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"Our planet is in peril." Appeal of Sebastião Salgado for Climate Action Day

The Peace Price winner of this year appeals to raise the voice on 29 November 2019: "On Climate Action Day, we can ring bells of alarm; during the rest of the year we must act. We have no choice."


Sebastiao Salgado
© Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Our planet is in peril. With every hurricane, flood, heat wave, forest fire and fierce drought, our sense of gloom deepens. What have we done to nature? What have we done to ourselves? In my travels around the world as a photographer, I have seen too much and too often how greed and despair have razed forests, polluted our cities and damaged our health. At times, I confess, I have felt close to despair.

And yet there is hope, hope that springs from the world’s youth which refuses to accept the steady slide towards environmental catastrophe. More and more, from New York to Sydney, from Berlin to Auckland, we are witnessing an extraordinary awakening and mobilization of teenagers and even pre-teens who are demanding a halt to this destruction.

Climate Action Day is a splendid occasion for all of us, young and old, to offer an example, to raise our voices and to demand that our governments, political parties, companies and civil societies work together to address climate change with the urgency it deserves. We used to be warned out the dangers; now we know the reality of global warming. On Climate Action Day, we can ring bells of alarm; during the rest of the year we must act. We have no choice.