Romantic Copenhagen, 2009. Enormous halls filled with the world’s great and good; thousands gathered for the COP15 Climate conference. Despite all the the talk, a resounding silence.
At the same time, my climate virginity was taken. In the large hole left by by the Copenhagen fraudsters, it dawned on many of us that there was only one group of people who were going to do anything about climate change – and that was us, the regular people, the grassroots.
The recent brutal weather has starkly illustrated that climate change – as expected – is among us. But while torrents of water and wind sluice our homes and countryside I remembered what I thought about at the end of the Copenhagen conference: about 60s author Alice Walker who, writing about her work in the civil rights movement wrote: “struggle is joy”. What Walker meant was that in the face of this huge threat around us, taking action is where strength, optimism, satisfaction and purpose can be found.
What can you do about the increasing agitation of the skies and airs around us? Some ideas from the various frontlines of the climate battle:
1/ Invest in renewables. Brighton Energy Coop is a good one (you can join us here), but there are other opportunities out there too. Renewable energy has the potential – as it is doing in Germany – to shut down the dirty industries that are driving climate change. Solar is now cheaper than fossil fuels – without subsidy – in Spain, Italy, Greece, Israel, and many other countries. 40% of Scottish energy now comes from renewables.
2/ Oppose new forms of fossil fuel extraction, particularly fracking. The leaky wells of the fracking industry produce more climate-bending methane than conventional extraction. Here, community action is scoring some spectacular successes. Keep an eye on the share prices of Cuadrilla owner AJ Lucas and beleagured Scot’s fracker Dart Energy, both of whom have been thwarted by community efforts to keep their homes frack free.
3/ Get your pension out of fossil fuels. There a conception that the wealth of the world is owned by cigar chomping captains of industry. In fact – while the ranks of billionaires certainly control unfeasible amounts of money – the largest two holders of money in the world are pension funds and insurance companies.
It’s worth finding what their investments are . Because if they are invested in fossil fuels, it’s increasingly obvious – as Carbon Tracker point out – that this stuff cannot be burned. As such your pension cash is at risk of being put into what’s called a ‘stranded asset‘ – an investment that will never be realiseable.
We all know the scientific evidence around climate change. Now we see the reality of that in this crazy weather. There’s only one way to deal with climate change: take action.