Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A philosophical shift in thinking is urgent

Just done KMTV on the ten hottest years being since 2002. I explained that there was even worse news out there right now, the Arctic is literally burning and records are being broken. Climate change is happening harder and faster than predicted.

I was asked what should be done....

1. Tell the truth. This is the greatest emergency humanity has ever faced and it is imperative that everyone understands that and keeps it at the forefront on their minds. There is only a small

2. End fossil fuel use, go carbon neutral quickly, invest in changing the way we live.

3. System change, e.g. end the ridiculous drive for economic growth and find new ways of showing progress such as measuring wellbeing and happiness.

4. A philosophical shift in our thinking. We need to understand that we are part of Nature. We can no longer plunder and pollute her. What we do to Nature we do to ourselves.

Without number 4, 1 to 3 are not possible.

See me here from 7:00 minutes

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

No People's Assembly for Maidstone

I sat through over an hour of debate at Maidstone Borough Council last night which ended on a decision along party line on an issue that all had said was beyond party politics. The discussion was how to bring forward recommendations to make Maidstone carbon neutral by 2030 following the declaration of a climate emergency in April.

Labs and Libs wanted a working group of individuals, business leaders and experts to be formed and to report back to the committee with recommendations whereas the Tories wanted a working group of councillors to do the same as they seem to feel that this would be quicker. The former has a bit of a people's assembly feel to it but was put forward in a very prescriptive way which I was uneasy about. The latter, well councillors did this in 2003 and the 16 year old report (if you can call it that) was presented last night but has never been actioned.

In the end the Tories got their way. I think we now need two things:

  1. a concerted effort to ensure that the working group form quickly and do their work rapidly but thoroughly
  2. to hold the council to account for every decision that they make that is out of line with the declaration of climate emergency.

The latter is time consuming but potentially even more interesting than the former. It will certainly get a message across.

I will continue to demand rapid action by the council; the extinction is well underway and the fires are burning right now. This is an emergency.

Monday, 24 June 2019

The 420 express from Humanity

a close up of a map: Carbon dioxide levels from approximately 1750 to present. (Scripps Institute of Oceanography)

As CO2 levels head toward the 420ppm mark there are an increasing number of apocalyptic articles hitting the web.

CO2 increases remain unchecked despite rhetoric from governments. Allegedly the UK has reduced them, however emissions from flights and from items manufactured abroad are not included.

Given that we have outsourced manufacturing over the past 30 years it is unsurprising that this large sector of emissions has reduced.

Flights too are a growing problem. The third runway at Heathrow is incompatible with humanities future existence. Yup. We ain't gonna survive as a species unless we stop emitting CO2 and that includes CO2 that we accidentally fail to count.

Extinction Rebellion are doing a great job and the Greens are higher in the polls than ever but there is still so much more needed. 9% in the polls might be good but that means that more than 90% of voters have failed to realise that BAU politics will lead to the early death of their children and grandchildren.

84 degrees in the arctic...

Uninhabitable Earth

Arctic ice in nose dive

We need to act now.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

World Oceans Day should not be necessary

The UN's World Oceans Day really shouldn't be necessary - at least not in this context. Earth, sea and sky - our three ancient realms. Three of the four great 'elements' that define our existence polluted beyond recognition and to the point that they are making life rapidly extinct. So a day to remember and consider our oceans is most necessary.

But we must do more than just think. We must act.

Stop buying stuff in plastic. Say no to the clothes that pour non-biodegradable microfibres into our water when we wash them.

And it is wider than the direct impact of plastics.

Our seas are heating up so stop flying and start campaigning for better public transport. Walk places too. I have pledged not to fly again. Will you simply pledge not to fly in 2020?

Here in the richest part of the world, the top 10%, we are responsible for half of the world's emissions. The poorest half - yes half - of the world account for just 10% of CO2 emissions. If in the UK we live as though there are five planets and therefore need to reduce our impact by 80% (I suspect the figure is probably 90%) then we can still do that and still be in the top quartile of wealth.

Our lives are extravagant - we need to find a new way of living.

Friday, 7 June 2019

£1 trillion is a lot of cash but no future would be far more expensive

Not sure what I dislike most about Philip Hammond's statement that it will cost £1 trillion to become net zero carbon by 2050 - the fact that he questions its worth or that 2050 would be 20 years too late.

It is quite clear that Hammond needs a lesson in climate science. Just a basic one though. Just that we need to make radical changes right now in order for our children and grandchildren to survive. There is no waiting for 2050, no worrying about the cost, no questioning the facts. This needs to be done now. It must be our top priority.

The collapse of society is a very clear outcome should mankind not take the urgent steps rapidly to reduce our impact on the climate and on resources, and to reduce the other types of waste that we frivolously discard.

The collapse of society would wipe out GDP, costing a bit more than the £1 trillion that Hammond is worried about. We need a Green New Deal and we need it now.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Green Party result in Kent: Third place!

Back in 2013, I was on the Green Party Executive and seem to recall discussing whether getting over one million votes should be our target, just 6 years later we have got over 2 million in a brilliant result in this year's EU elections.

We have increased the number of Green MEPs from 3 to 7 and narrowly missed out on 2 more (second ones in SE and SW regions). It is worth pointing out that 18% in the SW is staggering! A huge congratulations to the seven and all those who campaigned.

While we topped the local polls in Brighton, Bristol and Norwich; Kent is a little further behind but not by too much...

Ashford: Third beating Labour and Tories
Swale: Third beating Labour and Tories
Folkestone: Third beating Labour and Tories but only 0.2 from beating Lib Dem to second
Tonbridge: Third beating Labour and Tories
Tunbridge Wells: Third beating Labour and Tories
Canterbury: Third beating Labour and Tories
Thanet: Third beating Labour and Tories
Maidstone: Fourth beating Labour (and only a whisker behind the Tories)Medway: Fifth
Gravesham: Fifth
Dartford: Fifth

It was good news for remain parties too, clearly demonstrating that the mood of the country has changed. This is the graphic from the BBC:

How pro-Brexit (34.9%) and anti-Brexit parties have done (40.4%)