With all the media coverage following on from the UN report this week, which said we have 12 years to shape the future of the planet we've come up with 8 things that can be done to help achieve it. Whether we’re qualified to impart our opinion on this is a different matter, but we’re going to give it a shot anyway.
1. Change The Name
Global warming sounds quite pleasant and climate change sounds like we’re redecorating the living room rather than fundamentally altering the nature of our planet. Sounds stupid, but there’s a lot in a name and how it affects peoples attitudes.
The direness of the situation should be represented in it's title. The terrorist threat is always severe, or critical, surely we should have something equally dramatic for a much more widespread danger?
2. Dramatically Cut Consumption of Meat and Dairy
The one that gets the most flack and makes most people defensive, but the most obvious and easiest to implement, with the biggest impact. Governments can do this via tax, or people can make the choice themselves. But if we were farming for ourselves, there is no way it would be possible to eat meat, eggs and dairy for breakfast lunch and dinner. So the fact it’s possible and affordable to do this, illustrates how severely out of balance these industries are with nature.
Even the head of Shell Petroleum has said this is necessary. Of course, the head of a company which knew about the danger of climate change since the 80’s and apparently funded research against it, in the name of profit, is so messed up that we can’t even think of a good analogy to describe how messed up it is.
This feeds back into no. 2, as swathes and swathes of land are used for farming livestock, both directly and indirectly. If we cut meat and dairy consumption, huge amounts of that land can be reforested or returned to the wild.
A tree planted in the optimum environment can dispose of 1 metric tonne of carbon dioxide in a 40 year lifespan, helping to reverse the effects of global warning.
4. Carbon Tax
So obvious it hurts.
5. Change The Terminology Used
A rise in temperature of 2 degrees seems harmless. We barely need to change the clothes we wear if this happens through the course of a day, so the connection between that and it’s stark effect on the planet doesn’t seem intuitive and quick to grasp. Let’s change it to 275 kelvins. That seems severe enough to shock your dad into at least recycling that tin foil he used to wrap his ham sandwich, even if he won't stop eating it.
6. Change Our Travel Behaviours
Yawn. Less flights and when we do fly, airlines should offset the carbon used by contributing to reforestation efforts.
We should cycle and use public transport more. Everyday we cycle past people sat miserable and angry in standstill traffic. Swap the car out when it’s not essential. More funding should be made available to Improve cycle networks and public transport to make this easier for people to do.
7. Change The Structure Of Our Economies
GDP growth at the expense of everything else is not good for anything. Economics needs to be reworked so that models take the environment as a factor. The economy cannot grow without something else shrinking (the planets resources).
8. Buy Less New Things
And if you do, make sure it’s something which has been designed to have as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. Obviously.