The World Climate Emergency . . . and the Legend of the Hummingbird


The bedtime story I tell to my grandchildren:

One day, a very long time ago and in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire that was raging the entire countryside. All the animals in the forest were terrified, running around in circles, screaming, crying, arguing, and helplessly watching and waiting for the impending disaster.

But there suddenly, in the middle of the flames, and above the mass of cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird, busy flying from a small pond quite far away from the actual  fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the flames. And then again/ And then again. And yet again.

After a while, a grouchy old  armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Tiny bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those minuscule drops of water one after the other that you are going to put out the fire and save us all! ”

To which the hummingbird replied, “Could be, but I’m doing my bit”.

Forest fire bird branch

This is actually my rough “translation” of a French version of the story “La légende du Colibri” which reads in the original like this:

Un jour, dit la légende, il y eut un immense incendie de forêt. Tous les animaux terrifiés, atterrés, observaient impuissants le désastre.

Seul le petit colibri s’activait, allant chercher quelques gouttes avec son bec pour les jeter sur le feu.

Après un moment, le tatou, agacé par cette agitation dérisoire, lui dit : « Colibri ! Tu n’es pas fou ? Ce n’est pas avec ces gouttes d’eau que tu vas éteindre le feu ! »

Et le colibri lui répondit :« Je le sais. Mais je fais ma part.

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And this in words and images is how the excellent Pierre Rabhi tells the story:


Pierre Rabhi  is a French writer, farmer and environmentalist. Originally a Muslim, he converted to Christianity before getting away from all forms of organized religion. He studied in France  and is a notable figure in the field of agroecology. He invented the concept of “Oasis en tous lieux”, “(Oasis everywhere”). Rabhi proposes a society that functions in a manner which respects populations and land and supports the development of agricultural techniques that take care of the environment preservation natural resources. His theories relate particularly though not exclusively to arid countries. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

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Five Percent 5% cover page top guy circles - wider


  1. Welcome: Introduction and road map —
  2. Global Climate Emergency Context –
  3. World Climate Emergency: News & Media —
  4. Climate Emergency programs getting underway —
  5. Focus: New Mobility Agenda –
  6. Your City’s Challenge —
  7. Thinking Strategies –
  8. Planners’ Toolkit —
  9. Planners’ Bookshelf – (to follow)
  10. World Streets TDM Primer —
  11. The Third Force –
  12. Critical: Full Gender Parity –
  13. Penang Case study —

14.  Safe City 2020 (Thinking exercise) –

  1. Visual evidence – (Commons attribution 4.0)
  2. International Advisory Panel – (being upddated)
  3. New Mobility Master Classes – &
  4. Twitter –
  5. LinkedIn –

# # #




Contacts:       EcoPlan International        World Streets

Coordinator:   2020 Climate/Mobility Action Plan   The Five Percent Challenge

Contact:     E.   W/app  +336 5088 0787    Skype. Newmobility

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About the author:






Contacts:      M.D.  EcoPlan International      Founding editor.  World Streets

Coordinator:   2020 Climate/Mobility Action Plan   The Five Percent Challenge   Context:

Contact:     E.   W/app  +336 5088 0787    Skype. Newmobility     TwitterFacebook





(1) Your invitation –

About the editor of World Streets:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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