Last Friday, I was very proud to march in London alongside the Boy Wonder (and my mum) in the Global Youth Climate Strike. It had a profound effect on me. Being surrounded by 20,000 passionate young people, many finding their voices and realising their own agency for the first time was awe inspiring. The kids really ‘get it’ in a way a lot of the adults just can’t, but it’s time for us all to wake up. The energy and power of the event must gain momentum. The experience has galvanised me to want to do more to help save the planet. Because ,this not just about the planet's survival, but ours too. Large scale communal protest and peaceful demonstration is one really important way to get involved, but what else can we all do?
Make individual changes in your own life, such as reducing meat and dairy in your diet (or going vegan if you can), switching to a green energy provider, tree planting, divesting your bank accounts & pension funds, getting an electric car and consuming & flying less. All these actions are small in comparison to the total system change we need, but they do inspire and influence others to do the same and create a demand for a greener society. However, making people feel guilty about not so green decisions will not get them on your side, they will just get defensive. So inspire and inform people instead by telling them the reasons why these things matter to you or the story that lead you to change.
Climate change is not something that is in the distant future, it happening right now and a lot faster than we thought. We all need to educate ourselves much better on what will happen if we don't act soon. Then we need to spread this message to everyone we know and challenge denialists and delayers. Reach out to them by telling them how it will affect them directly and what matters to them most, be that their children or their income. There are many great books, articles and interviews with experts which are not overly scientific or full of jargon. I attach links to these below. Collective denial and complacency, even from some within the green movement, have held us back for too long, now is the time to learn about the stark reality we are facing.
The news media has so much influence on all of our opinion forming and indeed on our politics. They should follow a moral duty to inform everyone on the apocalyptic nature of runaway climate change. Sadly, most print media don't do this, due to being beholden to advertisers or owned by powerful people invested in the status quo. However, there are many independent media companies who have fewer constraints that we would be better off patronising. Public service broadcasters, like the BBC, who do not have advertisers are a good target for public pressure in getting the climate reality message out there. They are answerable to us as license fee payers and their complaints system can be used to tell them we won’t tolerate them broadcasting climate deniers as they have often been known to do. Petitions, letters and visit to MPs are also a way to do this although I’m not entirely convinced if they work. However, petitioning your MP, government, town and district councils to declare a climate emergency would start some important ground level action that could be beneficial. Social media can also be an effective way get your network on board too.
Never before has your vote mattered so much, the world’s fate literally depends on it. Democracy is a flawed system, but we need to elect people into power who can change things from the top - and fast. Candidates need to show evidence of real commitment and strong policies for change rather than the usual greenwashing. If our parliamentary representatives do not act in our best interest, they can be legally challenged as failing in their duty. The UK government is currently fighting a court battle with activists who are against the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow airport. The emissions target that the UK signed at the Paris Climate Accord simply cannot be met with this airport expansion. There are possible challenges that could also be made similar to the ones in the US, Ireland, the Netherlands and France on climate change itself. Legal action against the companies that have caused over 2 thirds of climate change has already begun with Exxon Mobil, (who have known about climate change since the 1970’s.) BP & Shell, amongst others. $1 billion has been spent since 2015 by the 5 largest fossil fuel giants in lobbying and climate denial misinformation. Boycotting these eco-vandals is a vote with your wallet and a stand against impending ecocide.
Get involved with environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth, 350.org or Greenpeace by volunteering or donating. If you feel you can go further, then a direct action group such as Extinction Rebellion, who use peaceful civil disobedience such as blocking highways, will have the most direct impact. Collective group pressure is much more powerful and demands greater press attention and public exposure than any small individual act can ever do. Come along and join the next climate march with us and feel that power for yourself, and you will know that you did all you could to help save the planet for future generations.
If you have any thoughts on this or any suggestions for further reading and viewing please let me know. We love to hear your thoughts x
#savetheplanet #youthclimatestrike #extinctionrebellion
Kids Fight for the Climate
How to Stay Climate Positive
How to Raise Eco Kids
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YouTube - Radio Interview with Naomi Klein
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Drawdown by Paul Hawken
The Madhouse Effect by Michael Mann
Storms of My Grandchildren: The truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hensen
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate by Naomi Klein
How Did We Get Into This Mess by George Monbiot
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace- Wells
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