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Paris lights up with artistic and human energy

Human Energy - by artist Yann Toma & ARTEL - © Shun Kambe 2015

11.12.2015 - In a star-studded Paris, the second week of COP21 kicked off once again with the illumination of the Eiffel Tower. 

On Sunday 6 December, the French artist and Sorbonne professor Yann Toma and his team of mathematicians harnessed the energy of millions of people across the world. Their energy gives the Iron Lady ‘its original vocation which was to transmit energy and messages’, said Yann Toma. The more calories are burned by millions running, and the more people tweet #COP21 # HumanEnergy or #ParisClimate2015, the brighter the Eiffel Tower will shine.

An afternoon with Robert Redford - © UNFCCC Hans Jürgen StaudtOn Sunday, lifetime activist Robert Redford joined UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to address a gathering of indigenous leaders and hundreds of students. Mundiya Kepenga, a Papua traditional leader, particularly touched the public: “I apologize, I don’t know how to read or write. You have satellites to understand the climate, I only have my eyes. It’s with my eyes and heart that I’m going to tell you about climate change. That’s why I’m here”. 

On Monday 7 December, one of the most sought-after tickets in town was the UN Foundations’s TEDx-style Earth to Paris event at the Petit Palais. Joining a long list of experts, advocates, and CEOs, US Secretary of State John Kerry promised to “make Paris the demarcation point where we begin to get the job done to save the planet.” 

Earth to Paris - © UN DPI

Over 1500 people gathered at the elegant Théâtre Mogador in the centre of Paris for UNDP’s annual Equator prize, an academy award for Sustainable Development. Moderated by the actor Alec Baldwin, the audience listened to renowned environmentalists such as the anthropologist Jane Goodall, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and charismatic Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo. But the real stars of the evening were the winners of the prize for remarkable achievements in tackling climate change, using innovative measures thinking globally and acting locally. The video on the work of the 21 winning initiatives was narrated by the actor and activist Edward Norton. In her closing remarks, Dr. Jane Goodall called on our “fast-paced modern world” to listen to the wisdom and traditions of indigenous people. "There is a disconnect between the human brain, with its capacity do so much, and the human heart," said Goodall. "I believe we will reach our true human potential when the head and heart work in harmony", she added to a standing ovation. 

Equator Prize pic

Across town at another ceremony, short films on climate change were screened by the Mobile Film Festival. The concept is simple: “1 smartphone, 1 minute, 1 film”. More than 20 million views on internet, 765 films received, 75 selected. The Grand Prize was awarded to the French film No Sense, a love story set in a world where the air is so polluted that people have to constantly wear oxygen masks. The best foreign film prize has been been awarded to Terre négligée by Comorian film maker Zainou El Abidine.

The Mayor of Paris’s IV arrondissment, Christophe Girard, partnered with UNRIC and a number of the artists who have contributed to making COP21 an open air museum in Paris, to celebrate Human Rights day and send a collective message to the negotiators at the Bourget. The musician Charlie Winston played the piano. Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon addressed the crowd gathered at the City Hall with a video message, asking them to continue to work for the planet with “your renewable, abundant and contagious energy.”

Credit Shun Kambe


Photo Credit

  • Human Energy

  • UNRIC 


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