Throughout the streets leading to the location of the United Nations’ COP22 are signs bearing the word “ACT” in various languages of the world. Upon entering the space for dialogues, the speeches and interactions are based on how action cannot be gradual, but immediate. As I pondered the words in the context of my express purpose for making this journey-to insure that cultural heritage and the continuation of traditional indigenous cultures is not lost as the new policies get printed and enacted, I wondered how this could be phrased for my people as well as the rest of us that are focused on protecting cultural heritage in the face of climate change.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) presenting to the global community in the UNESCO Pavilion at the United Nation’s COP22 Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.
As I meditated on the discussions and participated in interactive multimedia displays that truly brought to life the purpose of this entire event, the words finally started to surface in my soul:
Lower (our carbon emissions)
Turn (another way from current habits and turn off the lights and the tap)
Undo and unlearn (things that are damaging the planet)
Recycle and replant (such as the oyster shells as well as the trees)
CULTURE IN ACTION!
I am looking forward to getting back to the waters of the Sea Islands and to the Gullah/Geechee Nation to get my people into the flow of this action while we await seeing the “Blue Book on Water and Climate” which will be launched by the Moroccan Government and its partners as a concrete outcome of its interim International Conference on Water and Climate, hosted in Rabat in July 2016, in cooperation with the Government of France and the World Water Council.
The publication collects the orientations and recommendations brought forth by the international water community to support the implementation of climate commitments and proposes a variety of concrete and applicable solutions related to adaptation and resilience through water management.
Coupling the Blue Book with some of the vital information directed at the tourism industry via the “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate” report that was presented during COP22 by our partners at the Union of Concerned Scientists and ICOMOS will assist us in the implementation of numerous components of the sustainability and adaptation plans that the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank has been working on for some time. The resiliency that is inherent in the traditional lifeways of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are critical to such planning and to the continued global efforts to combat climate change. As I have written before, the Gullah/Geechee Nation continues to thrive and survive even as the sea levels rise:
Living literally on the shores of the frontline of climate change impacts makes the immediately implementation of CULTURE IN ACTION absolutely necessary because as my mama always taught me “Time and tide wait for no man or woman!” The changes are already flowing. So, now it is a choice in which way we will be going. Disya a Gullah/Geechee Call ta Action frum COP22! Wha hunnuh chillun gwine do? The quality of life in the world is truly up to you!
Insure that you read about the complete journey Queen Quet had getting to and through the United Nations’ COP22: