Autumn trees changing colour

Recent climate news has been looking very gloomy. So I thought it might be more uplifting to look at the positive changes that are happening all around us. For me it is important, (without forgetting where we are) to be clear that if we wish to create a better future, then we can. I am cheered by the many thousands of wonderful people out there working to make a difference.

As Paul Hawken (an author and environmentalist) said in an address: “No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. “

I would like to encourage you to join that movement for change.

We don’t have to live as we have been doing!

We can do things differently. Our future is not carved in letters of stone. We can write a better one.

In a recent Guardian article Christiana Figueres, the UN climate chief who oversaw the landmark 2015 Paris climate deal explained that: the world was on the edge of positive societal tipping points away from fossil fuels. “It doesn’t mean a utopian future – we know too much climate change is already baked into the system – but enormous positive change is coming.”

We can make what is to come better than what we have. If we are courageous, human imagination can fashion a world for the generations to come that allows them and all of nature to flourish.

In fact we are already on the path.

In the words of Arundhati Roy “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Researching this subject is inspiring. I believe that if all the people who were throwing their hands up in the air in despair would just look at the changes that are taking place, they would act.

There is just so much happening that is good and positive, and I would like to show you some examples.

Nature in Full Bloom

A beautiful tree in bloom

Allowing Nature to Thrive

A large family farm in southern England intends to return to grassland. The plan is to “farm nature” and hopefully to assist the return of many declining species including cuckoos and turtle doves.

With some low intensity animal grazing this should allow the return of chalk-rich grassland which will in its turn attract insects and some locally extinct bird species.

The farm plans to get rid of its large farm machinery and reduce its use of fertilizer to almost zero. Like other rewilded estates it will probably employ more workers than found on normal farms. The farm will be helped financially by the governments “wood-pasture” funding option as part of their countryside stewardship scheme. This helps the farmers use their land sustainably, encourages the return of species and allows the land to sequester carbon (i.e. return it to the soil.)

This should produce a winning situation for both the farmer and nature.

Renewable Energy and the Reduction of Pollution

I discussed in my previous blog the success of renewable energy worldwide, and it has indeed simply taken off. At the same time there are also many exciting examples of the success of renewable energy in both transport and housing. This of course cuts down considerably on both carbon emissions and air pollution which has contributed so much to the rise of asthma globally.

According to this American report poor air quality can be harmful to human well-being. There are a variety of respiratory disorders associated with toxins present within the atmosphere, such as bronchitis and asthma. These will eventually lead to heart or lung complications over time. In the UK there are a number of positive examples of reduction in poor air quality (and thus lung disease) produced by deliberate changes in the transport system.


The mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham has brought the public transport system back under public control with the introduction of electric buses locally.

One of the very exciting things about this is the role of activists who worked very hard to bring back the public control of buses in the city. This emphasizes for me that individuals really can and want to make a difference.


In 2022 the mayor of London Sadiq Khan brought in a new ultra-low emission zone in central London (ULEZ). By all accounts this has had a transformational impact on air pollution for 4 million people in central London. Toxic air-pollution has already been reduced by half in this zone.

In addition London has upgraded many of its buses to zero emission running and about 40 % of the city’s famous black cabs are now electric. This has cut the city’s carbon emissions considerably. There are plans for further changes.

An Old London Bus

A Routemaster London bus

Regenerative Agriculture in America

Regenerative farming practices have been proven to foster healthier soils, improve water infiltration and reduce soil erosion. General Mills, a US based food company, has committed to deploying regenerative farming practices across its 1 million acres of farmland by 2030. The company also plans to help young people get into farming and encourages them to use the same techniques.

If you are interested in regenerative farming (and it is what the world needs) have a look at the rest of this article. It has some interesting examples.

Sustainable Housing

Particularly in large parts of the developed world housing can be a big source of carbon emissions. Many of the houses are old, cold, draughty and often damp. They can cost a fortune to heat and often they are heated by fossil fuel energy. In areas where there is poverty, energy can contribute to a very large part of a household budget.

Governments in many of these countries have still to get to grips with the problem of providing sufficient housing, especially houses with low energy usage. However, increasingly architects are becoming interested in building or refurbishing houses to make them sustainable.

The World Green Building Council works with businesses, organisations and governments to help deliver the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Development Goals. They work with builders around the world to help them produce homes and buildings that are environmentally friendly. Clearly they cannot make governments act but their existence and their focus is promising.

To bring about our dream for a better future we need not just technological advances, amazing as some of them have been. But we need social changes too, for example

Equality for Women

One of the most vital changes needed in society is for women to gain equality. This is particularly important in the global south where the input of women is desperately needed to make societies function more effectively. It seems that women in sub-Saharan Africa have been making huge strides forward in women’s participation in the economy. Do have a look at this article as it seems women have achieved some exciting changes.

What can you do to bring about a Better Future?

The Guardian asked climate scientists what are the most useful actions individuals can take to make a difference?

  1. 76 % said vote for politicians who vote for strong climate measures. Half the world will be having elections this year. So if you have a vote check out what your politicians think before voting.
  2. 56% said reduce flying.
  3. Eating less meat is very effective
  4. Protesting is important
  5. Everyone should talk about the climate as the leading existential threat to societal stability.

It is clear that change is in the air. It is just not happening fast enough. I believe strongly that if we have a vision of the better world we want we are much more likely to bring that vision to fruition. However we also need a huge movement of people to put pressure on our governments to bring in the policies we so badly need.

So, time to get active!

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Photos of trees by Doreen Hosking and the London bus is by Dave Kim on Unsplash