Monday, 9 June 2008

What will drive you to act?

Transition is driven by two key issues - Peak Oil and Climate Change. The former is an economic and social driver, but the latter...well, it's ecological, social and economic. But primarily, Climate Change is a moral issue.

It's a complex issue and is truly global, in both scale and ramifications. In industrialised countries like ours, who create vast amounts of greenhouses gases, we affect not just our climate, but climates of other countries and people - many of whom have produced tiny amounts of greenhouse gases.

The injustice is made worse by the fact that most greenhouse gas-emitting countries are in temperate regions, which Climate Change will, on the whole, affect less severely. On Scilly we should rightly be very concerned about rising sea levels, caused by melting glaciers - but this is a gradual process that may not affect us severely for another 30 years.

In recent days the plight of starving people in Ethiopia has come to light on international news sources. To some extent political issues are to blame here, but the underlying cause of the extreme food shortages experienced by some people are climate change. Severe lack of rain has caused crop failures and hence reserves of food have virtually run out for some people. These changes in weather patterns have been inextricably linked to a changing climate, caused by a warming of the world's atmosphere.

So what will drive you to reduce your carbon footprint and hence your contribution to climate change? Is it the possibility of children in 30 years time using Holgates Green as the new Quay, or images of children dying in Ethiopia today?

It's an interesting moral question and one that doesn't really have an either/or answer. The truth is that Climate Change now was caused by emissions 30 years ago and our emissions will create problems 30 years hence.

The need for action has never been more urgent.

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