The Climate Emergency

03 May 2019

Yet again, Greens have led the way – calling for a declaration of a Climate Emergency long before Labour and even before Extinction Rebellion. But even this declaration by our National Government and Bristol City Council means nothing until action is taken. The air is not cleaner and we still pump out as much Carbon as we did yesterday.

So we’ve raised the profile and we have the ideas and tech to change things – only one thing stands in our way – our political leaders.

Back in the 90’s I protested for months against roads being built across green spaces in North London, the Newbury bypass and other parts of the UK. Living in trees and tunnels delayed the developments and I even spent time at her majesties pleasure for my troubles. It was euphoric, empowering – and ultimately made almost no difference at all. Roads are still seen as the solution to our transport troubles and our climate continues to suffer.

The conclusion I came to was that protesting is important but ultimately you are asking someone else to change things for you. And if it’s not in their interests then they won’t however much they say they will. And, frankly, the two main political parties see environmental issues as a peripheral add on when it can be afforded.

But there are those who are making that change happen. The unsung heroes who have developed and refined renewable energy systems, low emission vehicles and organic farming. Many small businesses too have reduced their emissions in small steps. At Creative Youth Network we make sure all of our energy is generated from renewables, we have invested in solar panels and make sure our work highlights environmental issues to young people.

But the pioneers struggle because our planning laws make it more difficult to build wind turbines than power stations. Because fracking destroys both our environment and undermines new technologies and because subsidies mean that intensive farming is still far cheaper than organic and as a result of all of these things our impact on the climate worsens.

The technology is there, business will change and there are thousands of passionate people ready to change the way we live and work but the political environment stops us from making progress. If we are to truly tackle climate change we need a different political approach – one that values our world properly; in fact, one that values people properly too and puts clean air and water, equality and our citizens before profit and growth.

We have raised awareness, we have the means and now we need to Make the Difference by voting Green in the coming elections.

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