This post is by Rhian Ebrey. It is based on her research as a masters student at the University of Leeds.
I think that, writing this following the biggest global climate strike ever, it’s safe to say I’m not alone in feeling a growing dread with each successive IPCC report predicting the urgency of the global climate crisis. And yet, this urgency does not appear to be shared by everyone. I feel helpless and frustrated as world leaders appear hesitant to commit to the necessary changes needed to save our future and the planet. But the growing awareness of shared alarm and frustration, embodied through Greta Thunberg’s refreshingly direct speech at the UN’s COP24 climate conference last year, has sparked a social revolution, with prominent grassroots movements, including Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Strikes, growing around the world.
“We are facing an unprecedented global emergency… we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.”
“Our house is on fire…. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
“Winning slowly is the same as losing.”
“To pursue never-ending economic growth – or even to keep things ticking along as they are – is to gamble with the fate of humanity. We need nothing short of a transformation of the way we live our lives.”
Statements like these, from Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, Bill McKibben and Caroline Lucas, might once have been dismissed as scaremongering. Increasingly, as the evidence of climate and ecological breakdown piles up, they are being heard as the sober truth. Read more
This post is by Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the PSHE Association.
Now that the changing of the seasons is unreliable, the school year seems reassuringly predictable. In September, whatever the weather, four and five-year olds across the country will bustle into schools and start their trip through the curriculum. Read more
In case you haven’t heard, the UK is in a political crisis. Parliament has come to a Brexit standstill, and any resolution will be fraught with unrest. Recent polling from the Hansard Society found that public faith in the political system is at a low, with feelings of powerlessness rife.
British environmental politics has not escaped this quagmire. Key pieces of legislation that were once sources of optimism for a green Brexit are frustratingly stuck in unsatisfactory form in their progression through parliament. To salvage her legacy, Theresa May could legislate for the CCC’s net-zero target, but that would require the cabinet consent that she has found so elusive during her tenure. Read more
In her Mansion House speech in March 2017 the prime minister said “As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage”. But her speech yesterday appears to ignore the government’s commitments to improve and not just maintain standards.
On the face of it the commitment that “there will be no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU” should be reassuring as the government has repeatedly said that standards will not be weakened by Brexit. But no change infers no improvement which, when facing an environmental crisis, seems very wide of the mark. Read more
It’s hard to ignore the findings and recommendations of the hard-hitting global assessment of nature led by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Its stark finding is that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. Read more
We asked individuals from environmental and social justice groups, politics, academia, businesses and young people to tell us what they think it might mean for the UK. This is the last in our series of posts featuring their replies. Read more
We asked individuals from environmental and social justice groups, politics, academia, businesses, and young people to tell us what they think the Green New Deal might mean for the UK. This is the fourth in a series of blogs in which we feature their responses. Read more
We asked individuals from environmental and social justice groups, politics, academia, businesses, and young people to tell us what they think the Green New Deal might mean for the UK. This is the second in a series of blogs in which we feature their responses. Read more
The run-up to Brexit has felt like Hemingway’s description of going bankrupt: gradually, then suddenly. Months of slow, confused politics: Theresa May surviving the most important week of her career, until the next one; unmeaningful votes passing or failing and not having much effect either way; opposition that is never quite clear what it is opposing. All this has now led us to a point just over twenty days from Brexit and, despite, or perhaps because of, the recent moves, in the new Independent Group and Labour’s support for another public vote, Westminster remains in chaos. Read more