Photo: Sachyn Mital

Pathway to Paris Benefit Draws Attention to “1,000 Cities” Project

With the aid of Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Michael Stipe and more, Pathway to Paris raised awareness of climate change and their "1,000 Cities" initiative at Carnegie Hall.

Pathway to Paris was co-founded by Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti Smith, and Rebecca Foon with a mission to mitigate climate change through activism and to “help turn the Paris Agreement into real action”. Including the two founders, the non-profit organization has strong connections to musicians, artists, and activists around the world, many of whom combined forces at Carnegie Hall on November 5th to raise awareness of the “1,000 Cities” campaign. “1,000 Cities” is an ambitious project under which the hope is to have cities around the world pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, a stronger target than considered in the Paris Climate Accords.

Performers, speakers and UN dignitaries at Carnegie Hall included Bill McKibben, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Michael Stipe, Flea, Talib Kweli, Joan Baez, Cat Power, Tanya Tagaq, Tenzin Choegyal, Olafur Eliasson, Mila Rosenthal and Jo Sheuer (of the UN Development Program), and the aforementioned folks. The performances included a tremendous version of “Get By” from Kweli (with Flea on bass) which found Baez dancing along to the audience’s delight, Baez’s take on Antony and the Johnson’s “Another World”, Stipe delivering “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole, and, of course, the finale with Patti Smith and pretty much everyone else incanting “People Have the Power”.

International performers and artists offered different musical perspectives than what many in the audience were likely accustomed to. Choegyal performed a beautiful “Heartstrings” accompanied by Foon and Jesse Paris Smith while Tagaq’s guttural vocals resonated throughout the hall above an accompaniment from Jeffrey Zeigler. The most stirring moment in the night involved Eliasson’s Little Sun solar project. Under every seat was a solar light (later to be donated to those in need in Puerto Rico) that brightened the Hall as it became an element of a bigger art piece — the thousands of lights were raised and moved as one, for a video.

Pathway continues to provide their followers with notices of political activism. They recently called for New Yorkers to attend a climate change-related public hearing from public advocate Tish James. Steps like these may be small ones on the path to reaching “1,000 Cities”, but they would be progress nonetheless. Foon spoke with us in a bit more detail about the goals the “1,000 Cities” campaign ahead of the Carnegie Hall show. After you read what she said, please make sure to take action, reach out to your leaders.

Pathway to Paris is committed to helping turn the Paris Agreement into reality and this requires a global dialogue. We believe that we can help build a movement through music and art that is committed to turning the Paris agreement into action. We also believe a solution to climate change comes from transforming our communities, one city at a time. Pathway to Paris is launching 1,000 Cities to help unite the world to turn the Paris Agreement into action. The initiative invites 1,000 Cities around the world to become 100% renewable and transition off of fossil fuels to make Paris real. And cities are responding.

We are reaching out to small, medium and large scale cities as we believe the transformation needs to come for cities of all shapes and sizes. All different size cities are responding depending on where they are at with their climate action planning. We have just launched a campaign that anyone can sign to urge city’s leaders to reject fossil fuels and commit to 100% renewable energy by 2040. You can check it out here.

We are working on creating a strong network to help support cities not only to create ambitious climate action plans, but to also create financial mechanisms through a strong partnership — mechanisms to turn the action plans into reality… a renewables future that is thriving within a powerful transformed green economy.



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