Monday Musings: A World Worth Saving? And Why Aren’t Our Leaders Taking Action NOW?

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And so asks Greta Thunberg:

 

Because there’s so much we could be doing and now. See the UN’s Climate Action site: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/climate-action-areas.shtml

Meanwhile this is what the Secretary-General of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, António Guterres was saying a year ago when he called for global action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNe-jBVij-g

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. You can find all the scientific reports Here, including the special report on global warming Here.

None of us wants to think about this, but there are things we can do, beginning with our own community leaders. For instance the council of my  county town of Shrewsbury has declared a climate emergency and a 2030 net carbon neurtral target, this after energetic campaiging by residents and members of Extinction Rebellion.

Many other councils across the country have done likewise. You can see the UK map at climateemergency.uk

However, our county council leaders are dragging their heels. Under public pressure, they declared the climate emergency but seem unprepared to take action if it will upset economic interests. They further appeared not to know of the many innovative business initiatives (especially in biogas generation) already taking place in Shropshire. At the parliamentary level, only one of our 5 county all Tory MPs, Philip Dunne, has acknowledged the crisis and said he will do all he can to change resistant attitudes. Last week I wrote to ask him how he meant to do this, though I’ve since noticed that he has been pressing Government for zero road emissions. All in all though, there are still monumental obstacles to shift, and here in the UK we’re still stuck in the 3 year Brexit Effect – tactic of mass distraction.

So time for every one of us to get snapping at the heels of our local representatives/councillors/senators/MPs/ministers. Use their social media sites. Join or support a campaign group. Government inertia will take a lot of shifting. E.g. The oil men have known about the effect of carbon emissions on the climate since the 1970s yet, as Greta Thunberg states, still we use 100 million barrels a day. A staggering amount – and all those oil dollars into somebody’s pockets; all the wars and regime-change invasions involving oil. And it’s not just oil; it’s all the waste from the by-products of oil. Even the deniers of manmade climate change cannot deny the mess we’ve made of the planet.

And if this is leaving you feeling depressed then check out what the small ‘negative carbon’ nation of Bhutan has been doing to protect itself and help out its neighbouring countries, and indeed provide a wellbeing pattern for global action, and for all of us.

35 thoughts on “Monday Musings: A World Worth Saving? And Why Aren’t Our Leaders Taking Action NOW?

  1. The oil companies just want to make money, and Shropshire county council are useless. Fortunately there is plenty of room in Shropshire to plant loads of trees which will absorb CO2.🌲🌳🌴

    1. Absolutely agree about the tree planting potential. I’ve just grown 5 quince trees from seeds from the allotment tree. Easypeasy. Am also just this moment thinking that the oil business is more than money-making; it’s about political and economic global control. Renewables have the potential to be available on large to local scales, right down to individual households, and so cannot be controlled by cartels in the same way.

  2. It’s very distressing to witness the inaction; in the Pacific there are those who are urging action and those who are stalling. As Tuvalu rightly says “We expressed very strongly during our exchange, between me and Scott [Morrison], I said: ‘You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu,'” Mr Sopoaga said. https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-15/no-endorsements-come-out-of-tuvalu-declaration/11419342?pfmredir=sm&fbclid=IwAR2IQ63eYdGO5BahmLx3RUwNbFlav69FNy144yMiLhtOrzH703JMjVe76IA

    1. It IS distressing, and it’s those people living in already environmentally stressed or ocean-vulnerable lands that will suffer most and first. As one of the Shrewsbury XR campaigners said in response to our county council’s lacklustre response, there is no economic return in a dead planet. And anyway there have been decades of notice over this, and there are huge business opportunities using alternative energy, though this obviously doesn’t suit those with vested carbon interests.

  3. Effective sustainability and implementing carbon neutral metrics are core principles for any effective climate action plan. Not vilifying anything, not any one product nor carbon itself. Notice that Bhutan has addressed the energy component FIRST: electricity through large scale renewable hydro and made free to rural farmers. This energy switch turns Bhutan into a net carbon sink and so the local actions of increasing it by local projects and plantings and linked forestation enrich the biodiversity and protect it. Brilliant. And – most importantly – doable. It is the metric of carbon neutral sustainability that is the target we must force our representatives to address and the only way to achieve it is by addressing the energy component FIRST. Representatives held to this commitment will quickly realize the only way to achieve it is by altering what energy is used… from a carbon-based one to renewables. Without that fundamental energy change, no amount of anything else matters adds up to a tinker’s damn.

    1. The problem we have with both local and national politics in the UK is that everything is short term. Politicians think that telling us to change our ways is delivering bad news and thus a quick route to being unelectable. We have councillors and MPs in our county who do not see any reason to change the status quo, and especially if it will interfere with their current development plans.

      1. Yes, this is the endemic problem: change. And this is why Greta’s voice is so important. Young people need to do their part pushing harder and harder for systemic change, which means voting, which means engaging in public debates and driving public policies, which means understanding that the necessary fundamental shift in energy production away from carbon and into renewables is a process and not a product. We will get there regardless as more energy companies find renewables guarantee their profitability as is happening in the States, whereas carbon-based pricing sends utilities into death spirals. As this shift occurs, the environment will gain importance for well-being and politicians will rush to try to try to get to the front of this inevitable movement. There is a very solid basis for hope built on economic confidence; if nothing else, economic self-interest and profitability will keep pushing us towards incremental solutions.

        One such improvement might be if more politicians could imagine a world where we don’t have to pay barbaric governments in exchange for our energy needs to fund and export at-home religious terrorism and pretend these are our ‘allies’.

