I’ve watched some of the top environment thought leaders return from Cop26 in Glasgow, and on social media they are sharing despair and sorrow. I know with some distance from the event, they will gear up again for the battle that lies ahead, but it is sad to read some of their reflections. They are people I have deep respect for.
If you’re been paying attention to this event, the media response has been positive, critical or downright hopeless. We started the week with an article in the Independent titled: We know almost for a fact that Cop26 will fail — this is why.
A quote worth pulling out…
“Because there is a terrible silent lie being propagated by the British government and the United Nations: they know we have to ban all new fossil fuel investments as a crucial step to have any hope of staying below a 1.5C rise in temperatures — yet the three key players setting the agenda have refused to table a ban at the conference.”
I believe, for us to succeed in overcoming the crisis, it requires two topics at the center of all discussions — ending fossil fuel use and ending growth-based economies. Without that, we can not achieve what needs to be achieved. It’s really that simple.
At the end of the week, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said the goal of 1.5 was on life support, and I think we all know it will not be achieved, in fact, we’re currently at 2.4 so far. Please read these three articles to understand that it might actually be worse than that:
Cop26: world on track for disastrous heating of more than 2.4C, says key report
1bn people will suffer extreme heat at just 2C heating, say scientists
Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds
I know many are feeling lost, helpless and hopeless when it comes to the climate emergency. Many have sunk into despair. Here’s the thing…
When there are not enough of us who really care about the climate crisis, understand it and know what we need to do to change trajectories, our politicians will continue to do what their constituents care about to win votes. If the electorate is not voting for significant change, politicians will not act in the way we need. Why would they? It’s not a ticket to election success. Businesses won’t change either, until we change.
And apparently we don’t get our part in this bigger story: Few willing to change lifestyle to save the planet, climate survey finds. Lifestyle change must include how we vote, how we buy, how we live, how we work. All of it.
We are all part of the change needed
Until we get this essential message, we can’t act decisively. Politicians and businesses seem unwilling to lead the way either. It’s not a successful strategy yet.
The other critical challenge is how countries vote — especially the US — because the uncertainty and flip-flopping of the two rivals keeps us on an unsteady path. Equally, if the same environment strategy of the last Republican leadership returns, this will be devastating for the world. But perhaps new Republican leadership will be different? We just don’t know. And it’s not helping our situation or mindset.
But this is where my hope is. Once enough of us get it — and I mean 70–80 per cent of the voting population, regardless of age or political affiliation — then we start moving in the right direction. WE make this happen. All of us.
So don’t get lost in despair, because you can’t do anything from that place.
Join the fight. Raise your voice. Educate your community — especially if they vote for political representation that is not acting on climate. Vote wisely. Make changes in your life — big or small, it all adds up — and when you see an issue that needs to be solved, solve it or talk to someone who can. Shine a light on the champions in your community, raise awareness and help wake people up.
For so many reasons, the media, social media, fake news, misinformation, political leadership, political divisions, social divisions, lack of trust in institutions, and on I could go…. are creating a world of people not thinking, but on the other side, we have a lot of people shutting down, because they can’t see a way out. This is a self-protection mechanism and completely understandable.
Please remember, change starts with each of us, because when we change, we act, and if everyone of us got the message, we have a chance. But until we do, businesses will operate as usual, and politics will keep holding us back.
We can do this. We can. I will not stop believing. But I can’t do it alone. None of us can. Please help me and those around the world fighting for our future, so we can make this happen. We can do it! But we need to get a move on and we need you with us.
Remember, when there is life there is hope. Don’t lose hope.
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