On Friday we had one of the biggest climate demonstrations ever. Millions of people went out to march, to shout about their concern about the planet, to express their fear that the lives of their children and their children’s children will be blighted by climate change.
Then they all went home.
So what do we do now? Having expressed our concern by attending (or mentally supporting even if you did not actually attend) a climate protest rally – can we just leave it there? What should we DO?
Because I am concerned that we are dividing our lives into sections – our ‘everyday’ life where we do what we have always done, and the bit where we express our concern about the planet and attend a rally.
Climate Catastrophe Spectacles
If we really believe that our planet is at risk and the lives of our children and our children’s children are at risk (and that we only have 12 years to sort it) – we should be aware of this at all times and thinking about how the things we do every day affect our planet. And where our actions affect it adversely we should seek to change what we do. Or at least express our concern.
But often we don’t.
We need to look at things in a totally different way. We need to view our lives and our actions through climate catastrophe spectacles. Then when we have looked and seen, we need to change and adapt what we do and how we think and how we talk about things.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Thomas Cook travel
There is a lot of cover in the news at the time of writing about the imminent crash of the Thomas Cook travel business and how awful it is for their customers.
But no-one seems to be pointing out that these people should not be flying and putting our planet at risk in the first place, just so they can have a nice holiday. Aeroplane emissions are particularly dangerous as they are deposited high up in the atmosphere.
Surely we should be discouraging flying for all but the most necessary purposes until such time as planes can be made carbon neutral? (Not as impossible as you might think as this article about Norway shows).
Talking about the weather
The Brits are renowned about talking about the weather – often it is our main topic of conversation. However, perhaps we should stop saying how wonderful it is when we have long periods of hot dry sunny days and start to think about what it means.
And why do our weather forecasters keep implying that record high temperatures are good? Surely they are deeply worrying?
Gas in rented properties
This is the Landlord Law Blog so let’s take a look at some landlord related issues. Why are people still installing gas heating systems and appliances in rented properties? Gas is a fossil fuel. We need to be getting rid of it.
‘Well’, you will probably be saying, ‘we instal gas appliances because they are recommended by most Energy Performance Reports’.
But WHY are they recommended? Surely we should be outlawing ALL fossil fuels? Why aren’t landlords and landlord organisations agitating for this to be changed?
Who is your energy supplier?
There is a lot of talk about switching your utility supplier to get the cheapest deal. But shouldn’t we all be looking to use a green utility company instead? Have YOU switched to a green energy company? Why not?
Landlords should switch all their properties to a green energy company such as Ecotricity which actually builds wind and solar farms with the profits it makes. Make your utility bills count.
Have you insulated your property properly?
This will help reduce fuel bills and make the property nicer to live in for tenants.
Now you may say ‘well, the investment in insulation won’t benefit me, it will benefit the tenant financially, so why should I bother?”
True but only if the tenants pay the bills. If the utilities are paid by the landlord and included in the rent – then reducing the need for heating by proper insulation will benefit you, the landlord.
What are you doing with the garden?
People talk about how technology can provide for carbon capture and no doubt the boffins are working on this as I write. But actually, we already have a wonderful machine for capturing and storing carbon. It’s called a tree.
Landlords – do your properties have a garden? If so, have you planted trees?
If every landlord whose property had a garden planted one tree (or two if they are fruit trees so they can pollinate each other) – that would make a difference.
We just all need to be more aware of what we do and what we buy and what its effect will be on the planet.
When you go out – take your climate catastrophe spectacles with you and put them on.
And finally – avoid the dreaded plastic!
I have not actually been able to summon up the courage (yet) to strip my purchases of their plastic wrappings at the supermarket checkout and leave them behind. But I know I should do…