We stand at a momentous time in history, whether we realise it or not. We are living through history, and I don’t believe we can just remain bystanders any more.
Putting aside the whole political shenanigans in the UK that have completely exhausted everybody, there are bigger things taking place and you (and I) can no longer bury our head in the sand.
It really is time to stand up and be counted.
Now really is the time to ask yourself what you are doing to help save the planet!
1st world problem
My daughter introduced me to a phrase I now love, which is “first world problem”. If, for some bizarre reason, you’ve never heard of it, it involves the kind of ‘problem’ that most of us encounter on a daily basis.
- My bus / train / drive to work is disrupted – and therefore my day / life is ruined.
- My nails chipped before anyone had even begun to admire them.
- My football team lost and therefore life is no longer worth living.
You know the kind of thing. The trivia of modern life. Something that millions around the world aren’t even aware of. For many, the biggest issue is worrying whether conflict or corruption, or climate change is going to alter or destroy their way of life first.
Today on The Hub, we posted a powerful and moving piece from Envirobuild, looking at the impact climate change is having on indigenous people around the world. These people don’t want our way of life. They want the one that generations of their forefathers have had. And this is now under threat because of climate change – which is a direct result of the way you and I have chosen to live.
I know that climate change is a big, scary issue that make things seem hopeless and I’m certainly not advocating that you give up work and join extinction rebellion – although I applaud their sentiment and urgency, if not their tactics.
I’m talking about the little things we can all do in our ‘normal’ day that collectively, will help to change things for the better. Probably to easiest but biggest impact things you can do immediately, is cut meat out of your diet.
According to Friends of the Earth, meat and dairy production is responsible for 14.5% of climate changing gases, which is more than all forms of transport put together. They also highlight the fact that meat takes more effort to eat, so it takes less ‘jaw power’ to go meat-free!
Have a look at their 8 lazy ways to be more environmentally friendly.
Less meat, more food
But it’s not just ‘green-leaning’ campaigners that are advocating this, with the BBC’s environment analyst, Roger Harrabin also highlighting a major UN report that states switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change.
Looking at land use the report says that our high consumption of meat and dairy produce is helping to fuel global warming.
Unlike my daughter though, they are not calling for everyone to become vegan but highlight instead that we could feed more, using less land, if you and I cut down on the amount of meat we eat.
The article above also has a useful link to a piece by James Gallagher, BBC Health and science correspondent, which talks about a flexitarian diet which can “save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet”.
The “planetary health diet" doesn’t banish meat and dairy completely but calls on all of us to make changes to the way we get our protein.
18 months to make a difference
Last December, I posted an article on the UN climate conference in Poland, known as COP24, which gave us 12 years to change the way we treat our planet.
If that still sounds a long way off – it isn’t.
More worrying than that though, are reports saying that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global crisis, such as the one by Matt McGrath, BBC Environment correspondent, which quotes one of the world's top climate scientists, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and now director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute, speaking in 2017:
"The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can't be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020".
So time really is pressing and a lot depends on the fundamental change we need governments and business to make.
But you too have options so now really is the time to ask yourself what you were doing to help save the planet!
Russell Jones is content and communications manager and curator of The Hub