“I had been writing about Climate Change with a generalised anxiety since 1980 – but, like many anti-poverty activists, I considered it ‘an environmental issue’ of secondary importance to ‘people-issues’. Only this year did I realise that it will soon be the cause of terrible human suffering, greater than all the usual poverty-inducing systems (trade, debt, aid) put together. And now there is a new twist: a process of ‘solar dimming’ may have masked the true ferocity of global warming. By 2030, we could have warmed the earth enough to release sheets of undersea methane – the beginning of the end. The nearness of the new deadline takes my breath away.
We have a grandchild, Zoe, aged three. Her name means ‘life’. But in 2030, aged 28, how could she bring new life into the world we are bequeathing her? What is the responsibility of us 20th century citizens to those born in the 21st century? Will there be children in 2050?
I pursued the new research with NGO and media colleagues specialising in poverty-related climate change, who reinforced my worst fears. Earlier this month, New Scientist confirmed the urgency of ‘awakening the sleeping giants’ (like undersea methane). A visit to Sri Lanka, helping tsunami relief, brought home the painful recognition that the heart-wrenching human suffering I was witnessing could be as nothing compared to the havoc soon to come.
We need to begin with a ‘Desiderata’-like statement, laying out in empathetic terms the case for personal commitments to responsible carbon reduction. The mega-blog is designed to attract a wide range of contributors discussing in accessible language the changes they, as ordinary householders, are trying out. Billions of dollars of advertisements have created a cultural climate giving us false permissions that tell us it is absolutely fine to fly and drive constantly – indeed, that raising our status depends on it. The blogs will, through their mosaic of voices, reveal new lifestyles that lack these carbon-spitting status symbols but are yet desirable and satisfying - and which invite easy copying or adaptation. Positive results will be fed back to provide self-efficacy. The blogs can be hosted on OneWorld – the world’s leading global justice portal – to access the size of audience it needs. “