Tribute to Benjamin Barber: philosopher, activist and visionary

By Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of Benjamin Barber. On behalf of C40 Cities and the ninety mayors who make up the C40 network, we send our deepest condolences to Benjamin’s family.
 
Benjamin Barber’s political theories, developed over decades of public discourse and debate, and made concrete in his seminal work, ‘If Mayors Ruled the World’, have shaped the work of C40 Cities more than any other.

Benjamin Barber and Anne Hidalgo at the Women4Climate Conference in New York City.

At this time when political divisions are felt more passionately than ever, I am reminded of Ben’s favourite quote, from former New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, “There is no Democratic or Republican way of fixing a sewer.” When mayors from across the C40 network meet and we consider the impacts of climate change already underway in our cities and the urgency of the crisis we are facing, there is no place for ideological division. We are focused only on delivering the action needed to realise the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and creating sustainable prosperous cities for our citizens. That is why the C40 model has proven so successful and it is a daily testament to Ben’s brilliance in helping to create it. 

I was delighted to see Ben in person just weeks ago at the Women4Climate Conference in New York City. Ben was there sharing ideas and words of support for the next generation of young women who will lead the fight against climate change in our cities.
 
I will miss his advice and guidance, as will so many other mayors from around the world, for whom he was an inspiration and a source of wisdom. Yet, his ideas will live on and continue to guide the work of C40 Cities. The leadership of mayors in delivering the Paris Agreement, limiting global temperature rise and creating sustainable cities ready for the future, will be a fitting legacy for Benjamin Barber.”

Women4Climate

Benjamin Barber and Anne Hidalgo at the Women4Climate Conference in New York City.