  4. However, our county council leaders are dragging their heels. Under public pressure, they declared the climate emergency but seem unprepared to take action if it will upset economic interests.

    There soon won’t be any economic interests if we don’t quickly reverse this crisis.

    1. Exactly so, Robert. It’s a plain and simple notion, but it doesn’t seem quite to get through to some. One of our MPs, a former minister for the environment no less, is quoted quipping that more people die from the cold than from getting too hot. One despairs.

  5. Thank you, Tish. I will have to come back to this post and the links you provided. They will be useful for my mum, who lives in an area that benefits from a fossil-fuel economy. There are costs in switching over, but the costs of doing nothing are far greater.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Tracy. This is a difficult issue. But if you need an uplift, the final link to Bhutan’s prime minister’s TED talk, is so very heartening.

  6. Good post again, Tish. And Bhutan is my beacon. That TED talk is so very uplifiting – saw it before and after we went to Bhutan. Visiting was a boost and a cry for the world. Every week we see, read and hear about the technology being there, it is possible to change! BUT, we need the people to vote right and the young ones will soon have their rights to do so. I also cry for Brasil/Bolsonaro and the likes who do not understand/does not want to understand they sit on the lungs we need.

      1. Western governments supporting these regimes? Versus, what? Chinese? Russian? Saudi? Should we discard the Munro Doctrine? Throw out spheres of influence? Do western countries conquer these nations, disable their national institutions, and implement western secular democracies by force? Should we enable totalitarian governments to arise? Pass laws to stop western businesses from doing business in these countries?

        Look, it’s easy to criticize and demonize and vilify western countries because we’re open to doing so; that’s how things change over time. But surely to goodness there should also be an accompanying sense of balance, of fairness, of being able to discuss real world problems without the knee-jerk blanket condemnation of western civilization,

      2. Actually it’s not a knee-jerk opinion on my part. It’s been coming over me for the last twenty odd years since I lived in Africa. I specifically said western governments, not western civilisation, which is entirely different and represents our best and many disparate creative impulses and cultures. It’s the hypocrisy of governments and the assumption that capitalism and western democracy are the only models, and our politicians of the industrialised capitalist world have long used these ‘values’ to judge other nations and decide which are allies and which to take out by force, or whose regime we are going to change, or who we are going to put in charge of them to serve our interests. Peter Ford the ex British ambassador to Syria calls this a strategy of catastrophic success. We witness it now in Libya, once according to UN assessment the most successfully developing African nation.

      3. I get so terribly upset. No use, but writing articles and pushing as best I can in media makes me feel I at least do something. Sending money – yes, but sometimes doubting it really gets where it is needed and not in somebodys greedy hands. Yesterday I was so struck by the blatant idiocy of Trump again. He wanted to buy Greenland from Denmark. He actually wanted to buy a country. Then he called the Danish statsminister something ugly because she said the idea was absurd. Listened with great joy to interviews of people in the streets of Copenhagen. Yes, This was a definite all-time low…and Trump was considered a complete fool.

        Of course he wants Greenland for establishing army bases, and he has already declared it all positive that the ice is melting – then it will be easier to reach the oil and other natural resources. On for example Greenland.

      4. It is heart-breaking, I so agree. The US has something between 700 and 800 military bases around the world depending on whose statistics you read. But it makes me very happy to think that you actually went to Bhutan. where people seem truly civilised in the best sense.

    1. Western liberal secular democracies are the worst kind of governments… except for all the rest. Our systems and institutions are not designed for fast widespread change. This is a negative when it comes to being subject to the con job by the Merchants of Doubt funded by industries who stand to lose everything, but a positive when temporarily tolerating terrible mob-elected politicians. We have to take the good with the bad. But this is not a hopeless situation when it comes to climate change and no one is served by accepting this hopelessness as unavoidable.

      Yes, the climate will change and continue to do so for as long as we pump out greenhouse gases in excess of our carbon budget. We are forced now to live with these resulting consequences yet have an obligation to future generations to try to get the slow gears of government and business to adjust sooner to lessen the consequences later. This is and always will be an uphill battle until a tipping point can be reached. It will happen because reality is on our side.

      For example, people are beginning to find out their insurance rates – or the business decision to not offer any – is responding to climate change. This affects their real world house prices. The drop in value, the drop in housing starts, the drop in resale value, then directly negatively affects tax income… income that can be bolstered by the addition of green energy. This trickles down into having a very disturbing effect on local governments who find themselves joining the ranks of those calling for more and more action to be taken on the cause of their problem: the use of carbon-based products to produce energy and the rising demand for sustainable energy.

      It’s already happening. But the last bastions of reticence – large companies – are just now starting to encounter their Waterloo. Stay tuned…

  7. Thanks for the links Tish. It is important to be aware and to learn and to try to act but all to easy to be overwhelmed with anxiety and grief. In the face of the global emergency there are also all the cumulative relatively tiny local events such as in the town where I live where the council is under administration (again). Recently a local factory accidental spillage polluted our river, killing fish and other river life downstream for a distance of 70 km. Currently the municipal landfill is burning uncontrolled again for days on end filling our air with toxic smoke. This dump supports many illegal rubbish pickers who eke out a dangerous living from what they manage to retrieve. It is hard to know where to place one’s focus and attention and harder still to know how to respond meaningfully. Anyway thank you for this post and we do need to look to those who offer constructive examples and constructive leadership.

    1. You raise many pressing issues here, Carol.
      I think the global whole is too much for most of us to grasp. But we can perhaps help to get stuff done at local levels, even if it’s only changing our own habits, and influencing those around us.

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