Saturday, 4 December 2010

Don't panic - let's escape!

A friend of mine's 10 year old son told me recently that he (the son) had recently written something at school about climate change and its solution. The solution, he said with some confidence, was that out there in the dark sky in a neighbouring constellation there sits a planet very similar to our earth, and to which most of the Earth's population is going to escape when the going gets too hot or tough on our resident planet.

The alarming thing came at the end - this was going to happen in 2012! He didn't say anything about what the existing residents of said planet might do or look like, but let's hope it isn't like this guy above.

Maybe more like this one? :

What children, and indeed young people, are really thinking about the future, can be very revealing. Whilst all sorts of fantasies are not uncommon, so too is the sense that our generation have messed up so badly there is not much chance of recovery - this goes as much in the current situation for pensions as it does for climate change.

So this week us adults have been blogging about our pet subject, and have come up with our own interesting images - including carrots and woolly hats, population graphs, Joint Core Strategies, Cancun, and a 'don't panic' slogan that might just pop up on someone's fancy mobile screen if they google for a lift across to Betelguese 5.

Maybe I am getting carried away here - whatever is happening in Cancun? As John said yesterday, it isn't exactly front page news. We do know that Japan appear to be blocking a renewal of the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012 ( oh dear, maybe that's where my friend's child got his idea from). And as ever, it is the developing countries who are pushing for binding agreements, as distinct from the rather loose accords that were agreed last year in Copenhagen. And the World Meteorological Organisation has just declared:

"The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850."

And..."Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46 C (0.82 F) above the 1961-1990 average" .

So here we go again... all the alarm bells, and none of the action it seems. Well, maybe not much of the internationally agreed action, but there is plenty of action being taken by ordinary people worldwide, including in Transition groups. Even in Cancun itself, local 'scavengers' - those who live off the huge rubbish dumps - have made themselves very visible and protested at the proposals to introduce an incineration process there, which would burn all the stuff that they both re-use and recycle, but also make a livelihood out of. This story, interestingly, only seems to have been reported in The Times of India. Hmmmm.... They point out that burning this 'rubbish', apart from depriving them of a livelihood, is also in one swoop increasing carbon emissions. I digress - although this story shows how interwoven the issues of poverty, carbon emissions, and waste are.

So we really don't need to escape - we really need to do more of the things we have already started in the transition movement, more of the things that have come so creatively from people locally and worldwide, projects that we have actually begun ( like the food projects), and projects that we have planned and will come.... as they always do when inspirational and creative and committed people come together.

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