Today Sir Nicholas Stern published his report into Climate change. His credentials are excellent, and now it is time for people to take note, learn more and do whatever they can to stop the damage before we pass the point of no return. The news is full of it, and no doubt the papers will be tomorrow too, with the announcement that there will be new green laws put before parliament soon. Whichever way you look at it, we will all have to pay more to try and halt the momentum of climate change, or there will be a catastrophe in our lifetimes. Not hundreds of years time. In OUR lifetime. I have seen how the glaciers are melting. Anyone can see how the weather is changing, and here in the First world, it is easy to dismiss the on-going disaster in the third world, but isn't it the ultimate irony that the continent emitting the least amount of greenhouse gas is the one most affected? Africa is a nightmare from top to bottom.
But it does have to be a global effort. It is absolutely useless to have major players opting out for whatever reason. Protecting jobs is not an option. Ok in the short term but not in the long term. Here it looks like we will pay an extra tax on whatever mileage we do in our cars, on air travel, on the greeenhouse gasses our home emit. And you know what? People seem to be accepting this as inevitable. They know what has to be done, and are prepared to play their part.
I have never understood the need to drive 4 wheel drive SUVs etc around town. Great when you live on a farm. But why in town? And here petrol already costs 83.9p a litre, so that is about $1.59 a litre. We already pay 90% of that in tax, and there will be more. It is not just all about how WE want to live and do what WE want to do. We have a corporate responsibility for the planet too. We have to drive smaller cars, and use them less. And I mean small....REALLY small. We need to use more public transport, and use alternative fuels. In Europe, the trend is to drive small fuel-efficient cars like the Smart car, the Ford KA, the Nissan Micra, the VW polo, etc. We need more hybrid cars.
We need wind turbines and solar panels on our homes, and better insulation and building materials. We need to harness the sun in the design of our homes, like maximising internal sunlight in winter and minimising it it summer by scientifically calculating correct depths of the eaves of the roof. We need to stop flying so frequently. Cheap air tickets have meant that far more people are flying far more frequently, and when you can get flights to Europe for half what it costs to take the train to London, you can see why. We already pay road tax on cars dependant on the size of the engine. There are already congestion charges in some cities, like London, where you have to pay to drive into zones.
My friends and I try to buy our vegetables by miles. That means that we buy seasonal veg that is grown locally when we can, and we do not pay for vegetables out of season, which are flown from the opposite side of the world. Sure, it is great to be able to get veg all year round, but nothing is quite as good as getting most in season. Fairtrade logo also allows us to shop ethically.
I am, without a doubt, on a soapbox tonight. But what are you prepared to do to save the planet for our children and grandchildren? What are the consequences of millions of climate refugees? Would we be some of them? What if there is no water? What if vast parts of the world is under too much water? What happens if the glaciers supplying the Ganges in India melt? Who is going to provide water for the millions who depend on it? What if the Amazon dries up and the forest dies? How many more hurricanes, heatwaves, and crop failures can the world withstand? What happens when harvests fail? Ask the people in Africa. They already know.