WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT…CLIMATE CHANGE - Sustainable(ish)

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT…CLIMATE CHANGE

I couldn't sleep last night, and I got to thinking, and then to worrying, and then to freaking out, about climate change.
If I'm honest, it's something that's never really far from my mind - it's a kind of constant companion of low level anxiety that can sometimes elicit a visible twitch when I see people not using a re-usable cup, or sitting in their car outside school with the engine running (WHY?!! I totally have NO clue what that is all about? Apart from anything else, you are sitting there literally polluting the air that your little darling is going to be breathing in two minutes time when the kids all pile out of school you absolute moron. OK, clearly that's another topic for a rant another time).

I know that there are people like me who worry - I see them every day in my FB group, and on my Twitter and IG feeds.
But when I look up from the computer screen, I don't see them.
I rarely have conversations with other mums at the school gate about plastic pollution, or fast fashion, or the big one - climate change.
Actually, that is changing - certainly around plastics. This is an issue that really seems to have caught everyone's imagination, thanks largely to programmes like Blue Planet II and the recent BBC 1 documentary Drowning in Plastic.
Plastic is very visible. We see it everywhere - in the shops, in our trolleys, littering our parks and pavements, and then on the TV we see the tons and tons of it floating in the ocean. And its heartbreaking. And we can clearly see the cause and effect, the impact of our own plastic use on the wider environment.

But climate change isn't like that is it?
It's very invisible - we can see the weather, but we can't really see, or grasp the wider climate and how that's changing. And the catastrophic effects that that will have, and is already having.
Freak weather is becoming more and more un-freakish, more 'normal'. But even that doesn't seem to be jolting us out of sleepwalking into a climate, a planet, a future that may well be far beyond the worst we could imagine.

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) report said that we need to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C and highlights the differences we might see with a 1.5C rise versus a 2C increase.
For example:

  • The Artic sea ice would disappear completely in the summertime once a century if we can limit temperature changes to 1.5C
    If we have a  2C rise, it will disappear once every 10 years. 
    And you might think "oh, that doesn't sound too good, but so what?"
    Well, if the polar ice melts, sea levels rise, leading to massive flooding, massive displacement of people, and loss of agricultural land. Essentially more people squeezed into a smaller space, and less land to grow food to feed them. 
    Cue arguments. Heated arguments. Between countries. In other words more wars.
  • At 1.5C 8% of plants that have been studied would no longer be able to be grown as the climatic conditions they are suited to would have disappeared.
    At 2C this figure rises to 16%. Which means less food to go around, on top of a growing population.
    Cue arguments. Heated arguments. Between countries. In other words more wars.

I might be painting an overly apocalyptic scenario, and feel like I should apologise if that's the case. But I am genuinely terrified that this is future my kids and grandkids are going to face. That this is what WE are creating for future generations.

We have already gone beyond 1C of warming, and based on current levels we could be headed for a temperature rise of between 3 and 5C. 
Now if the future looks 'fairly apocalyptic' at 1.5, or even 2C I can't even bring myself to start imagining what it's going to look like at 3-5C.

According to the IPCC report we now have just 12 years to take action to prevent a climate crisis.
12 years.
That's 2030 - which sounds an age away, but it's not.
It's 12 years. I've been with my husband for longer than that (he may argue that it feels way longer...).
In 12 years time my kids will be 22 and 19. They should have the world at their feet.
But if nothing changes they might well be looking at us in disbelief and disgust that we didn't act when we still could.

This matters. 
This matters so much it physically hurts me to think about it.

So why aren't we all talking about it more?
Why isn't THIS what the governments of world are focussing on rather then in-fighting about bloody Brexit or getting judges of questionable moral standing elected to the bench?
Why is it still socially acceptable to sit outside the school gates with your engine running, or to spend your Saturdays buying yet more cheap disposable fashion that you will only wear once?
Why does it feel like shouting into the void if I post stuff about this on my personal FB page where the people seeing my posts aren't necessarily in the same sustainable(ish) bubble as me?

Time is running out if we want to create a better, truly more sustainable future.
If we want to mitigate the worst effects of the climatic changes we have already created.

I get that I am preaching to choir here - that by the very fact you are here reading this blog post, or following me on social media, it means that you are already on board.
But I've been thinking a lot about how we as individuals can help to bring about changes that are "unprecedented in scale" - and it's quite frankly overwhelming. How can my actions even budge the needle the teeniest of fractions, when we need bold, cohesive, massive action from the world's governments, from industry, from big business?
I've come to the conclusion that not only do I need to make the changes that I can, I need to be more vocal (hubby will be snorting into his cuppa at this point - I am already pretty vocal, especially in the crucial 10 minutes before we need to be out of the house to get to school on time).
I need to make sure that my voice is heard.
We all need to make sure that our voices are heard.

In a recent study into how MPs understand and respond to climate change, one of the findings was that "politicians speaking and acting on climate change must construct a ‘representative claim’ to justify their proposed actions, and to show why and how they are in the interests of the represented." And that our MPs don't feel like they have that justification as they aren't hearing from us, their constituents, that climate change is an issue we want them to take action on.
We can change that.
Very quickly we can change that.

So today, after reading this, I want you to tweet your MP, or send an e-mail, or write them a good old-fashioned hand-written letter (or all 3).

  • Ask them what they are doing on climate change
  • Ask them what their party is doing in response to the latest IPCC report
  • Ask them how they intend to make that the government take the 'unprecedented' action necessary to secure the future for our kids

Don't be fobbed off with politicians bullshit answers - keep asking - channel your inner John Humphrys.

Make your voice heard.
Get angry - we have every right to be angry about this.
And then channel that anger into action.

Things NEED to change. 
And they need to start changing NOW.
The time is over for sitting by and wringing our hands and complaining about other people, about the government, about industry, not taking action. We need to call them out. We need to demand change.

Do it NOW!
If you aren't sure who your MP is, or how to contact them, you can find out here.
And if you're not in the UK, still contact your own government representative.
Let's do this!

PS. There's a blog post here with another 4 easy things you can do TODAY that will have a big impact on your carbon footprint 🙂

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