WE NEED to grasp where we are, writes Erik Wilkinson.
David Wallace-Wells in his book The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future, makes a strong case that the future is here already – icecaps are melting; oceans are acidifying; seas are rising; wildfires are burning – and we continue to burn 80 per cent more coal than we did in the year 2000.
To fail to be alarmed at this is to fail to think about our problem and to fail to think about our problem is to relinquish all hope of its solution.
And we know what we need to do to avoid the worst of what is likely to come.
In 2018 the book Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawken, identified the top 100 actions to reverse climate change – interestingly the most effective is the management of refrigeration and air conditioning to stop HFCs (that disastrously replaced CFCs) entering and warming the atmosphere.
This could remove 89.74 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
We also need to implement a revenue neutral carbon tax; phase out dirty energy; move to a more plant-based diet; and have public investment in green energy and carbon capture.
Transition Stroud – “Inspiring action for a sustainable future”- has over the last 13 years sought to engage our community in a variety of actions: repair cafes; action on plastic; community food growing; ecohomes weekends; community energy initiatives and much more.
We have emphasised that sustainability is not a party-political issue and that we all need to make our contribution individually and collectively in recognition of the realities we face.
So we need to be alarmed and we need to take action.
We all need to understand – and feel – the reality of our situation and not turn away.
Some are not turning away – which explains the increased number of Local Authority climate emergency declarations across the UK; the rise of Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Climate Movement – where thousands of our young people are emulating the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg by not attending school on a Friday – and then taking to the streets to voice their anger and frustration at the failure of their governments and our older generations to more urgently address climate change.
Those feelings must translate into more action.