In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and in light of the sheer scale of the problem, it’s easy to feel helpless about Man’s impact on the natural world. However, we are all responsible to some extent, and in the developed world we are more responsible than most.
So we have to accept that responsibility and act. There has to be sudden, massive change in individual behaviour, globally. We have to accept that the longer we take to make this change the worse it’s going to get and the more bleak it will be for the future of mankind and all other life on Earth. There has to be the political will to lead the fight against Man’s impact on the planet and an individual acceptance that it is necessary. It’s an emergency and it needs to be treated as one.
So what can we do as individuals? Here are a few ideas:
Vote for the political party that places the greatest emphasis on the environment, makes the strongest promises to take action in its manifesto and shows the strongest leadership in addressing the emergency, one that supports public transport infrastructure, protects wildlife and subsidises renewable energy projects. One that does not support fracking or other fossil fuel-based sources.
Contact your local County and District Councils, and urge them to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency if they have not already done so.
Ask them what actions they are taking.
Cut your own carbon footprint; move closer to work, arrange to work from home or get a job closer to where you live, if possible. If not, walk, cycle or take public transport rather than driving. If you need a car make the next one electric, or at the very least a hybrid. Car share. Don’t fly. If you must, do so infrequently, avoid long-haul and be sure to pay for ‘carbon off-set’.
Insulate your home; fit cavity wall insulation, replace old windows with double-glazing, hang curtains and close them when it’s cold. Put a jumper on before the heating. Fit energy-saving light bulbs but turn them off when not needed. Move to a 100% renewable energy supplier for your electricity. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Take showers not baths. Fit a rain barrel for watering the garden. Fit solar panels, solar hot water systems and air-source heat pumps.
Consume less. Reduce, re-use, recycle. Avoid fashion clothing. Use charity shops more.
Reduce the amount of animal products you consume. Eat a more plant-based diet. Choose organic. Eat more locally produced goods, more seasonally. Avoid buying perishable goods out of season that won’t have been grown in the UK and will have had to be flown in. Grow your own veg.
Accept that the lifestyle you have come to enjoy will soon be very different. If you can bear it, think about what lives your children or grandchildren will have if we don’t do something, and how difficult it will be for them.
Be thankful. Cherish the wildlife we still have. Protect it fiercely. Tell others about the crisis we are experiencing, and raise awareness of the threats to, and support for, the natural world at every opportunity.
Make the most of the time that’s left.