Professor Rachel Julian, Trustee of Commonweal reflects on COP26 and the action needed
…Glasgow was the site of the international decision making meeting to prevent widespread climate collapse COP26 – the intergovernmental meeting to agree new targets for restricting carbon dioxide worldwide.
…BUT we cannot just leaving it to the governments – there was a huge gathering of people power demanding that their actions, good ideas, efforts and behaviour changes are recognised and governments commit to investing in the future.
Tackling the climate crisis is going to take effort from every sector of society. You may have read about ‘big technical’ solutions, or some of the many new technological programmes (solar powered clearing of plastic from the sea, renewable energy, etc), and there are global programmes such as ‘Drawdown’ or ‘Green New Deal’. However there are many ideas that you can look at, to start learning how you can mitigate and adapt in this era of climate emergency.
The ‘Transition’ movement has been working for years on understanding and practicing how communities will adapt to a ‘post-oil’ world – basically how we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. See if there is a Transition Town near you, or ideas you can adapt
Or, look at ‘local food’ networks who are learning to design systems that reduce the need for global supply systems, and how food production might adapt to changing climate. Try the Leeds City Farm in Meanwood or look at Incredible Edible
These movements recognise that addressing the climate crisis will take individual action (recycle, and use public transport), community action (supporting housing, food production or community support in an area), national action (funding, targets, policies, energy generation), and international action (global commitments to reduce CO2 emissions, tackle global systems, and support political actions). Just as climate is a complex system, as is the system for ensuring we adapt our lives, deal with the challenges and mitigating the impacts.
In practice, this means that we need mass public support for national and international action – including at COP26 – mass public action is needed to ensure the political systems are pressured into making commitments to reduce CO2 across the world.
If you already cycle, recycle, reuse, buy local, turn your thermostat down, use a reusable coffee mug, then your actions are helping, but the reality is we need the politicians to change.
We need them to invest in renewable energy and house insulation, we need a wonderful public transport system and a business strategy that rewards environmental protection… etc.
There are many wonderful projects, efforts, theories and actions that are already helping to prevent catastrophic climate collapse – and they’re all calling for the political change.
The Conversation Climate Fight podcast
The official website of COP26
The COP26 Coalition (climate justice)
The reality is that the predicted changes to the climate will result in new extreme weather events, changes to global food production, changing housing and transport, and probably many other aspects of life. It is important to remember that we know how to deal with it – hundreds of thousands of people are already working on hundreds of projects that show how the change is possible. They talk of the need for imagination, creativity and courage to step forward. Climate change is going to affect our lives. The more we start acting and having a say in which adaptations and mitigations we choose, the sooner we start acting, the more control we will have on how our lives will change.
Take the opportunity to learn more about what climate change is predicted, start choosing the actions you want to take, and imagining a vision you want for the future.
Visiting Commonweal online or the physical Commonweal Collection in Bradford might give you the inspiration by learning about people who have been organising for huge social change in the past.