There are many promising initiatives driven by passionate people trying to wean us off fossil fuels, e.g. transport & energy innovation. There is growing recognition of the value of nature-based solutions to capture carbon and buffer us from the worst of climate change. There are countless initiatives to minimise waste and recover materials. There is a growing movement to address consumer behaviours and push us towards a circular economy. The vegetarian and vegan movements have taken hold in ways I could never imagine when I ditched meat in the 90s. It's all so exciting. From start-ups to corporations everywhere trying to deliver a better future for us all, I dare to hope about the transformations underway!
But the truth is we are emitting more CO2 than ever before, with trillions of dollars being invested in further O&G exploration (made worse by war). We have lost 2/3 of global wildlife, and are on course to lose much more.
Our governments seem unwilling or unable to meet this crisis with the required urgency. They can’t or won’t sever ties with the O&G lobby. All I hear is that we can’t turn off the tap overnight and that market forces will eventually allow renewables to prevail.
We have had decades to transition but are nowhere near where we need to be. Heat records are being smashed across Europe and the US, cattle dropping like flies from heat exhaustion in Pakistan. Every month of every year for many years now we have heard of ever more dangerous weather events and tipping points being crossed.
Democracy is failing us on so many levels. Where I sit, democracy seems to mean everyone can do whatever they want, and government will not intervene. This is leading to an erosion of our social fabric, our common decency as well as our individual and collective responsibilities. We are creating a world of entitled humans and businesses, and as each day passes without recourse it will be harder to reign in that entitlement and move us to a more community driven existence, in harmony with each other and nature.
Maybe 30+ years ago we could have guided market forces in the direction we need to go. But today we need bold action. Not unlike how governments (eventually) dealt with the pandemic. Whether welcomed or not, the Covid-19 measures demonstrated that it is possible for government to take swift and decisive action, even at great economic cost. Not a popular thought. But what is the alternative?
We are leaving it too late for gradual progressive change. We must shut down certain industries and lifestyle choices, even if that means some personal sacrifice. As people we fight to live another day, but as governments with a mandate for our future I expect more.
We get what we vote for.
I know it isn’t easy. There rarely is a silver bullet. But I need to see real leadership somewhere to help me fight another day for our planet and all beings that live here.
Do share stories of hopeful (government) leadership!
- Farah Obaidullah
#empower #climatecrisis #climateemergency