We need to do something to stop the climate catastrophe. It’s not some distant prospect, it’s something that is happening now, with record breaking temperatures in summers and polar ice melting faster than expected. Wars, the mass migration of people and political instability are already being caused by climate change. This will only get worse.
Many scientists agree that we have 12 years to take steps to limit the Earth to 1.5 degrees of warming. Whether this can be done may be decided in the next 18 months, through a series of upcoming climate summits. It’s no exaggeration to say that time is running out.
I am not alone in thinking like this. In the last year of so there has been an explosion of climate related activity. Greta Thunberg and her school strikes have gotten the world's attention, Richard Attenborough is using his star power to change minds, Extinction Rebellion have brought a new sense of urgency to the climate movement. Many people I know are going vegan, giving up on flying and trying to live greener to make some kind of impact.
I should do something
I feel that I should do something. I shouldn’t sit on the sidelines. I want to be someone who stands up and makes a difference. We are facing a crucial point in the history of human civilisation, a crossroads, and I want to be part of the process through which humanity finally accepts that we have to protect the natural environment. We have to do something to save millions of human lives and countless other species that we share this planet with.
Brexit has paralyzed politics in the UK. Remain and Leave exchange tirades of anger and nothing changes. I feel powerless when it comes to Brexit and I’m not the only one. What I want from Brexit, i.e. to stop it, seems like such as distant prospect and our elected leaders seem heedless to our calls not to throw the country off a cliff. On the issue of climate, I feel a sense of energy. Change is essential. If politicians don’t deliver it then they will have to be swept aside to save life on Earth as we know it.
I have passion on this issue, but what should I do? I want to make a difference. I want to more than write a blog or retweet George Monbiot.
Individual change or systemic change?
I certainly could recycle more, buy less single use plastic, fly less and eat less meat. These are things I should do to lessen the environmental impact of my life. However, these are individual changes and I don’t think that is the solution to the climate crisis. A world that is not threatened by the climate catastrophe is one where we will probably eat less meat and fly less, however, it will certainly be a world without oil companies. To achieve this world there is only so much I can do as an individual when just 100 companies make 71% of global emissions.
I thought about joining Extinction Rebellion, they are the most radical and interesting group pushing for the change to our politics that is needed. However, their objective of getting a certain number of arrests from an action scare me. I am a wimp and honestly, I am not sure if I am prepared to go to prison for what I believe. This is a question I must settle with myself.
I have considered joining Greenpeace. To some degree their thunder has been stolen by Extinction Rebellion, however, media coverage is one thing but what results are Extinction Rebellion getting? Maybe it’s too soon to tell. Greenpeace have been raising the profile of the climate catastrophe for years and the sudden impact of Extinction Rebellion is partly a result of the work that Greenpeace and others have been doing for years to keep this issue in the public’s conscientiousness.
Maybe I am over thinking this when I should just start acting. I want to dive in and make a difference to avert the climate catastrophe. We all need to. We don’t have long to save life as we know it.