It’s interesting that snow has once again come to the UK and, whilst there is some disruption, it’s not exactly a major crisis.
Here in the north, there’s less fuss and people are getting on with things. People want services to be working, the bus routes gritted etc. but there’s no sign of panic buying of supplies and the like.
One thing that doesn’t often seem to considered though – maybe a lot of people just like the break and the change from the daily grind?
Something strange is happening to me. I am becoming an environmentalist. For years environmental issues have been secondary to me behind social, political and economic concerns. Now I’m realizing that they are all the same.
It’s been happening incrementally. I work for an inter-governmental not-for-profit organization. A lot of the work the organization does concerns maximizing crop yields, minimizing the impact of invasive species and generally trying to ensure small farmers, often in some of the poorest regions in the world, have a sustainable business in a world where food security is increasingly impacted by climate change. This is self-evidently an admirable thing. It isn’t enough though.
As an inter-governmental organization we are hampered by being politically neutral. Our projects rely on donor funding – often the people who are funding our work are the very governments whose policies are causing (or at least exacerbating) the problem in the first place.
Climate change is a political issue. Assuaging our conscience by trying to clear up after ourselves is no longer enough. Alongside this we also need to work at a policy level because to combat climate change we need to remake our society – to make it fairer, more equal and not concerned with economic growth at the expense of everything else. Even in the UK, with the extensive flooding in early 2014, we have seen how our stripped back state is unable to deal with the effects of climate change. The private sector, the market gods are not going to save us from drought and floods.
Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything explains this far better than I ever could. I don’t think I have ever read a book that I have agreed with more – or that has made me understand the urgency of the situation it describes.
So, the time for action is now. The time for making the argument for change is now. I’ve started volunteering, I’m looking for opportunities to get my hands dirty, to put my time and money where my mouth is. Hopefully I will talk about some of what I get up to in this blog.
The time for radical solutions is now. Save the world, fight capitalism.