This has been a fairly difficult one to write. To understand and appreciate the value in the actions that could improve the health of the species that live on this planet, making us more resilient and happier, we need to understand a few things. Firstly, the necessity. I hope we have that one down. Secondly, the obstacles to our collective action.
This week, I recapped on Greta Thunberg’s speeches, compiled in the book No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, ranging from September 2018 to April 2019. Her speeches are stark, but as they begin in 2018 they are matter of fact, distilled. By 2019, they carry the bitterness that comes from spending your time getting mocked, harrassed, infantilised and worshipped by the very people who perhaps should be bearing a few more responsibilities than a sixteen year-old should. Politicians, the press, industries and corporations, all proud of how they got where they are today, but all apparently unable to be as dogged and inspiring when it comes to things that don’t pay their salary. Clearly we must make matters effect their pocket for anything to come about – eggs must be broken and all that.
‘In Sweden, we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our carbon footprint is one of the ten worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year. Those of us who are a part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that.‘
We know we have to cut our emissions to zero. ‘We already have all of the facts and the solutions’, we have the whole world in our hands, after all?
This list contains some of the conditions how, and the reasons why, we should do this, based on Thunberg’s speeches, and some of the principles included in XR’s handbook, This Is Not A Drill. It’s almost a poem.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Now.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) As soon as possible. Delaying is one thing, procrastination is another. Getting guilty because we haven’t done it already is not a game when playing with power.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Quickly, so that countries without necessary infrastructure to keep a society healthy, can develop it. They have not contributed anywhere near as much as those in ‘developed’ countries have to global emissions, and without this consideration, without this grace, they will do exactly what we did hundreds of years ago. There will be no peace without justice, and there will be no justice without peace.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Even if it won’t stop a rise in temperature. Every kilogram of carbon not burnt will reduce warming. Every acre of land managed in line with indigenous and native practices will produce more food for longer. Every species of organism living in balance with another will keep the ecosystem stable. Every piece of our stubborn resilience and genius resourcefulness will help our children.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Even though it ‘hurts’ our economy. If an economy is something that can only grow, whilst not helping those who live within it to live, then it is not worth the investment.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Even though things are already bad. We have no human right to be miserable, but food and water? Are we going to let people take away our lives because they didn’t care enough to keep them? Giving up is not an option.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Because we want to help each other. Our emissions will fall to zero, whether by disaster or by choice. What we can do is choose to save our lives, and choose to improve them too.
- (we have to cut our emissions to zero) Because this life is awful for the most of us. Any promised solution that lets us keep living lonely, unhealthy, disrespectful and cruel lives isn’t a solution, its manipulation. Our saviours have been false but our actions are ours.
Other projects for #100DaysOfGreenNevis include some fantastic and witty musical suggestions for reducing personal impact from cellist Joanna Stark, (including Amsterdam’s model of a circular, rather than the ever-growing economy, on an off day, which has been very useful for me!) and oboist Olivia Tomasović in her improvisations and compositions on aspects of the crises unfurling now, chiefly endangered species nearing extinction. I highly recommend you check them out, along with the other campaigns, by searching for #100DaysOfGreenNevis on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you for bearing with this – as always, do get in touch if I’ve raised anything you’d like to talk about. Next week’s should be a bit more transformative, I hope.