Climate change: Nurture nature

Overflowing litter bin beside Regent’s Canal: clearly we are not willing to nurture nature. (c) Nicola Baird

Overflowing litter bin beside Regent’s Canal - Credit: Nicola Baird

On a recent Grayson Perry’s Art Club, filmed in Barnsbury, Grayson’s co-host Philippa Perry stitched a cushion cover with the words “Nurture Nature”, riffing on her role as psychotherapist who unpicks people’s problems. It’s a reminder for us all as we start to emerge from a year of lockdowns into a decade which needs to see Islington reach net zero carbon by 2030.

Clearing up rubbish doesn’t cut carbon or tackle climate change. But watching stewards take nearly two hours to collect and sort the picnic rubbish left all over Highbury Fields after the hottest March day (24.5C) in half a century you’d be forgiven for thinking that few of us nurture either place or planet.

Founder of the Islington Faces blog and Inspiring Islington exhibition, Nicola Baird.

Nicola Baird says we cannot go back to our carbon heavy lifestyle - Credit: Nicola Baird

Meanwhile techies – invested in an economic system which relies on a growth mindset rather than circular thinking – argue that 2030 is just too soon. In Bill Gates’ new book about climate change he says it’s pointless aiming for a net zero carbon goal by 2030 because it can’t be done. Instead Gates looks towards investment and new technology – including dodgy nuclear fission, genetically modified crops and lab-grown meat – claiming 2050 would be a better target. By then Gates will be 95.

Despite the mayoral and some ward elections on May 6, system change is not on offer. But nor does it seem that individuals are willing to make serious changes to their own life: witness the upset about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in a borough where 70 per cent don’t have a vehicle. Or consider the reluctance to take your picnic rubbish to a bin, back home, or simply create a waste-free picnic.

To tackle climate change we cannot go back to our carbon heavy lifestyles when the shops reopen, but do we have the strength to think and do things differently? Thankfully one thing we’ve learnt from Covid-19 is that the future is not predictable.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter