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With the President’s wall still all over the news, Russell Jones explores why Trump should instead look to build a dyke.

The US President is once again all over the media talking about building his wall along the Mexican border to keep out the ‘caravan of terrorists and drug dealers’, and is now seeking to evoke emergency powers to provide funding, using inflammatory language that is only likely to harden opposition.

However, perhaps the President should learn lessons from an American children’s story, that to be honest, I thought was originally Dutch.

If you don’t know the story of the little boy who stuck his finger in a dyke, it was written in 1865, by Mary Mapes Dodge, an American author. Her story probably makes him the most famous Dutch person never to have lived, as it was not based on any real Dutch folk heroes and few in the Netherlands even know the story.

It tells the tales of the little boy who sees that the dyke (or levee, or sea wall) that protects his village and surrounding lands, has a trickle of water coming out of it.  He blocks the leak with his finger until someone comes to help, thereby preventing disaster.

Wait til sea levels have risen even higher if you think immigration is a problem!

Russell Jones Russell Jones Content and communications manager

Chevy to the Levee, Bike to the Dyke

My point about building a levee or dyke, rather than a wall, is all to do with climate change of course. 

If anyone thinks immigration is a problem now, wait until global sea levels have risen two metres and whole areas of land are covered in water, such as most of Florida as I’ve previously explored here.

Regardless of America’s issues with the Mexican border, or even our own self-imposed issue of Brexit, here in the UK, climate change is the biggest threat facing us all now, and thankfully, more people are waking up to this and it is starting to get the attention it deserves.

More is needed though.

Climate change hoax

Despite the scientific evidence and high-profile ‘heroes’ such as Sir David Attenborough, telling the recent World Economic Forum in Davos  that the “Garden of Eden is no more”, there are still some that believe that man’s activities around the globe are not the major cause of climate change.

Even the President is guilty of this with a history of confusing weather with climate change, despite the wealth of information available.

This tweet came just three weeks after another one in which he discussed forecasts of heavy snow.

“Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now,” the 72-year-old said.

Mr Trump also once claimed that climate change was a Chinese hoax, invented to hurt US exports.

Whilst he remains the ‘most powerful man on the planet’, thankfully, others disagree with him as the reaction to his rejection of the Paris Climate Change Agreement demonstrated, with business and even individual US States, adopting the essence of the agreement.

What’s the point?

Whilst our global leaders seem to be incapable of reaching agreement on the way forward, it is easy to think that nothing can be done. 

“What difference can I as an individual do, when governments and industry can’t appear to do anything?”

Tell that to Greta Thurnberg, who has now started a global youth movement by going on strike from school every Friday to protest against climate change inaction.

This is spreading fast as tomorrow’s generation realise that we are seriously threatening their future, and the future of their children.

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF is attributed with this stark and telling quote:

“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.

That’s why I’ve focused before on this site on the individual actions we can all take that, collectively will make a difference.

Whether that is as simple as walking or taking the bus, rather than driving; turning down your thermostat one degree, or even not buying disposable plastic bags, collectively it does make a difference.

Business is listening

And this collective movement is starting to impact on the businesses that sell to us as well.

Although we still have far too much single-use plastic in our supermarkets, there are moves to change all this, as the huge drop in disposable carrier bags shows after the imposition of a 5p charge.

The drive towards electric cars is perhaps the most visible at the moment and a salutary lesson for business that does not see the change coming, as car manufacturers are quickly discovering.

It’s all very well moaning that previous governments promoted diesel as being ‘cleaner’ than petrol, but the harsh reality is that most of the car manufacturing facilities are now geared up to produce the wrong technology.

So, back to you

Here at Mitsubishi Electric, we are doing what we can by encouraging everyone to look at the equipment they use to heat, cool and ventilate their buildings and ensure that they are consuming as little energy as possible.

As a manufacturer, it might seem counter-intuitive for us to question the need for some of the equipment we are selling, but the reality is we are questioning the use of that equipment as for too long, we have all just expected to be inside comfortable buildings with no thought of the energy being consumed.

So improving efficiency could start right now, with something as simple as ensuring your equipment is regularly maintained so it is working as effectively as possible.

Or it could be adding a control system to automate energy saving. Or even using the controls properly in the first place.

On a personal level for your home, it could be that you switch to renewables such as air source heat pumps, which will cost you more than a traditional heating system in the short-term, but will offer reliable, low-cost heating for the next 10-20 years, whilst minimising your own personal impact on the environment.

The answers are here

In addition to those who question the validity of climate change science, there are also some who believe we will develop some radical technological solution to help reverse climate change but the answers to many of our problems are already here.

There is no point waiting for someone else to invent the ‘silver bullet’ as, first of all, there is no one single solution, or bullet. Climate change and our role in it is so complex, there isn’t one easy answer.

What we all need to do therefore, is change ourselves in whatever way is practical and affordable for you.  I’ve started already as I now drive a half electric car and I’ve cut a lot of meat out of my diet.

I know I can do more and I applaud Greta Thunberg and other schoolchildren who are protesting about what we are doing to their future.  Perhaps we all need to start lobbying government and business to bring about change?

One thing is certain though, every little thing you do as an individual will help to make a difference.

So, ask yourself: How are you saving the planet today?

Russell Jones is content and communications manager for Mitsubishi Electric's Living Environment Systems in the UK