The swell of urgency around climate change since my last blog post has been stratospheric. Now a #ClimateEmergency has been declared in the U.K., perception is starting to shift and finally, hopefully, we can make significant national progress which will translate to the rest of the world.
When I started writing Adaptive Consequences about three years ago, I was inspired (in the worst possible way) by the horrors of the world’s destiny if we perpetuated our same behaviours. My intent – scale of success dependent! – was to contribute to the wider conversation about saving our planet and living more sustainably. I’ve watched the recent events unfold with eager eyes and a full heart. The elevation of the climate change conversation appears to have happened overnight (though the work has been culminating for years/decades), thanks to the perfect storm of pioneering individuals and groups. In the past couple of months, it’s traversed from marginalisation to mainstream, demonstrating the magic that persistence, integrity and collaboration can conjure.
The necessary meteorological conditions were birthed by fearless 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, Youth Strike For Climate and Extinction Rebellion, everyone’s-dream-dinner-guest-David Attenborough’s Our Planet, and the unrelenting diligence of the Green Party, amongst others. In the past two months they’ve grabbed politics and mass-consciousness by the balls and forced climate change on the political-cultural agenda. It is their refusal to ignore the issue (nor be ignored), and their coordinated efforts to slap everyone around the face with the inconvenient truth, that has led us to this point. It’s no coincidence that the strikes and protests coincided with the WWF-partnered Our Planet Netflix/Attenborough series. The collaboration between Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis to jointly table a bill in parliament – the Green New Deal – shows what working together can achieve. We should acknowledge and appreciate those who’ve sacrificed and dedicated their lives to produce these seismic shifts; hopefully, the tremors will ripple out into the world. Globally, scientists and experts armed with stats – the backbone of important political decision making – have been banging their head against a brick wall of ignorance for decades. Finally, politicians look like they’re listening.
Yes, Parliament declared a #ClimateEmergency, but the world of politics is a fickle one. As written in my last blog post, only 40 MPs bothered to show up for the previous climate change debate in February – now, it’s at the forefront of the political agenda, giving Brexit some much-needed time off. The dedication of those above (and many more!) made it politically permissible to jump on the bandwagon to point-score and grab votes. Labour snatched the climate change baton and ran with it – great, they’re helping the change – but they need to be clear and consistent with their sustainability agenda. It’s impossible for me to take them seriously as vanguards of the Climate Change revolution when at the same time they’re backing fossil fuel extraction. Britain’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years has been greenlighted (ironic pun intended) by Cumbria County Council – supported by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors. Come on Labour!? WTF?
Talk is cheap, and we know politicians are brilliant talkers. I hope those that have switched-up their priorities have integrity and take the necessary action, rather than continue the political and business-pandering bullshit that propelled us into the terrifying situation we’re in now. I’m a big supporter in Citizen’s Assemblies – a randomly-selected, representative group of people who deliberate and make recommendations concerning leading, topical issues. Citizens Assemblies have been operating in Canada and Ireland already – we need our voices to be heard, and should actively and regularly participate in the governance of our country.
An important step has been made in the #ClimateEmergency declaration, but it’s our job to force the momentum forward and hold politicians accountable. This is the first step – there’s a long way to go yet; now for the international, as well as national, heavy-lifting…
Side note: An update of eco-friendly and sustainable products is on its way!