Paris Agreement: A letter to my American friends

When Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement last week, I thought a lot about you and all of those in America who are actively involved in making sure our planet remains livable. I would like to express our friendship and our determination to pursue this action alongside you.

When the American President spoke from the White House’s elegant rose garden, I was with communities of farmers on the East coast of Madagascar for the launch of a new Livelihoods project. Mr. Trump’s words, refusing to contribute to the international effort to reduce climate change, appeared to be particularly unsuitable and unfair, especially from the point of view of this country, which is one of the poorest on this planet, and where the destruction of natural resources and the consequences of climate change are especially acute. Moreover, there is an urgency on this big island, more than elsewhere, to promote sustainable economic practices in order to generate jobs and revenues, all while preserving the future.

These necessary transformations of our production and consumption patterns, the energies we use, the raw materials we process, are widely underway and will not be stopped. All around the world, companies, cities, groups of citizens, universities, etc, invent low-carbon solutions which create economic wealth. They know the fallback on individual outdated models and narrow interests will lead mankind to a dire standoff, and we have to build anew. These social dynamics are particularly strong in the United States and we have great trust in the capacities of the American society to strengthen this movement, even if it lacks the support of the government.

Companies are more and more engaged in the fight against climate change, for the economic activities, the consumers and the jobs of tomorrow all depend on it. They find themselves at the forefront and we can applaud the American companies which have publicly stated they will pursue their efforts in order to implement the goals defined at the COP21 Paris Agreement.

The Livelihoods Funds regroup companies from various countries which share the same vision, invest together in sustainable agricultural projects, and develop, together, high-impact solutions with NGOs, professional organizations and governments. We have no other choice than to invent these new low-carbon models in order to feed a healthy diet to 9 billion people in 2050 without depleting our planet’s resources even more.

The decision announced in Washington will not discourage us. On the contrary, it encourages us to work together in order to hasten the necessary changes.

Bernard Giraud
President & Cofounder of Livelihoods Venture