The best thing of all is political action. Join this connection of local groups. Join or start a committee in your constituency. Tweet, post on facebook, talk to neighbours, write to newspapers, hold meetings. Join our facebook group The Next Twenty Years
Get better informed.
Best books We Are the Weathermakers by Tim Flannery: Six Degrees: our future on a hotter planet by Mark Lynas: Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by David MacKay; Heat by George Monbiot. 10 Billion by Stephen Emmott
(Climate 100 was started by me, Thomas Jackson. If you would like a free copy of any of my books please visit my personal website www.thomj.co.uk and send me an e mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a free pdf. I’d especially like you to read 97% (20,000 words) and Our Terrible/Wonderful Future; the next twenty years will be the most important in the whole history of humanity (20,000 words). I wonder too whether you might be interested in my autobiography Babbling of Green Fields (80,000 words). I mention this because increasingly my interest is focussing on the moral aspects of our seeming inability to deal with the crisis that is facing us. I see the failings of my own life writ large and above all the difficulty human beings have (and this certainly applied to me) in behaving like true human beings and not like the algorithmically, compulsively driven chimpanzees that we so very nearly are – we share over 99% of their genes -and yet are not. Chimpanzees do not think of the whole forest but only of the next fruit, the next opportunity for dominance, the next mate. That’s exactly how most of us are. It’s not that most human beings are greedy and evil, care not about others nor the future of the planet, nor even the future lives of their own children. It’s because achieving the intellectual and emotional freedom that is proper to humanity is extremely difficult for human beings. We are driven by compulsions but delude ourselves that we are free. Until I started writing my autobiography I never realised this about myself. But now I do. And I don’t think it’s just me. It’s most people and it’s why we are so apathetic about climate change. The next food source, the next nut, the next mate. But never the whole forest.)
Live a personal life appropriate for an age of climate change: fly as little as possible (one person’s trip to New York is the equivalent of leaving a 1kw electric fire on 24 hours a day for a year). But that doesn’t mean not flying at all. A very occasional trip to Australia won’t bring about the end of the world. And a solar plane has already flown round the world. It’s hard to imagine a jumbo jet fuelled by solar power. But lighter planes might well be, given enough research and investment. Help to create the climate of opinion which is urgently determined to see that happens.
Eat less meat – that doesn’t necessarily mean eating no meat. Cattle fed on grass produce less methane and long established meadows store carbon. It’s industrially produced milk and meat that we should avoid. Consider being a vegan. In a world already short of food it takes 12 times less land and water to produce the same nourishment as it does if the nourishment comes from animals (Or almost Vegan. Don’t forget the important part animal manure plays in organic husbandry. It’s meat (which is most of the meat on sale) fed with soya probably grown where rainforests used to be. Soya is not natural food for cows and produces far more methane. Grass fed meat is even good for the environment as long established meadows store carbon). But mostly vegan. Because living on veg takes up less land, if most people were mostly vegan there’d be no world food crisis and plenty of room for wild life. It’s healthier and the food’s delicious.
Go organic if you can. Of all the shocking statistics, agronomists forecast that at present rates of soil erosion most of the earth’s topsoil will have been lost within sixty years. Google ‘100 Harvests left in UK’ (study by Univ. of Sheffield)
Drive as low an emissions car as possible. Reuse and recycle.
For a long time now the default social principle has been to make society as wealthy as possible. We need to change that attitude. Instead we need to put love and concern for the earth and all the creatures and people in it as our principle inspiration for life. We cannot afford to let Bangladesh go under water. If it does so eventually Norfolk will too. We need to realise how deeply connected we are to every person and every creature on earth. At present rates of extinction millions of beautiful species that took millions of years to evolve will disappear between now and the end of this century because of human activity. How can we let that happen on our watch?
Above all, cultivate determination and optimism. We can beat this. Let’s not just lie down and die as we will if the politicians don’t do more. Once we can halt carbon emissions there are new technologies that will help us to support a world of even 10 billion people – electric and eventually hydrogen cars, artificial bacteria, lab cultured meat, hydroponic vegetables grown in tower blocks in cities. Above all we want you to feel the excitement of moving into a new and better post-fossil fuel age. But to do it we have to get out of fossil fuels. Let’s do it. Let’s go all-out. Let’s save the earth for our children.