Yesterday, history was made in the UK with Parliament passing a motion declaring we are facing a climate emergency, although if you look at news websites this morning you might be forgiven for thinking nothing had happened. Is that an omen?
Are we going to see some meaningful action, now? I’d love to think so, but I strongly doubt it. The Political Right is in thrall to Big Business and vested interests, while the Left is more inclined to measure things by employment. As usual, there will be hand-wringing and lip-service paid to the ideals of cleaning up the mind-blowing mess we have made of this planet, and then all sorts of excuses why we can’t actually do anything that makes a difference.
The usual reasons are that it will impact upon economic growth and that it will cost jobs.
Not that there will be any of either of those when Earth begins to resemble Mars or Venus.
Yes, there has been some progress in some areas, but it all seems to be driven by activism and protest. This is why we need them more than ever. Without the School Climate Strikers, without Extinction Rebellion, last night’s debate in parliament would not have happened. It did so only because M.P.s were pushed into it.
All of the impetus so far for companies to change their policies with regard to the likes of excess packaging, changing plastic straws to paper, removing plastic from cotton buds and the like has come from activists, not from the government. From public pressure.
And so we must not only keep up that pressure, but ramp it up further.
If the government were really serious about tackling Climate Change, the first thing they should do now – do today – is to cancel the Heathrow airport expansion.
But they won’t. They will argue we need it for economic reasons, and therefore that earning money is more important than halting climate change.
In short, they will demonstrate an absolute disregard for the planet. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I won’t be.