Let’s wake up
Guest post by Green Christian member John Ranken
“‘A wake-up call’: UK hits highest ever temperature”
This heat crisis should be the tipping point that we are still waiting for. Most people do not yet grasp the net zero concept. Confusion is widespread. Net zero is nowhere near enough to reverse the rapidly rising temperatures and unsettled weather regularly reported by the extremely knowledgeable professional climatologists. What is needed is gross zero which entails keeping all fossil fuels in the ground – from now.
The appropriate response is not just to prepare for the worst, but to stop making it worse by appropriate action – to stop flying, stop driving, stop unnecessary overconsumption of natural resources. From now, not at some vague time in the future.
Can we do it? To use the words of President Obama – Yes we can!
In our rapid IT/information era we have to counter the well-oiled and -funded climate action denial machine, which feeds us with information which is the opposite of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Bogus information about climate change, but also about the good life based on the continuing use of fossil fuels and over-use of natural resources.
The wake-up call is challenging us as individuals and as a society to take radical action in relation to our own livelihoods and lifestyles – within an economic framework of small, local, interlinked bio-regional economies. Such local economies exist to some extent, but need strengthening and support. We also need to downsize, and each of us needs to re-examine and change the basis of our own livelihoods and lifestyles.
By insulating and downsizing our own homes, walking, cycling, growing our own food etc within our own bio-regional economies we are also making significant reductions in the demand equation. Meanwhile, individually and societally we are gaining independence and confidence to join with others in keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
John Ranken lives in Cambridge and is a long-term U3A Cambridge Tutor.
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Comments on "Let’s wake up"
We're between a rock and a hard place, aren't we? We have to rapidly decarbonise in order to make sure that the worst potential effects don't occur. What the article, for sure, doesn't say is that the effects of climate change are already impacting the most vulnerable (who are the global poor) but I took it that this was one of the reasons to be concerned -charitable assumption and not unreasonable. On the other hand a rapid decarbonisation which doesn't pay attention to the effects on the poorest and most vulnerable will bring harms from a further future into a near future. We, of course, need to do both. -Recognising as we do so that those of us who have most privilege in world terms have the most responsibility to change our ways individually and systemically. We may do so recognising that our nations' global bad practices going back several hundred years have yielded us the privilege and made others more vulnerable to what is now overtaking us. I'd also suggest that we need to be alert: as this post reminds us, it is well past the time for tinkering but we need act decisively with -as the comments remind us- attentiveness to the issues of justice and compassion and not make an emergency an excuse for finding further ways to screw over the poor.
It is the poorest people in the world who are suffering the greatest already from the effects of climate change. They are the ones who have done least to create the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing extreme weather conditions, but who they their effects most and can do least to ameliorate them. The wealthier nations need to take radical action to reduce emissions, or the situation will only become worse. This is a matter of loving our global neighbours, and is truly Biblical.
These are all worthy aspirations, but we need the solutions to get there. As David says, what about the poor, not just elsewhere but in our own country. People will be going cold and hungry this winter in the UK. What about them? If you are reasonably well off, live in a city served by public transport and have the means to upgrade your home or buy an EV all well and good, but if you are already in poverty you don't have a chance. We need action at a governmental and societal level so that everyone has a decent standard of living within planetary boundaries and involves a just transition. I wholeheartedly agree with local economies and wish there was more Government support for this. At the moment many small independent businesses that contribute to their community are faced with closure in the current situation.
So where is the Biblical foundation for this tirade? No sign of any thought for the poorest in the world and the effect on them of ceasing use of fossil fuels immediately. No sign of love your enemies, no sign of meeting people where they are, too much judgement, too much division between good and bad, no sign of any wisdom derived from Christian mysticism or contemplative mindset.