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  • Writer's pictureAndy Clark

Climate Vs Lockdown


So 2020’s been a pretty rough year so far. But in many ways, these last few months have just been a taste of what’s in store for us if we fail to prevent severe climate change.

Dramatic disruptions to food supply, restrictions on travel, widespread, unprecedented pandemics; these are just some of the things that we face if the world continues on it’s current course charging right into unmitigated climate change.

And really this is made all the more stark by the UN’s recent analysis that we’re very likely to exceed global heating of 1.5º within the next 5 years – that’s significantly sooner than was previously predicted, and honestly that’s scary.

These last few months have given us a taste of how much things are going to have to change in order to prevent global heating of over 2ºC. We’re all going to have to give things up, we’ll certainly have to travel less, and think about how, when and where we shop a lot more than we used to. And we have to accept the fact that the future will not resemble the past; it’s up to us to create a better new world for us all to live in.

And of course there have been positive impacts from the global lockdown; skies have been clearer which, let’s not forget means people are kept healthier, individuals have found new solace in local nature, and the ties that bind friends and families together have been shown to be more important than ever. Those are the things to focus on as we build a new post-COVID world.

Amidst this chaos and the oncoming recession is the opportunity to build a world that we want to live in – to move on from the bad, and build-up the good. Because conservationists, economists, and the world’s most responsible leaders all agree that the crisis has given us an opportunity to build back better and to build a new ‘green’ economy.

That means a world where the economy accepts that it is supported by the global ecosystem. Where strengthening natural systems is at the heart of everything we do, and business doesn’t leave a negative impact on the Earth, but a positive one.

Because literally trillions have already been put aside for the post-COVID recovery globally, and there’s still more to come. And the crazy thing is that a green recovery isn’t going to be in-spite of the economy, it’ll actually be good for the economy! Investments in green infrastructure like renewable energy, environmental management, supply chains and energy efficiency and directly in restoring and protecting wild places brings with it investments in green jobs and previously un-tapped markets, retuning much more to the global economy than is put in, while simultaneously returning huge amounts to humans and nature.

So this means expanding the renewable sector, immediately halting projects and practices that destroy nature – like HS2 – and systematically building a better framework for our society – like not allowing chlorinated chicken onto our shelves, but in raising quite a few standards.

This isn’t just something for governments to take care of one their own though – it’s something that we all need to be a part of. First and foremost to show governments that you support building a green new world – and that you’ll hold them to account if they fail to deliver. But you don’t have to wait for government to change the rules to start building the world you want to live in.

Right now you have the power to make your energy supplier, for you home, school or business, a renewable one. Right now you have the choice of what you buy, what you eat, how often and to where you travel. Right now you have the power to have a positive impact on this world.

But can you do it? Can you eat less or even stop eating meat? Can you say no to flying for a quick getaway? Can you work to appreciate your place in things – not easy in itself – to reduce your impact and actively care about protecting nature the world over as much as you care about protecting your own home?

Nobody’s pretending that this lockdown has been easy, but here I am telling you this is just the beginning?

And unfortunately, there’s always going to be plenty of people who simply won’t be a part of the solution – or, like in the lockdown, will either not follow the rules at all, or will irresponsibly take a mile when they’re given an inch.

Like in this pandemic, people will still selfishly do what they want and ultimately be a danger to us all. But is that an excuse for you to be just as bad as them?

Right now, if you go out in public, hopefully you wear a mask but do you believe that by doing so you’re single-handedly going to stop the pandemic? Of course not. And to someone on the other side of the street, do they know if you’re walking round carrying the virus trying to protect other people, if you’re a vulnerable person trying to protect yourself or your family, or if you’re just a fellow member of the public? No.

But what they do know, and what you know, is that you care. That you recognise the hardship in the world at the minute and for what it’s worth you’re going to do your bit. You would rather be part of the solution, than part of the problem.

When this all began, the similarities between the pandemic and the climate crisis were a harsh metaphor and honestly it was tremendously frustrating for climate activists. But overall, it has been a truly powerful metaphor for what we’re dealing with with the climate crisis, and it’s something that we have to deal with together. Because what’s more apparent than ever, now, is that we’re all in this together. And the people who believe that they don’t have to follow the rules, that they’re somehow above it all, or that they’re simply too small to make a difference; their behaviour is a danger to us all.

Never underestimate yourself. You are a part of something whether you like it or not – and we seriously have the only opportunity now to make a better world. And for all the joy and the love that has been shown throughout this emergency, thank you. That will be the foundation of the future.

“2020 - the year the world changes.”

Can you do it? Will you do it? Will you make 2020 the year that everything changes?

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