2 April 2015
I’ll say it very quietly. Whisper, if you like. Climate change. There... I said it. You knew I would sooner or later, right? I know that we’ve been seen in the past as a single-issue party. Not everyone is aware that the Green Party have detailed policies on the economy, housing, health, education, and more. So far, I've been on the panel, as your prospective Parliamentary Candidate, at hustings events focussing respectively on education, business, older people, and housing, and in each area, I've talked about the things I think should be done and backed that up with the policies of the party I joined two years ago.
What hasn't been mentioned yet at these events, is climate change, and I've been giving thought to why that is. It's such a big concept to wrap your head around, isn't it, really? The scientific debate is over. The data's in. The choices you and I make in what we buy, how we travel, how we heat and maintain our homes, and what we eat, all affect and change the weather - here and overseas. Of course the effect of my lifestyle is tiny. So is yours. The way drops of water in a lake are tiny... but they add up. Over the decades, the fuel we’ve burned has released so much carbon dioxide that the weather systems that operate around our planet have begun to alter. Polar ice is melting; glaciers are disappearing. The sea level is rising.
It's natural to think 'That’s too alarming. I really can’t think of that now. I have bills to pay, debts to manage, dinner to cook, a poorly child to soothe, a deadline to make.' And it is, truly, too big a thing to easily address without slipping into despair or denial. It's easy to feel helpless.
It's equally appropriate to feel angry, when those in power - who have the opportunity to make the big changes that we all know we need – evade their responsibility to us and to our children, and carry on as though we can afford to burn all the fossil fuels there are. We really can't. We can't even afford to burn all that we've already found.
So you'll appreciate that I'm angry indeed, that the recent budget gave tax breaks to fossil fuel companies rather than scaling them back and investing in the new renewable technologies and designs that need investment to become viable. You'll understand that I’m angry, when the Government is so supportive of the fracking industry, and so dismissive of the risks to the water table, the farmland, the neighbouring communities, and the climate.
I read today that there’s evidence the Gulf stream is slowing. This is a very bad thing, for us here in the UK, very bad indeed. The Gulf stream is what stops us having the same climate as much of Canada – which has very, VERY much colder and longer Winters than we do currently.
Who, then, has the power to make large-scale changes to our carbon emissions? The Government do.
Where practical alternatives exist, we can all make good choices about energy use, and we can all address the 'low-hanging fruit' of energy wastage, but the Government, who could make so much bigger a difference, has made it clear that it’s not interested in our future that way.
There they are, content to sit up one end of the boat while those down the other end are bailing furiously, and they'll say to each other: 'glad the hole isn’t up at our end'.
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