I’m a Boston Rebellion, in #Togethernessship with millions against sitting #localgov. PD’s call out Climate Disaster Emergency – By doing so we, ‘the people’s demands’ (PD’s) globally call all town and city councils, municipalities to align all planning and decision making in harmony with the natural Earth comeback, with the Ecological Precautionary principle. Instead of planners and decision makers wreaking the planet with outdated and unsustainable ruling – rogue urban development. From 2020 these acts will be considered as criminal and those responsible will be held to account.
First all towns and cities to recognise the “CITIZENS’UNIVERSAL DECLARATION*” implementing urgently needed energy transition plans to shift, from fossil fuels to renewable energy without delay, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at once. Stop relying on fossil fuels and initiate an urgent shift to a carbon-neutral society without any further delay.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience to me — every so often the distant nightmare of climate change breaks through. I read or watch something, I’m shocked, I do some things, I hope the Government is responding adequately, I get pulled back into the demands of my life. And after a time — repeat.
I don’t particularly want to think about climate change. I don’t really think of myself as an environmentalist. What can I do anyway? I like being a mum, I like supporting parents of teenagers, I like my work, listening to the radio, gardening and drinking tea with friends.
But recently it has become clear that we have entered a new, very urgent stage in tackling climate change and protecting our natural world; that we cannot carry on as usual any more; that there is no other alternative but for everyone to face the emergency we find ourselves in, and to act from that point.
We need to face the climate emergency and other ecological crises
We have to face that we are in a state of climate emergency — that we have maybe five years (plus or minus a couple) to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to have any chance of preserving the world as we know it.
The UN IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report[i] published in 2018 said the world has 12 years to halve greenhouse gas emissions to have any chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees (to be clear, this is action on a scale the world has never seen before, similar to a ‘Marshall Plan’ in every country).
However, the report has increasingly been criticised as a conservative compromise, and respected scientists are breaking ranks to issue serious warnings that we actually need to act much more quickly[ii].
We also face:
that 60% of animal life and over 70% of insects have been killed or disappeared in the past 40 years[iii]
that climate scientists are openly talking about being terrified[iv]
that the effects of climate change are happening more quickly and more seriously than was predicted[v]
that current commitments by governments to reduce emissions put us on course for a ‘catastrophic’ 3 degrees of global warming
that UK soil will be able to produce crops for a maximum of 30 more years in its current condition[vi]
that human extinction (or near extinction) is an actual possibility in our children’s lifetime[vii]
that we are in the midst of our final chance to divert from environmental collapse, without causing massive human suffering
and sadly more…
It is important to face this shocking information as boldly as we can. Without facing this, we have little hope of responding adequately.
Society still ‘asleep’ to climate emergency
In 2018 there was clear evidence of the effects of climate change around the world, which broke through into people’s consciousness in a new way. Despite this, the extent of the crisis is barely reflected in the media, the Government response, or in our daily experience. Our Western lives keep us busy, entertained, distracted, exhausted, numb and ‘asleep’ to the reality that is approaching. There is a sense that we are sleepwalking towards disaster. Many positive efforts have been made — but we have very nearly run out of time
There are hundreds and hundreds of amazing, positive, innovative ideas and projects that address the environmental crises, and most of them move us forward as humans too, we have so many of the answers we need; but we don’t have the necessary political will, and we have very nearly run out of time.
There have been fantastic efforts to ‘transition’ us out of global dependence on fossil fuels, to work towards a peaceful and empowering switch to clean, green energy — much has been achieved and will make a difference.
But it has become clear that fossil fuel and extractive capitalism won’t just roll over — it doesn’t know how to stop, and it probably can’t by itself. It is not a thoughtful and responsive system; it has one setting — extracting fuel and natural resources to make money. The fossil fuel industry continues to receive trillions of dollars globally in government subsidies, even as we approach the cliff edge[viii]. We continue to be urged to consume more and more. Despite scientists talking about the possibility of the collapse of human civilisation[ix], emissions actually increased last year and will again this year.
It is more and more clear that saving people and planet will take up-ending fossil-fuel capitalism and changing our entire system — and we are approaching this confrontation in the next few years. The more of us who are awake to the emergency we face, the better chances we have.
What does the future bring?
It’s impossible to know exactly how things will play out. Climate science is one of the most complicated areas of science, because of the complex range of interconnecting factors and systems — think of the poor scientists trying to predict cloud behaviour… However, so far the observed effects of climate change are coming in at the more severe end of scientists’ predictions, and it is almost certain that we will see dramatic impacts such as widespread food and water scarcity, very large numbers of climate migrants, extreme temperatures, increasing species extinction, storms, wildfires, and possibly much more within a few years.
In addition to the increasing effects of climate change, we can expect significant ongoing instability in other ways too. The end of the cheap fuel economy will probably continue to cause political tremors across the world; one of the possibilities is that the financial system could collapse because of its links to a collapsing fossil fuel industry[x]. There are other big possibilities too.
As uncomfortable as it is to think about all of these things, it will be a great help to us, and others, if we have had some chance to engage with the fact that big changes are coming.
It will help if many of us have faced that we are in an emergency
It will help us to respond thoughtfully and courageously to the challenges we confront if we have had a chance to face the emergency we are in. It allows us to process and understand that we have moved beyond ‘business as usual’ — that a lot of what has been presented as ‘normal’ in our economic system can no longer apply. It allows us to begin considering other ideas.
Confronting the emergency also stops us being so vulnerable to manipulation, so shockable and less likely to blame scapegoats. It allows us to make important changes to our lives, and to develop the local networks and communities that will be essential. Information and understanding gives us more power.
It’s hard to face the climate emergency
All of this is really hard to engage with, and it can be terrifying and incredibly sad.
