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Despite all the bad news about the climate, there is also good news! So, as individuals, we need to look forward. We need to picture the type of world we really want.

Children leaping for joy in a wood
Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

It is true that we humans have made a terrible job of caring for our planet and its inhabitants. The evidence is all round us. The wildfires, droughts, floods, storms and unpredictable weather are causing havoc. Biodiversity is dropping rapidly. Climate refugees are having to leave their homes in droves. There is no shortage of doom and gloom. It seems to me though, that we are almost allowing ourselves to stay stuck in this terrible environmental crisis that we have created.

I constantly ask myself “Why? Why are we allowing ourselves to stay stuck in this Slough of Despond?”

Mankind may be stupid on occasions, and often is. But we are also incredibly clever at getting ourselves out of fixes when we put our mind to it. We have though, left this particular fix dangerously late. However, the evidence of what we can do to make a difference is all around us. Some of it is technically and scientifically amazing. Some of it is exciting, like the increasing involvement of financiers and businesses. Some of it is due in large part to the long, slow, slog of activists (many of them very young) in raising awareness and pressurising politicians. However, we are holding ourselves back by our lack of belief that we can create a better future..

What should we feel optimistic about?

Renewable Energy

This report by IEA shows that renewable electricity growth is increasing rapidly. We now have available: solar power, hydro power, on-shore and off-shore wind energy, wave and tidal power and heat pumps. The price of these things is coming down all the time.

Our ability to make bigger, better and cheaper batteries will make our use of fluctuating solar and wind power much more efficient. This BBC Report shows the scale of the batteries we are talking about.

There are, of course, problems to be sorted out before we can complete the transition to renewable energy. Some of these are technical, some political and there is some aesthetic resistance to the new look.

A recent report by Green America, shows that they believe it is possible the world could be powered by renewables by 2050.

Soil, An Important Part of our Fight Against Climate Change

Hands planting a tiny seed
Photo by GreenForce Staffing on Unsplash

Regenerative Agriculture (see my blog on this subject here)

This type of agriculture can improve the health of the soil, increase biodiversity and enhance the general health of the environment. It also has been shown to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and increase farmers’ yield. See this inspiring article.

Project Drawdown is a global research organization that identifies, reviews, and analyses the most viable solutions to climate change. It ranks regenerative agriculture as one of the top actions we can take to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet. See this detailed article for further thoughts.

Another report by One Earth which talks about the success of this type of agriculture worldwide shows that a growing consensus is emerging among soil scientists. They believe that regenerative agriculture – agricultural practices that remove carbon from the atmosphere and put it back in the soil – could deliver a huge win for the climate.


“Finance is a huge lever, and possibly the most important lever, for the low-carbon economic transition, if we use it correctly,” said Cooper Wetherbee (an analyst with Climate Policy Initiative).

An exciting report about financial institutions shows “There is a growing community of financial institutions taking action and demonstrating leadership on climate change. Some institutions are allocating capital and steering financial flows towards more low carbon, climate resilient activities. Others are taking steps to change corporate behaviour, influence policy outcomes and build the data, tools and transparency required to embed climate change into how the market functions. “

In other words, business is changing and moving to support that low carbon world we so desperately need. These financial institutions have control over vast amounts of money. More and more they are moving their investments in the right direction. I am not forgetting the fossil fuel companies who seem determined to draw out the last drop of oil in spite of the devastation it will cause. However, the evidence is increasingly showing that the investors are losing faith in that.

Imagining How Our World Could Be

A woman regarding a lake with a cabin among trees in autumn
Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

There are many more great examples of how our world is changing to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change. See, for example the C 40 Cities and what their mayors are up to. They believe “Nothing short of transformational change on a global scale is needed within the decade, but such a shift has never seemed more possible than it does right now.”

Obviously, we need more changes and quickly. However, for me what we need is more imagination. It needs individuals to start visualising the future they would like. Then we need to get together in our communities and talk to our friends and neighbours about their vision. Finally, we need en masse to talk to our politicians about it. We must not let them forget their promises. But we need to look forward. We need to picture the world we want.

I am reading a wonderful book about imagination, written by Rob Hopkins, leader of the Transition Movement. It is called “From What Is to What If? Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want.

It is full of brilliant ideas and positive thoughts on how we can create a better life for ourselves. He is very clear there is a huge problem but believes that together and especially in our communities we can fashion something much better. If you want to start something new in your communities you must read this book. It sets the imagination on fire.

How can we as individuals be more imaginative?

We need to let ourselves dream about how we would like our world to be. Ask ourselves the question “What if…”.  We need to picture the clean air, the healthy food, the communities with places for the children to play without danger. We must imagine the birds singing and the animals roaming in the woods. Perhaps we could picture towns with vegetable gardens on the roofs of apartment blocks or open seating areas for people to relax and talk to their neighbours. These towns could be designed with the pedestrian in mind so people could walk where they wanted, or children could cycle to school without fear.

Then, we must believe it is possible and get out there and campaign for it. Each of us can make a contribution. But we need to move forward.

We just need to believe we can.

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