The time has come for a new attitude to climate change. We’ve been wandering around in the dark for so long on this issue, and the time has come for us to reclaim hope and to recognise that the journey towards a sustainable future is already well underway.
I have hope that our growing sense of being in and of the natural world will help us become better custodians of the earth, that our stewardship can ensure that there is a healthy environment for ourselves and for all beings on this planet. I have hope that we can all agree that our children should enjoy the same opportunities for health and prosperity that we’ve had. I have hope that we can recognise that this is the only habitable planet we can pass on to future generations, and to hold that gift precious in our hearts and minds.
There has been so much good news over the last few years, but so many of us haven’t heard. It’s been lost in shallow media coverage and the eternal fear-mongering that has plagued this issue ever since the warnings of scientists were first heard several decades ago. There’s been so many amazing developments in research and technology, so many smart, motivated people and forward-thinking organisations finding new solutions and forging ahead in all spheres of government. Those countries that have found the will to move forward have already shown great progress towards a low-emissions future.
The fact is that we already have the technology and the resources to meet the challenges of climate change. What is lacking is the imperative to act… and that’s where we come in.
History is full of examples of people coming together for social change, often in the face of great opposition. We, the people, are ultimately responsible for the society in which we live and the kind of world that we leave to our children — not politicians or corporations, but you, I and the everyday people we pass on the street and with whom we work every day. We can see that our governments are failing to rise to these challenges, but we must recognise that we are naïve to think they would do otherwise. Did we really believe that the politicians would emerge from behind closed doors holding aloft an agreement to lead humanity out of the darkness of the fossil fuel era? Every modern movement for social change has come from the people — not from government. In each case the movement came first, then government followed. If those people had waited for solutions to be delivered to them the change would never have happened.
So the message here is simple: it’s okay, we can stop turning away — the time has come for us to demand action on climate change. We all need to find a way to breathe for the earth, to put aside our fears and anxieties about what may come to pass and allow ourselves to be present at this current moment in time, because it’s a powerful moment — a moment that is rich with the possibility of making a bold step into a brighter future.
On the 30th of November this year the COP21 global climate talks will be held in Paris, bringing together the world’s leaders to forge a global agreement on climate change. This is seen as a make-or-break conference, the last chance for the two-decades-old UN process to tackle what many scientists regard as the biggest single threat to humanity. There is strong sense of momentum building up to COP21, and there have been many developments in the last 12 months that suggest that there is strong support for decisive action.
It’s up to us to help each other and our politicians to realise that the time for fear is behind us, that a new vision of the future beckons and that the future is bright. On the last weekend of November people all over the world will come out to join in the Global Climate March that marks the beginning of the COP21 climate talks. If our elected representatives see people united en masse it becomes easier for them begin taking decisive action. We need to show that the will of the people is for change, for an end to denial and evasion, that the time has come to stop deferring action to the next conference, the next government, the next generation.
But this is not going to happen unless the people make themselves heard and are willing to stand up and be counted, willing to stand up for our future and for our children’s future.
In whatever way you can, be it big or small, I ask that we all find a way to help make COP21 a success. Whether by joining the marches, organising a gathering in your local area, or by simply speaking with those in your community about this issue.
I hope that you will join the movement towards a brighter future for all beings on this Earth, our home.
This article first appeared on Medium.