It is completely normal to feel huge grief, fear or other emotions when we try to understand the situation and what it could mean. The implications for our children’s lives, or other people’s children. Or our own life. The loss of species. Or maybe even the loss of some of humanity’s greatest achievements and dreams. Our feelings are central to our humanness, our intelligence, and to our caring for each other and the world, and we need space to absorb in every sense what this situation means. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel, we often remain distant, and the emergency continues to be ‘unreal’ to us.
We may also feel ‘discombobulation’, as we absorb that so much of what has been the normal parameters of our life may no longer be relevant.
Sharing our feelings and thoughts with others is so important. When we keep them to ourselves, they can morph, dominate and terrorise us; talking with others means we literally ‘share’ the feelings and experience — we are no longer dealing with them alone; we can confront pain or fear, and understand their true proportions; and it brings us closer. We begin to understand that we are all in this together — and if anything will get us through this, it is solidarity, bravery and togetherness.
For myself, trying to personally grapple with our situation is very hard, and very useful. At times I feel grief-stricken, terrified, shocked and disbelieving. I can’t stop thinking. I cry for what my children may face. I struggle to make sense of it, and am unable to sleep. But I also feel braver, clearer about my life and what I need to do, and more aware of the sweetness of every moment of life and the preciousness of all human beings. And I take heart that I get to fight; we don’t have to be passive, we can actively struggle for the best outcome we can get.
Climate emergency may also bring opportunities to rethink our world
The current situation could also bring opportunities to create a fairer, more caring and united, and less grimly productive world — even as we deal with the effects of ecological crises. The end of fossil fuel and oil power, and the unceasing focus on consumption could be good for us all. But this requires a boldness and forethought that only comes from many people having faced head-on the emergency that we are now in.
What can we do?
The first thing is to personally face the climate emergency. To really take on what is happening and what it means, to look directly at it, and allow ourselves to be affected. And then to ask ourselves ‘What does this mean for my life?’ ‘What role do I want to play?’ ‘How can I be effective and have a good life during this period?’
The next thing is to talk about the climate emergency. The lives of our children, future generations and much of life on earth depends on how we respond in the next few years, and this largely depends on how many of us are ‘awake’.
And then, move to action. How do we act in a way that is consistent with the emergency we face? How bold can we be? What is our particular part of it? How can we join the movement calling for the necessary immediate and dramatic global reduction in emissions and protection of the natural environment?
Thank you for reading. I know this isn’t easy to think about. Thank you for thinking about it.
Please share your thoughts, with me, or somebody. With thanks and appreciation to all of us as we try to do our best in responding to the situation we find ourselves in. Solidarity and love.
2019 Global Platform (Geneva, Switzerland): The Sixth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on 13-17 May, 2019.
Climate Change Centre Reading-Innovation platform at the 2019 Global Platform_ innovative approaches in disaster risk reduction
Climate Change Centre Reading has over the years
participated and been representing in several consultations and offered
professional advice. 2015 was a turning point when the global community finally
realised the dangers and threats that are upon our people’s health and good well-being.
Since 2015, ambition and inclusive are the keyword top down to local level. Why
has it not happened in British councils? The partial conclusion is that these patterns
and powers behind the New Local Plans need to be investigated, challenged and
Climate Change – Paris Agreement – The Sendai Framework, DRR in relation to all towns and cities futures, conclusion is that these patterns and powers behind them need to be investigated, challenged and dealt with;
The Public NLP Consultation does Not have a risk-impact assessment in place, these schemes will affect all local resident’s work/life balance for the next 17 years… Protection of People and Assets counties and regions etc…
Prosperity for a Healthy Economy. Looking at this globally, you might save £££ in any other cases, the point is that investing in resilience always pays, a genuine risk assessment will half the costs instead of doing it after planning approval.
Why has your municipality Not carried out a Model Risk-Impact Evaluation Plan? How does the NLP align with gov’s new 20-year environment plan? Additional policy on strengthening existing networks of habitats, taking air quality fully into account. Development within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be limited. Implications for policy on areas defined as Heritage Coast. Protection for ancient woodland and other irreplaceable habitats, by making clear that development resulting in their loss or deterioration should be wholly exceptional and maintains a high level of protection for individual aged or veteran trees found outside these areas. Balance between protecting these important natural assets, while allowing development to proceed in the very limited circumstances where it would have significant public benefits…
What is an interesting fact, with the Mayor’s knowledge local government lack of risk awareness there seem to be no interest from responsible public bodies nor parties to repair for damage done and trying to catch up for 4 years of lost time with climate damage control measures that has yet Not been implemented in the NLP local planning policy.
In the NLP consultation, the use of references in public responses and remarks to the NPPF framework is false and directly deceiving by Mayor, the Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport Committee, the and Planning Section | Directorate of Environment as the whole New Local Plan doc. is based on old planning policies, plans/strategies, documentation, sub-documentation and sustainability appraisals with references to sustainability appraisal scoping report and duty to co-operate scoping strategy – Not up-to-date.
The NLP consultation claim it is an open and transparent planning process. When it comes to decision making, for many of the residents and for a clear majority of objectors it is certainly not open and transparent. As an increase of planning objections resulting in no changes proofing the case. Your town or city is not disclosing its GHG emissions data, managing climate disaster risk impact and cutting emissions. Instead of engaging with all non-state stakeholders and together planning for a smooth urban transition the municipality’s inaction will lead to an increase in residents impacted by planning fraud causing harm.
“It is not considered that there is any reason to make amendments to the Sustainability Appraisal Framework for the purposes of undertaking this appraisal. The Framework was produced recently, in 2014, and is therefore reasonably up-to-date. The Local Plan is concerned with strategic issues and does not have a limited scope that might necessitate amending the Framework.”