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Action etymologically implies movement, carrying out an action, doing. The multiple actions proposed by Agenda 2030 are embodied in 60 verbs.
Eradicate, reduce, implement, ensure, foster, create, end, duplicate, secure, maintain, increase, correct, prevent, adopt, strengthen, achieve, support, reinforce, eliminate, build, adapt, value, recognize, undertake, approve, implement, protect, restore, expand, promote, elaborate, develop, launch, modernize, facilitate, enhance, apply, provide, redouble, encourage, rationalize, incorporate, fulfill, manage, protect, minimize, address, regulate, conserve, prohibit, oversee, fight, endeavor, stop, integrate, mobilize, confront, carry out, respect, capitalize.
Artist Cristina Lucas takes the temperature of three of them —value, support, encourage— in a thermal map. This type of infographic is used to visually represent statistical data about behavioral changes and the magnitude of variables in two dimensions. Perhaps it is the heat map of the Earth’s surface that we most associate with these images: masses of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue for us to consider how the climate emergency we are experiencing is revealed in temperatures: “extreme weather events, increasingly frequent and intense, already affect all regions of the Earth. Rising temperatures will further exacerbate these dangers, posing serious risks.”
With these words, the United Nations recognizes climate change in the current Agenda 2030, especially in SDG#17, as was first reflected in the Millennium Development Goals and their subsequent update in 2015. It is also the main topic of the successive Climate Summits (COP), from Rome in 1972, starting with the Club of Rome, to Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the most global one of Paris in 2015, Madrid in 2019, Glasgow in 2021, and the most recent in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2022. However, despite the fine words —”Urgent and transformative action that goes beyond mere plans and promises is crucial”— all commitments, unfulfilled, exhaust the deadlines one after another.
This lukewarm climate, this lack of specificity, is what Lucas denounces:
It seems that politicians and civil leaders only reflect on and point out the problem, but do not reach real action, as if their work were purely aesthetic or mere rhetoric. Where is the real commitment? Where are the effective control mechanisms? A constant in all points covered in international treaties, not only those related to environmental issues but also social and economic ones that are mentioned when talking about the pursuit of sustainable development. Just words, just unfulfilled actions that forecast colder times in the face of a hot situation.