November 7, 2017
A Night to Remember
Music. Energy. Activism. Inspiration. Pathway to Paris was all that and so much more. It was a night of unforgettable performances by some of the world’s greatest musicians, accompanied by direction and insight from climate activists and experts. But for us, what remains, even a few days later, is the powerful sense of having been part of something bigger than ourselves. From the people in the crowd to the performers on the stage, we all came together that night. And together we’re building a movement, rooted in joy and determination, that will see the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement made real.
It’d be impossible to choose just one favorite moment, so instead we chose ten! If you were there, or if you watched along with us on our live stream, be sure to share your own favorites below. Thank you so much for being part of this incredible evening and don't forget to join the movement and take action here!
Setting the Tone
Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon ARE Pathway to Paris. They organized the first concert in 2014 and have been working tirelessly ever since to unite art and activism and use that energy to fight climate change. They welcomed everyone to the show with love, hope, and gratitude, asking us to embrace our role in creating a sustainable, livable world.
Greener Cities, Greener World
On stage at Carnegie Hall, Jesse and Rebecca officially launched the 1000 Cities initiative, an exciting grassroots effort to encourage (at least!) 1000 cities to go 100% fossil-fuel free by 2040. After all, cities are responsible for 70% of the the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, while taking up just 2% of its land area.
The Fight for Progress Crosses Generations
When Jesse introduced her mother, the legendary Patti Smith, they both began crying. It was a brief, genuinely moving and intimate moment on a very big, very public stage.
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We Fight and We Celebrate
Michael Stipe, former lead singer of REM, set the tone for the evening when he spoke with urgency about standing united and fighting climate change, while reminding us to enjoy and celebrate the music that brought us together.
No More Talk
Activist and writer Bill McKibben, calling his comments the “boring part of the evening,” declared that the time for talk is over. It’s time for action, and since we can’t rely on the federal government for leadership, we need to lead, especially at the local level.
A Voice We’ll Never Forget
Throat singer Tanya Tagaq stunned the audience with an uncategorizable and unforgettable performance. With swirling, heaving vocals backed by a lone cello, she seemed to give voice to the earth’s suffering—and its beauty.
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Sanctity of the Planet
Carnegie Hall, during Tenzin Choegyal’s songs, felt like a cathedral or some other sacred space. His trancelike compositions moved the crowd to silence and, when he finished, stirring applause.
Thousands of Little Suns
Artist Olafur Eliasson created a magical moment with his Little Sun lamps, a portable solar-powered LED light. There was one hidden under every seat in the hall and, after the house lights were turned off, following his directions, the room slowly began to fill with light as audience members turned them on one by one, until the whole space swam in light, all our hands swaying in unison, holding the lamps aloft. He’s sending those lamps, and more, to Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts.
A Veteran of Many Movements
Joan Baez’s passion and voice remain undiminished. Her performance was a reminder that the struggle for progress never ends.
Get Up Out of Those Seats
Talib Kweli turned up the energy got the crowd on its feet. His music even brought Baez dancing back out onto stage after her own stirring set. It was a perfect Pathway to Paris moment: the climate movement brings us all together, in community, in solidarity. And everybody loved it.
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In the concert’s finale, everybody came out on stage, artists and activists alike, to sing along to Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power.” “Listen,” they sang, many in the audience rising and singing along with them,
I believe everything we dream
Can come to pass through our union
We can turn the world around.
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