Politicians Hold the Key to Global Warming
2019 was a year in which we really began to see what the environment can do if you prod it hard enough, and we’ve been prodding it for decades. We have seen massive fires in many countries, flooding on a grand scale and droughts of Biblical proportions. Even as I write, large parts of Australia have become an inferno that is still showing no signs of being brought under control.
Most of us have at least a rudimentary idea of what lies behind this global weather change phenomenon. Like flat earthers, there are still a few hardy climate change deniers hanging in there by their fingertips but the majority now concede that change needs to be made on a massive scale. The problem is, we then we do very little to bring about that change, and certainly nothing massive.
What is needed is a transformation in thinking and that needs to come from the top of the human pyramid. Politicians are better informed than most of us and they are in the driving seat yet they remain reluctant to make substantive change.
The reason is that much of the change needed is going to hurt in the short term and politicians are very sensitive to short term pain. They prefer to kick the can down the road and leave it to the next administration.
At the moment that momentum from the political quarter is sorely lacking in anything more tangible than lip service. Whilst I doubt that the current Australian Prime Minister will be able to survive in office after breezing off to Hawaii while his countrymen burned, I also doubt that he will be replaced by a politician with a truly green agenda. In many ways that is what lies at the crux of the environmental catastrophe we face. We all appreciate the problem but not quite enough to bring about the dramatic political revolution that is needed to stop it. Eating less meat, cycling instead of driving and responsible shopping are laudable and important steps but we need a tidal wave of action and we need it now.
The UK, despite being directly affected by widescale flooding last year, still barely supported their Green Party members in their recent elections; certainly not enough to cause a ripple of change, let alone bring about a revolution. The electorate was far more focused on short term interests than they were on the bigger picture that environmental change looks set to become. Lest the Brits feel I am picking on them, this is pretty much the way most modern democracies are prioritizing their votes at the moment.
It is all very well to berate politicians for their lack of leadership in this area, but if we don’t force their hand at the ballot box, you can be sure that they will continue to respond to big business interests rather than our minor cries.
Groups such as Extinction Rebellion and individuals like Greta Thunberg have shown us that we do have a voice but that needs to be backed up by deliberate voting on our part.
The current wave of politicians is all too adept at telling us what we want to hear and then making only the most minor of concessions in that regard. This means it is down to us and to pretend otherwise is foolhardy. We need to bring about change to the current political agenda or change our politicians. If we continue to allow them to buy us off with vague promises and greenwashing we are doomed to see ever-increasing environmental degradation when we are already on the brink of crossing a point of no return.
Technology and science will play a vital role in any improvements that are going to take place. Governments the world over need to move funding from their oil and fossil fuel buddies and pump it towards green solutions to a problem that is so much bigger than any other issues we may think are important. Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg did an excellent job of highlighting the green agenda in 2019. In 2020 it is up to all of us to step up to the plate, and that starts with applying pressure to the political elite in any way possible.