"We may not have all the answers, but we are hopeful"
George's top five things that need to change
Clairefrom Cambridgeshire this asks:
What are the top five things that need to be changed urgently to make a difference? in politics, regulation, how money flows, in industry, agriculture … etc. and in which period?
1. Adjust GDP as a measure of our well-being and replace it with indicators whose optimization does not require mass destruction.
2. Leave fossil fuels in the ground within 5 years and use a crash program that resembles the US's major turnaround to World War II to replace it with low-carbon alternatives.
3. Introduction of a moratorium on new infrastructure based on fossil fuels.
4. Modify farm subsidies to incentivize retirement and the transformation of unproductive land while encouraging a change to a plant-based diet.
5. Change in the presumption of use of the seas: Commercial fishing and other extractive activities should be allowed only under a special permit to be granted in exceptional circumstances.
reader Harriet34 in Devon says:
I think the school strikes are really inspiring. As adults, however, we seem to be leaning back and allowing the students to fight for us. Would not more pressure on government policy be exercised if, for example, the teachers themselves went on strike? How can we mobilize the adult population that is currently not ready to face the reality of climate change?
Yes, I think there is much to say about adult strikes in this area. As long as we have made it clear that we are following the young climate-strikers and not trying to make the movement us. They are the leaders now, we are the followers. If you want our help, we should be ready to provide it.
Hugh, 28, a reader in New Zealand, says:
I feel powerless against climate change. I do everything I can, but in the end I know that these actions do not make a big difference from person to person. What can I actually do to change pollution, destruction or consumerism on an industrial scale, which is the main cause?
As a consumer, you can make no significant difference, except in two areas: switching to plant-based nutrition and changing your travel patterns (especially reducing / turning off flights and cycling / walking / driving instead of driving). In these two areas you can make a big difference. However, you will pay very little attention to finding a better cookie or cotton swab.
As a citizen, however, you can make a big difference in all areas. Our struggles are primarily political, but we believe we can win them by changing our buying choices. The media has gone to great lengths to convince us that we are consumers rather than citizens. Do not fall for it. Get political.
reader Janette Ward asks a question regarding some of Georges' recently published writings on cars:
How can we force the government to stop building roads and invest in public transport? How can we change the car culture as a status symbol and make sure that people travel by public transport if possible?
This is a crucial point, especially as transport in rich countries like ours has become the main source of greenhouse gas emissions. Last week, within a decade, I demanded a 90% reduction in car consumption.
This may sound extreme, but it seems to me to correspond to the magnitude of the numerous crises that cause cars: climate collapse, air pollution, resource use, use of space, dominance of city life, etc. In every sense there are a number of steps such process: think say it, debate, make campaign, change the system. There are already many great organizations that are committed to these issues. Join them.