I’ve no environmental qualifications at all. I’m just someone who reads what feels like a daily onslaught of news stories about climate doom and thinks it can’t possibly be right to continue as I always have.
We all want to do the right thing, but it’s not always clear what that is. And often we’re too busy just getting through today to think about tomorrow.
So, since I find myself unable to stop thinking about tomorrow, I thought I’d take the time to investigate the positive changes I can make, and share what I learn in the hope that others might consider taking similar steps.
When I started this blog in October 2018, soon after the IPCC declared we’d only 12 years to save the planet, I wanted to be positively green, to counter the sense of hopelessness in the face of such an intimidatingly global issue. So I wrote about those small steps that we could all take together. I can see now how naive that was. Small steps are no longer enough. The problem is too vast, and too urgent.
In 2015, the world agreed to ‘pursue efforts’ to limit global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. To do so, global greenhouse gas emissions would have to fall by 7.6% every year until 2030. (To put that in perspective, the unprecedented disruption of the Coronavirus resulted in a temporary drop of about 5%.) And emissions are only continuing to rise. Even if countries abide by their current policies – and they’re not – we’ll likely exceed 3º by 2100, with devastating effects. That could well be within my children’s lifetimes.
Individual action remains important, but the end goal must be collective change. Or, as the IPCC puts it, ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.‘
Only then is there a chance that the planet will sustain future generations, with no less security, beauty or diversity than we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy for ourselves. That slim chance is something to be positive about.