05 Feb Climate Emergency Talk
Here we are on a planet that is hurtling at thousands of miles per hour through space. In fact we are rotating at 1000 mph, circling the sun at 67,000mph and through our galaxy at 490,000mph
When we see ourselves as this spaceship flying though this vast universe with all our emergency lights flashing, temperature, water, waste, biodiversity loss at some point we have to wake up and act. Our life support system is failing.
Climate scientist James Hansen starting raising the alarm bell in the 1970’s and 80’s. Working for NASA he discovered that the planet Venus was too hot due to excessive CO2 levels and Mars was too cold due to a lack of CO2 but the Earth in the middle had just the right level of CO2 to create the perfect environment for life to flourish. These studies showed what would happen to the Earth if the CO2 continued to rise.
As more and more fossil fuels were burnt data showed us the climate was changing. We moved from talking about global warming as it became apparent what we were experiencing was not just about the warming it was really about climate change, there was more rain, more drought, more fires, more typhoons and extreme weather incidents and all aspects of the weather was changing. We now have moved on from talking about climate change into climate breakdown.
The concern about rising sea levels flooding coastal cities and drastic reduction in ability to grow food for a rising population has now also led to the realisation of problems with migration. We do not talk about the Syrian refugees and Central American caravan in connection to climate change. However many of these people came from rural areas and are unable to farm any more, they have faced droughts and crop failures and being unable to grow food and find water they have no choice but to move, first into cities and then to head north.
Its not just people who have lost their homes, we have lost 70% of the worlds forests and imagine all the life that once lived there.
The massive amount of carbon which comes from burning these forests seriously contributes to our climate breakdown. Yes we desperately need to plant more trees but that alone would never soak up the amount of carbon we have released into the atmosphere. We have no choice but we must stop burning it.
We no longer have the luxury to just talk about climate change we need an uprising. The suffragettes did not get the vote by sitting at home drinking tea and talking about the inequality. They rose up and took to the streets, raising awareness through whatever means they could.
We need the young to feel impassioned like Greta Thunberg who reminded the world leaders that our house is on fire and that she does not want hope but wants you to panic and feel the fear like she does.
What will it take to awaken people from their complacency?
We have to look at all areas, all the threads of the tapestry, The lack of political will and the urgent need to get people to start standing up and petitioning their MPs to act. The lack of public transport to encourage people out of their cars and off cheap flights. The need for more support in the inevitable move over to renewable energy. The need for us to stand up against the injustices of the fossil fuel industry and refuse more drilling. The wasteful an inefficient agricultural system and movement of food. We need to move our money and pensions out of the main banks who are those who financially support the fossil fuel industry. We need international environmental laws and policies which are actually enforceable and we all need to reduce our personal carbon footprints.
We live in a world of wants not needs. It is these wants that has got us in to the problem we are facing.
We need to look to Nature for guidance. Nature is not about wanting more and more but to live within its means , it is not about competition it is so much more about cooperation.
We start small, our own awakening to the crisis we are in, joining up with other like minded people where we live and then rippling out. Like Paul Hawken said in one of my all time favourite books Blessed Unrest – how the largest movement in the world came into being and no one saw it coming. We are like the earths immune system, locally supporting and coming to its need when faced by a threat.
We must join forces and support each others actions. It has been too long that in each town only a handful of passionate people have stood up to defend the Earth, we must raise our numbers and unite, bringing our gifts to the groups. How can we as individuals do more, challenge ourselves to step it up and push harder? It is the great turning and we can see that the tide is changing but we need to keep raising awareness and inviting others to come help and stop this spaceship full of incredible beauty and diversity self destroying.
All great change has come from grass roots movements. For us to solve this problem and see the amazing opportunity that it is, we will need action from everyone.
Today unlike the politicians who go round and round without a firm pledge of action we must formulate a plan.
Many examples have been written up on how we get there. We are not starting anew. Look to examples such as http://www.zerocarbonbritain.org/en/ where an incredible amount of information has been collated. Be inspired to see zero carbon scenarios from across the world and decide for yourself in which way you can best act.
If you want to see change then be a part of the change you wish to see in the world and remember action is the antidote to despair.