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Prime Minister of Barbados at the COP26: Clarion Voice

I’ve watched and listened to Mia Motley’s short speech about the urgency of Climate Change at COP26 a
couple of times. Ms. Motley is the Prime Minister of Barbados, one of the low island countries which is most immediately threatened by sea level rise. With her deep, emphatic, clarion voice she cuts through all the murky greenwashing of the developed countries who talk as though they are proposing solutions but resist slowing their economies. Those economies still run predominantly on fossil fuels, and to keep them
running they seem prepared to sacrifice the world’s poor and poorly located countries which will pay the
price of a slow transition to green energy. Ms. Motley makes it clear that the claim of not enough money is convenient but hollow. The money is there; the will is missing. And many of the developed countries are
basing their commitments to lower greenhouse gases on technologies that are not yet proven. She asks the powerful world leaders arrayed before her, “When will leaders lead?”

At the beginning of her speech, Motley says that whether we are talking about the pandemic or about
climate change, national solutions do not work! We need global solutions, and if we don’t get them, selfishness and greed will cause our common destruction. I urge you all to listen to this speech. Play it in your classrooms and board rooms. Discuss the difference between responding to climate change as
though it is a moral crisis or an economic crisis. Discuss if those crises can be separated, and by whom. If
the leaders don’t lead, how can the people?

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