Not a day goes by without at least one headline raising the issue of climate change. With increasingly frequent and destructive natural disasters taking place around the world, from flooding in the UK to fires in Australia, it’s not hard to see why.
The public seem roughly divided into four camps on this. There are of course those who feel it is the most pressing issue facing us today and that addressing it takes priority over everything else, and there are the tiny number who don’t believe it is real at all. Yet, most people either seem to feel it is a priority, but not at the cost of other things they want, or are so depressed by the way the world is going they don’t want to think about it.
In other words, most people expect politicians to avert a climate disaster, but not if it impacts upon them.
A few weeks back I was sent photos of rubbish piled up against a black bin with claims that the bin was too small. Was it too small? The recyclables pouring out of the bags seemed to indicate the red bin wasn’t used at all. Recycling was apparently too much effort.
Alternatively, every canvasser knows the biggest issue on the doorstep is parking. Better bus routes or safer cycle paths don’t make the top 30. Yet, if everyone who wants a car has one levels of CO2 emissions will increase substantially.
Unfortunately, you simply cannot have the levels of energy and resource consumption most of us have in our lives and reduce carbon to the levels we need.
Maybe we want Government to get tough, to fine people who don’t recycle, to impose limits on car numbers, to ban flights for nonessential purposes? Some might claim so, but I suspect any such Government’s time in office would be very short.
The honest truth is this. No one is coming to save us. If we want things to be better then we are the only people with the power do it. We don’t have to, but the consequences will be severe.