“Fine words butter no parsnips”. A phrase I first came across many years ago in a Jane Austen novel (Northanger Abbey??), and oh so true.
The agreement made in Paris this weekend was momentous, but only if it is followed by swift, sustained and deep action to achieve the targets. Without these, it’s just more hot air to add to the greenhouse gases killing our atmosphere and ultimately us.
The juxtaposition of the Paris climate talks and flooding in northern England is a poignant one. I’ve heard a lot of discussion about whether or not the floods were ’caused by’ climate change, with people arguing hotly that they were / were not. But frankly it really doesn’t matter whether or not they were, or whether they were ‘just’ the result of unusual weather conditions. Because regardless, this and far worse is what we and many many others will see and experience as our world warms up and the results become too obvious to ignore / explain away.
So whether it is or whether it isn’t, we should take it as a warning, an opportunity for the floods to be a reminder that we really do need to take serious action to address what I believe to be the most serious issue of our lives; and if we fail to take the opportunity, it will cost untold more lives.
When I say ‘we‘, I really do mean me and I mean you. It’s up to us to think seriously and hard about what changes we personally need to make in our lives – and to make them; it’s up to us to hold our governments to account; it’s up to us to choose where and how to spend our money whenever choices are available to us.
So that’s what I’m pondering now, as we move towards the end of a calendar year and the start of a new one. Bringing together the idea of the 30 day challenge, and these thoughts about climate change and personal action, plus the knowledge that in 2016 I will leave my paid work and (I hope!) have more time and energy on my hands.
I have a number of friends here in Bath and further afield who inspire me with the way they live and their commitment to change. I’m also very influenced by what I have read and experienced of the Transition movement, based and building on hope and optimism rather than fear and despair. On lighting a candle, not cursing the darkness.