The world was stunned by the recent attacks in Paris for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
As the casualties are treated and the dead buried, however, the events must not put off the Paris climate conference (COP21) planned to take place in two weeks.
World leaders, international organizations and civil society groups have been planning for a major breakthrough in climate negotiations for months. The attacks last Friday must not derail those talks out of fear something else bad will happen.
The point of terrorism is to provoke terror, not simply to kill or injure. Business as usual demonstrates the failure of the Islamic State to change the world's agenda.
It is the world's agenda, after all.
COP21 (to deal with global warming) and the sustainable development goals approved last month by the United Nations are critical efforts to change the course of global society away from the disasters that will otherwise certainly unfold.
From the victim's perspective, it does not matter if death comes by suicide bomber, tsunami or starvation. Drought and disease are as lethal as any automatic weapon.
Without the changes to how we live together COP21 is supposed to address, climate change will cause more devastation in a week than the Islamic State could hope to cause in a century. (The melting Greenland glacier currently in the news involves enough water to raise sea levels by two feet, for example.)
Personal security concerns must not be allowed to trump global environmental decisions. We need leaders, from all walks of life, determined to do what is right for future generations, even if it is at some risk to themselves.
What might happen should not frighten us away from doing what we need to do. Unfortunately, it has already happened once in the past year.
Last June, I participated in the UN environment assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, the global meetings for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that now directs the UN's environmental affairs. Every day, I commuted to the venue by taxi, past the Canadian High Commission, where I watched an automatic-weapons strongpoint being built on the roof.
Though nothing untoward happened, we were told security concerns kept most of the Canadian and American delegations to the UN environment assembly at home. That undermined what both countries might otherwise have contributed to important environmental negotiations that prepared the way for COP21.
It was an unfortunate decision, taken quietly and out of the media spotlight. However understandable our anxieties and fears might be, the best response to the terrorist threat is to carry on despite them — and with more determination, not less.
We can't create a future without fear by being fearful ourselves today.
Peter Denton is an adjunct associate history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and a representative for North America to UNEP.