Article / 03 Dec, 2018
Sir David Attenborough Launches UN Campaign to Promote Climate Action by the People

UN Climate Change News, 3 December 2018 - The renowned broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has announced the United Nations’ launch of a new campaign enabling individuals the world over to unite in actions to battle climate change.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland (COP24, to 14 December), Sir David Attenborough launched The People’s Seat, and delivered the first People’s Seat Address.

The seat allows the world’s people to speak directly to the decision makers via social media by using #TakeYourSeat. Sir David Attenborough called it the result of new activism shaped by people from around the world and collected through social media.

“In the last two weeks,” he said, “the world’s people have taken part in creating this address, answering polls, creating videos and voicing their opinions.”

“They want you – the decision makers – to act now,” the British broadcaster said, addressing the politicians and officials assembled for two weeks in this Polish mining town to negotiate next steps in monitoring and mitigating climate change.

“The people are behind you, supporting you in making tough decisions, but they are also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives,” Attenborough said. “To make this even easier, the UN is launching the Act Now bot. Helping people to discover simple everyday actions that they can take, because they recognise that they too must play their part.”

The People’s Seat Address was accompanied by a video produced with social media content that people had posted in advance of COP24 using the hashtag #TakeYourSeat.

The People’s Seat Address was broadcast live on Facebook with more than 16 million people around the world watching it in the first 24 hours.

The People’s Seat will continue to be used as a vehicle in the conversations at COP24. For example, the world's people are invited into the Just Transition discussion by sharing their thoughts through social media, using #TakeYourSeat and #JustTransition to answer the question, “What does the Just Transition mean for you?”

In the address to the opening session of United Nations Climate Change Conference COP24  in Katowice, Sir David Attenborough urged everyone to use the UN’s new ActNow.bot, designed to give people the power and knowledge to take personal action against climate change directly on the Facebook Messenger Platform.

This innovative UN campaign was created with the support of Facebook and advertising company Grey and harnesses advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to engage people in the growing movement to take climate action.

The ActNow.bot is a fully interactive and responsive chat bot, located on the UN’s Facebook page that suggests everyday actions – determined by the user’s interaction with the bot – that can be taken to preserve the environment and logged on the platform to be shared with social media followers to persuade them to take action too. The collective actions will be presented during the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York in September 2019. 

UN Under-Secretary-General of Global Communications Alison Smale welcomed the launch.

 “Rising global temperature, record levels of greenhouse emissions, and increasing impacts of climate change require urgent and measurable action on the part of everyone,’’ she said.  “This new social media tool, a Facebook Messenger bot, will help people learn about activities to reduce their carbon footprint, and show—and share with friends - how they are making an impact.  We all need to do things differently.”

The initiative comes as global decision makers are being asked to intensify efforts in the battle against climate change and to agree the implementation guidelines of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

All this is evolving against a backdrop of conclusive new evidence by UN Environment which found countries need to significantly step up the necessary actions to fulfil the commitments made in Paris.

The Climate Action Bot aims to highlight popular global commitment to reducing climate change, and to stand behind decision makers worldwide in taking actions to preserve our environment.

For more information, see the relevant Fact Sheet