In October, when the world’s leaders meet at COP26 in Glasgow, it will be the last chance for this generation to fix the climate and prove ourselves, at the last ditch, to be “good ancestors”. The world in which our children and their children will live has two possible futures: either runaway climate change with ever-increasing incidents of floodings, fires, disrupted food chains and mass population displacement; or a future in which we successfully limit global climate change.
We have wasted the last 30 years denying climate change and delaying the necessary response. Now, to achieve a future in which people can live, we must immediately intensify and accelerate carbon reduction, which means we all have to make adjustments to how we live our lives. Despite what many politicians say, a “business as usual” future is no longer possible – take that route and it leads directly to runaway climate change.
The modifications needed are not that tough, many people are already living happy and fulfilling low-carbon lives. We all know what’s needed - eat less meat and dairy, fly less, drive less, buy fewer new clothes. Now’s the time to stop thinking “I ought to do that” and actually do it!
Road transport is a major contributor to the climate problem. If you own a car, use it less. If you don’t use your car much, save money by ditching it completely and join a car club instead. Have you tried an e-bike? They make every journey a doddle: hills, heavy shopping – not a problem. And, now, with so many protected cycle lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods you can find a safe route to most places.
And don’t just make these changes, but talk about why you are doing them. Let your friends, family and neighbours know that this matters to you, that it is important and urgent, that you care about the world we are leaving for the next generation. There is very little time left, but it is still possible. We can do it.