burning of his home and his farm.

  • From here, he launched a revolutionary army

  • of a few courageous men and women,

  • who against all odds, defeated the government forces.

  • Then he disbanded his army,

  • outlawed the national army,

  • and redirected the military budget

  • to establish the basis of the unique country Costa Rica is today.

  • From my father, I learned stubborn optimism,

  • the mindset that is necessary to transform the reality we're given

  • into the reality we want.

  • Today, at the global level,

  • we face a rapidly accelerating climate emergency,

  • daunting because we have procrastinated way too long.

  • We now have one last chance to truly change our course.

  • This is the decisive decade in the history of humankind.

  • That may sound like an exaggeration, but it's not.

  • If we continue on the current path,

  • we condemn our children and their descendants

  • to a world that is increasingly uninhabitable,

  • with exponentially growing levels of disease,

  • famine, and conflict,

  • and irreversible ecosystem failures.

  • Conversely, if we cut our current greenhouse gas emissions in half

  • over the next 10 years,

  • we open the door to an exciting world

  • where cities are green, the air is clean,

  • energy and transport are efficient,

  • jobs in a fair economy are abundant,

  • and forests, soil and waters are regenerated.

  • Our world will be safer and healthier,

  • more stable and more just than what we have now.

  • This decade is a moment of choice unlike any we have ever lived.

  • All of us alive right now share that responsibility

  • and that opportunity.

  • There are many changes to make over the next 10 years,

  • and each of us will take different steps along the way.

  • But all of us start the transformation in one place, our mindset.

  • Faced with today's facts,

  • we can be indifferent,

  • do nothing

  • and hope the problem goes away.

  • We can despair and plunge into paralysis,

  • or we can become stubborn optimists

  • with a fierce conviction that no matter how difficult,

  • we must and we can rise to the challenge.

  • Optimism is not about blindly ignoring the realities that surround us,

  • that's foolishness.

  • It's also not a naive faith that everything will take care of itself,

  • even if we do nothing.

  • That is irresponsibility.

  • The optimism I'm speaking of is not the result of an achievement,

  • it is the necessary input to meeting a challenge.

  • It is, in fact, the only way to increase our chance of success.

  • Think of the impact of a positive mindset on a personal goal you have set yourself.

  • Running a marathon, learning a new language,

  • creating a new country, like my father,

  • or like me, reaching a global agreement on climate change.

  • The Paris Agreement of 2015 is hailed as a historical breakthrough.

  • What we started in utter gloom

  • when I assumed leadership

  • of the international climate change negotiations in 2010,

  • six months after the failed Copenhagen meetings,

  • the world was in a very dark place on climate change.

  • No one believed we would ever agree on global decarbonization.

  • Not even I believed it was possible.

  • But then I realized,

  • a shared vision

  • and a globally agreed route toward that vision was indispensable.

  • It took a deliberate change of mindset, first in me,

  • and then in all other participants,

  • who gradually but courageously moved from despair to determination,

  • from confrontation to collaboration,

  • until we collectively delivered the global agreement.

  • But we have not moved fast enough.

  • Many now believe it is impossible

  • to cut global emissions in half in this decade.

  • I say, we don't have the right to give up or let up.

  • Optimism means envisioning our desired future

  • and then actively pulling it closer.

  • Optimism opens the field of possibility,

  • it drives your desire to contribute, to make a difference,

  • it makes you jump out of bed in the morning

  • because you feel challenged and hopeful at the same time.

  • But it isn't going to be easy.

  • We will stumble along the way.

  • Many other global urgencies could temper our hope for rapid progress,

  • and our current geopolitical reality could easily dampen our optimism.

  • That's where stubbornness comes in.

  • Our optimism cannot be a sunny day attitude.

  • It has to be gritty, determined, relentless.

  • It is a choice we have to make every single day.

  • Every barrier must be an indication to try a different way.

  • In radical collaboration with each other,

  • we can do this.

  • For years, I had a recurring nightmare

  • in which I saw seven pairs of children's eyes,

  • the eyes of seven generations,

  • staring back at me, asking,

  • "What did you do?"

  • Now, we have millions of children in the streets,

  • asking us adults the same question,

  • "What are you doing?"

  • And we have to respond.

  • Like our fathers and mothers before us,

  • we are the farmers of the future.

  • I invite each of you to ask yourself:

  • What is the future you want,

  • and what are you doing to make that future a reality?

  • You will each have a different answer,

  • but you can all start by joining the growing family

  • of stubborn optimists around the world.

  • Welcome to the family.

Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

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The case for stubborn optimism on climate | Christiana Figueres

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/29
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