I’ve recently started attending Monday night Meetings at the Birmingham FOE Warehouse although I’ve been paid up member for at least 10 years. The one thing that’s prised me off the sofa is you guessed it , Climate Change, and whilst I’m aware that BFOE gets involved with a number of other good (and related) causes, local Railway lines , Bus lanes , recycling to name a few this is the subject that most motivates me.

In the wake of last year’s Stern Report on the economics of climate change and the more recent IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) scientific analysis of how far gone we are, it appears that denial is no longer an option for all but the most hardened Climate Change refuseniks, they won’t act till the Thames is lapping up to the Houses of Parliament .

But by then it’ll be too late !

There seem to be 2 divergent views of the world . One you can see anytime you watch a holiday program with its globe trotting presenters happily describing the latest fantastic secluded beach or resort. No mention of what we’re doing to the planet with our lifestyles , it’s business as usual. Contrast this with the future as seen by author James Lovelock where by the end of century (with a 6.4C deg rise in temperature) he envisages the end of Life on Earth outside the polar regions !

The Stern report which says that action to prevent Climate Change is far cheaper than remedial action post change destroys the Bush argument for refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol on economic grounds ; doing nothing will hurt far more ! The IPCC report’s similarly uncompromising findings leave little room for complacency .

Yet it seems to me that if people and government have the will humanity can change its ways . New technologies, recycling, energy-saving measures, insulation, efficiency, Councils and Governments leading by example and providing stick and carrot incentives to both the individual and companies. Green politics are now more mainstream than they have ever been and Greenies are no longer considered eccentric . If the will is there things can change , a good example of this being the way ecomomies transform themselves at time of war . But the will has to be there !

On an individual level some things are comparitively easy. Walk more or use the bike, turn things off when they’re not in use, switch to a Green Energy provider (but a genuine one !!) , insulate your home, try wearing a jumper if you’re cold. Perhaps harder for us to countenance consider holidaying without flying, change an old boiler for a more efficient system, use the car less !

On the broader level bringing about change is probably harder , pressuring the Council, Government and Industry for change ! This is fairly new to me and I confess I find it daunting but I think it’s a challenge worth facing !

Andy Welch