There are a few subjects best left off the table at dinner parties – Brexit is one, Climate Change is another. Both have the propensity to split the room equally and leave guests reaching for the after dinner mints before the main course is out of the oven. But are things about to change when it comes to discussions on climate?
Scientists must sometimes feel they’re damned – they invest their grey matter to solve some of our biggest questions only for their findings to (sometimes) fall on stony ground.
We’d listen to a GP, ‘do I take three or four a day, Dr?’ But we feel the work of climate scientists is a little more, err, well, y’ know, unpalatable and somehow disingenuous. Or, at the very least, up for debate – suffice to say there are always three sides to the argument; mine/yours/the truth.
‘So, this climate change thing,’ we ask, ‘do you believe it? No. Me neither.’
And yet it takes a school girl (Greta Thunberg) to press the pause button, EXIT her school classroom with purpose, and sit alone on a pavement with a placard to give politicians and disbelievers indigestion enough to see things a little differently. Hopefully for long enough to stick around to consume dessert and for guests to remain cordial with one another. But we’ll need more than a bottle of Gaviscon to calm this burning sensation.
With governments declaring a state of climate emergency – perhaps we could build a huge climate wall to protect ‘our part of the planet’ and keep the less desirable polluters out! China first, who’s second? But not so fast, yes we need action – and yes we need China to reconsider building ‘hundreds of coal-fired power plants’ however, isn’t China a ‘world leader in wind power generation?’ Those literally in glass/hot houses shouldn’t throw stones – that much we do know.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to watch Sir David Attenborough’s Climate Change Documentary I recommend you do. If time’s too tight, watch the condensed version here “Climate Change – The Facts in 4 minutes”
Failing that, here’s what I took away from the documentary:
1. Burning fossil fuels is the backbone of the problem
2. Deforestation – decimation of the planet’s natural ‘carbon sinks’ – such as rainforests – is a second major cause of climate change. (WWF estimates that 27 per cent – more than a quarter – of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues).
3. It’s not a matter of IF, it’s WHEN things go beyond our control; it’s WHEN climate change gets worse; it’s WHEN the world’s poorest and most vulnerable parts of the planet’s communities are forced to leave their homes and find somewhere else to live. It’s in our lifetime.
“The UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says today.”
If you’re wondering what you can do – here are two simple decisions to consider today: eat less red meat, and eat the food you buy (don’t waste it).
“Consumption of meat and dairy produce is a major driver of climate change.
Shifting global demand for meat and dairy produce is central to achieving climate goals.‘ – source: Chatham House
Yes, you could do a bundle of other stuff – drive electric cars, turn your heating down to 19 degrees etc., but it’s NOT my place to tell you what to do, as long as you do something…
The choice (as they say) is yours.
I’m going to take a more detailed look at other threats of global warming and a few reasons we may be hopeful as it’s not over by a long shot.