Climate change: 'It would be nice if simple ways of solving the climate crisis already existed'
Nicola Baird, environmental campaigner
- Credit: Nicola Baird
Basic wheels were invented way before the Bronze Age, yet suitcases didn’t get them until the 1970s. Even then it was a slow take-up – I know I didn’t even borrow a wheely suitcase until the 21st century. Just like put-wheels-on-bags idea, it would be nice if simple ways of solving the climate crisis already existed, but just needed a smart hack to ensure Islington really is a Zero Carbon borough by 2030.
For instance, this month a less polluting unleaded petrol, known as E10, is on sale which should cut transport carbon emissions by 750,000 tonnes. “That’s the same as removing 350,000 cars from the road,” claim proponents. But it’s not actually removing 350,000 cars, which would be a far better way to tackle the climate crisis, improve public transport and boost our health. It is all too easy to be blindsided by capitalist business-as-usual hacks and not sustainable choices.
Even with Extinction Rebellion’s theatrical protests in town (and 500 arrests), personal diversions like a new school year and who’s flexi-working at the office makes it easy to be distracted from insisting politicians just get on with electrifying the vehicle network, retrofit houses (so they use less fossil-fuel energy) and pass that slow-moving Environment Bill.
At least personal climate-friendly behaviour such as switching to a renewable energy supplier or eating more plant-based meals can slot into daily life. Perhaps in the run up to November’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow, hearing local community ideas about doing things differently at Gillespie Park on September 19 (some stalls) or the council’s ambitious Greener Together Festival from October 18-29 will inspire more of us to cut our carbon footprints. Hopefully it will also bring better understanding about why politicians must roll out policies that wean us off our carbon-addicted lifestyles, even if that’s going to be a bit personally uncomfortable.
Here’s to the wheels of change.