Sooner or later (and it’s looking like it will have to be sooner) every nation on earth must make a choice. Every single person, family, community, corporation or government either takes responsibility for the future of the planet or says that what matters is now, their life-style, their profit margin and their economic ‘growth’.
We know that lives are already being lost to greater frequency of extreme weather events, bush-fires, flooding and cyclones and that some countries are beginning to have their land-mass eroded due to the rise in ocean levels. There is global scientific consensus on both the facts and the causes. And at last in Paris, Heads of State have acknowledged that this is the biggest challenge facing the future.
But what does this mean for each of us? What can we do? How might our perceptions and expectations as well as our actions need to change?
Do you have a share portfolio that includes dirty energy? Why not switch to clean energy – even though in the short term in might not give you such a good return? In the end it will pay dividends in more ways than one.
What are others investing in your name? Check out your superannuation funds and your banks and put pressure on providers to divest from coal.
Avoid buying products from companies that are logging forests – these are the lungs of our planet. In Tikal in Guatemala there was once a thriving community of many tens of thousands. The magnificent buildings that prove they were once there are buried in the jungle. Centuries ago the people cut down all the trees and the resulting drought killed their livelihoods – and eventually their civilisation. It will happen again if we cut down the forests.
Make it clear that you will only vote for representatives who make policies with the long-term future in mind – someone who is thinking of your unborn grandchildren. It is our descendants who will inherit the world we are living in now. Tell them that coal was good for the economy!
Newspapers that demean environmentalists are owned by those who want to maintain the status-quo for their own wealth, power and privilege. Check the facts.
If you have personal mobility, use public transport whenever possible and put pressure on governments to invest in infrastructure. People rarely go into Central London by car – public transport is quicker, easier and you don’t have to find somewhere to park!
Buy nice things of course, but why have more than you need? Share, recycle and give things away. When I was first married we had very little and made do. Being creative and having a sense of achievement was more fun than just going shopping – a richer experience from a place of comparative poverty.
And stay optimistic – we have windows of opportunity – there are countries and communities already going carbon-free and finding positive benefits. And lots of young start- up companies are seeking green solutions. It seems to be the grey suits who have nothing to lose but the assets they can’t take with them holding our world to ransom! Don’t let them.