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Faces of Climate Change

Nicolas Haeringer, Climate activist, France

"This summit is a peace summit. It's all about peace, and it is probably the most important peace summit ever. Because this is about how to maintain the very possibility for a just and livable future."

If you want to know how to mobilize 10,000 people in five days, ask Nicolas Haeringer of 350.org. The organizer of the climate march that was cancelled after the deadly attacks of November 13, expected 3,000 to join the impromptu alternative event - a human chain through Paris. In the event, 10,000 came. It "sent a strong message", though it did not give the same strength of voice to the underrepresented.

"There are people affected by climate change in France, in Paris - mainly poor people, people of color who live in communities where buildings have not been renovated," he said. "Old people suffer if they live in tall buildings when the lift is broken, they cannot leave their apartment, so if there is a heatwave they cannot buy water."

And the impacts on his home country, don't stop there. "I am not that old, I am 35, but I can say I've witnessed effects of climate change and global warming." Growing up in the Alps, he recalls winters without lots of snow were the exception. "Now it's the opposite." And that has an impact on the ecosystem.

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He sees it as his responsibility – as a citizen and a father – to keep fighting to stop global warming, and is hoping that COP21 will turn the page on fossil fuel. "That would give us more legitimacy in the actions we do, in the divestment campaign and it would send a clear signal to the economic world that this period is over."

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