Climate change demo

A Possible Tory Leader and her take on Democracy

Liz Truss was harassed by climate activists at a recent Conservative Party leadership hustings for what they claimed was her failure to tackle the global heating crisis. In response she promised to crack down on militant protestors and said “I will never, ever, ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by unfair protests.”

How Dare She!

These protestors were working to save our future. We need protestors to stand up to uncaring governments. They were standing up for our rights, our rights as human beings. Yours and mine and those of our children and grandchildren.

Human Rights

The United Nations adopted this document on 27th July 2020. It shows that we have a right to peaceful protest especially against the violation of our human rights.

These were not unfair protests on the part of the demonstrators. The UK government is not doing its part to prevent drastic Climate Change. (The fact that most other governments are not doing so either is quite beside the point.)

It is the government’s duty to keep its citizens safe. They are not doing that. Nor are they protecting the futures of my children and grandchildren and all the generations to come. This is what Democracy is about. We vote them in and they must do their utmost (given the pressures in a global society) to make our country work.

Human Rights and Climate Change.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote after the COP 21 Climate Conference (2015) that:- “To mitigate climate change and to prevent its negative human rights impacts: States have an obligation to respect, protect, fulfil and promote all human rights for all persons without discrimination.

“Failure to take affirmative measures to prevent human rights harms caused by climate change, including foreseeable long-term harms, breaches this obligation. The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that climate change is caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Among other impacts, climate change negatively affects people’s rights to health, housing, water and food.

“These negative impacts will increase exponentially according to the degree of climate change that ultimately takes place and will disproportionately affect individuals, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations including women, children, older persons, indigenous peoples, minorities, migrants, rural workers, persons with disabilities and the poor.

“Therefore, States must act to limit anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g. mitigate climate change), including through regulatory measures, in order to prevent to the greatest extent possible the current and future negative human rights impacts of climate change.”

How can we make our governments change?

It is our job as individuals to force the government to change

Change the politics not the climate slogan at demo

Can Individuals Make a Difference?

Well, yes, if we start now, and it really has to be now.  Bill McGuire in his new book Hothouse Earth pulls no punches. He says, “If we are to have any chance of preventing a bad situation becoming worse then we need to seriously cut emissions, NOW, TODAY.”

This is perhaps the most depressing book I have ever read because he says it like it really is. A situation we must face up to, no matter how depressing. Bill is a vulcanologist and Emeritus Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London. So, it is pretty clear he knows what he is talking about.

So what CAN we do?

He states that a quick win for the planet would be cutting down methane emissions by significantly reducing our meat-eating habits. We can all do that.

We can also lobby the government to bring in a law to force fossil fuel companies to drastically reduce their production of methane.

This is only a start. He believes we must persuade those companies to leave all known oil, coal and gas reserves in the ground. Obviously they will not do that voluntarily, so they must be persuaded. First, governments must scrap subsidies to these companies (about $6 trillion in 2020 alone.)

Secondly governments must stop issuing exploration licences. Thirdly we must persuade the banks to stop funding the fossil fuel sector.

Of course, there is more that can and must be done. However even with the issues I have mentioned I believe that if enough of us get together to protest in whatever way we can then governments will have to listen. It will need millions of us to make a very loud noise indeed.

Greta Thunberg and many wonderful young activists have made a great start on that with their Friday School Strikes for the Future.

Join me on 23rd September this year and support the Fridays for Future Global Climate Strike to demand that world leaders prioritise People not Profit.

Peaceful Protests

Peaceful protest

Apart from protesting (which I believe we must do) there are other ways we can make a big difference:

We can find out if our banks are funding fossil fuel companies and tell them we are changing and why.

We can divest our pension fund from any fossil fuel companies and tell them why.

We can find reliable charities that are planting trees and support them.

We can look for rewilding projects (they don’t have to be re-introducing wolves!) and get excited at the difference they can make.

We can fund charities that are supporting Regenerative Agriculture (especially in places like Africa).

We can also help fund environmental charities, like ClientEarth who are challenging governments in the courts about not meeting their climate targets. (This has been successful in a good number of cases). Many of the other environmental charities are also doing a great job in challenging governments.

Finally, we need to talk about this to everybody we meet so that we can all become active in a way that will make a difference.

We need to remember that what we are facing a global catastrophe and for the sake of all our children each one of us must act.

(The photographs above are respectively by Callum Shaw, Tania Malréchauffé and Max Bender on Unsplash.)

New blog notification

If you would like to be on a list to receive future blogs, please leave me your details

* indicates required