Science vs Politics

January 25th, 2020

Sandpainting in response to the bushfires, by ‘Edward’, at Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia

So, at the beginning of this week, I focussed on the majority of people in the UK who seem to be ignoring the climate crisis….that perception was confirmed when I happened (not sure how!) to watch a bit of ‘8 out of 10 cats’ on tv – the main topics of the week on people’s radar were Meghxit (‘Meghan & Harry’ leaving….?) and Love Island… That made me quite depressed, you can imagine.

But now, weirdly, I’ve been able to find a positive twist…! My faith in ‘the royals’ may be emerging….a route to engage more people with the climate crisis, possibly?…

Prince Charles made a great speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos on Wednesday. He argued that taxes, regulations and policies could (should, surely?) all be changed in a drive to reverse environmentally damaging subsidies such as assistance for the fossil fuel industry.

He said: “In order to secure our future and prosper, we need to evolve our economic model –  do we want to be the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink?”

Glorious, persistent Greta Thunberg spoke too.

President Trump made a contrasting self-congratulatory speech, of course, singing the praises of the USA’s economy and pouring scorn on environmentalists panicking for no good reason (what…?).

He actually said ‘what they are telling us means we will just not be able to live life’ – well, yes, Trump, you won’t be able to continue living your selfish, greedy life, that’s what we’re saying!

I’ve written to Prince Charles, by the way (maybe Harry & Meghan can be ‘influencers’ for the Sustainable Markets Initiative and Council – ‘virtually’ of course, without too much air travel between countries…).

And his advocating of a new economic model is echoed by good news re-tweeted by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party – the EU has expressed the importance of the ‘Sustainable Economy We Need’: “a new vision of prosperity for people & planet based on principles of environmental sustainability, the right to a decent life and the protection of social values”

I hope Roger Harrabin won’t mind me quoting him, so pertinent (and hopeful…I hope!): “The timing of President Trump’s ‘don’t panic’ message is intriguing. He’s reassuring the Davos rich club about the climate just as the pillars of capitalism are themselves starting to treat global warming as a crisis.

“The leading bank Goldman Sachs will no longer fund new investments in Arctic oil or in coal for power stations. And (as I noted last week!) the boss of investment giant BlackRock has defined climate change as the biggest threat to markets, as rising temperatures put profits at risk…..

“… Trump – astride an American economy fuelled by cheap gas – thinks they are wrong. And he’s not alone. Leaders in Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia also cling to economies driven by fossil fuels.

“It’s politics vs science: the battle of our age.”

It’s particularly important now to write to all our MPs. Since the general election, it feels as if the Conservative ones (including mine!) are beginning to feel comfortably at a distance from their more challenging constituents (including me…), protected by their safe majority…..

The climate emergency should not be reduced to a political matter – it affects all of us; and we need the help of all MPs to ensure the UK is on track for zero carbon emissions, as early as possible!

A little aside for the people I know involved in the ‘motor trade’ – your MP should be questioned closely about what help will be available for these small businesses, during the transition away from petrol and diesel cars…..

If you need a little audio ‘lift’, check out Patti Smith’s song ‘People have the Power’, particularly when she performed it with ‘Choir, Choir, Choir’. Use your voice to turn the world around!

And now, a thought or two about the issue of reducing the amount of flying, in the aftermath of aviation company Flybe getting propped up by our government (such commitment to reducing emissions…?!). Yes, Matt Hancock, connectivity is important, but not at the expense of the planet – take the train… Or even better, as Adrian Chiles in The Guardian suggests, make contact remotely. Undoubtedly, ‘planes, trains and cars are loaded up every day with people making unnecessary journeys’. Video-conferencing needs to be the norm, as was promised 20 years ago… Of course it’s not the same as meeting people personally.

“But nothing can be the same now; we just have to change” Well said!

Finally, the Hunter Foundation is offering secondary school pupils across Scotland with a passion for the environment the chance to win a table for their school at a charity dinner. The charity event will be held on February 18th, with David Attenborough as the guest speaker. Competition sponsors Zero Waste Scotland said: “The world needs fresh ideas for ways we can change our lifestyle”. Good luck to all those forward-looking, positive young people.

One thought on “Science vs Politics

  1. I was impressed by Prince Charles speech, maybe he can show the world the leadership we so desperately need, since our politicians still seem to be driven by something else. I have received formulaic, slightly patronizing responses to my first round of letters but I will not give up and I know there are others like me now, also writing letters, change will come we just have to keep going.
    Flying, I look back with horror at my own carbon footprint, there is a little part of me that misses that casual travel but I could never do that again. I do miss those trips to Europe I doubt I will ever fly again, although I leave open the possibility that there may be a circumstance where it is possible. Slow travel seems a much more adventurous and rewarding option.
    Video conferencing is great and easy to use. We use zoom at work and seriously it is like you are all in the same room even thought you are spread across the campus or the state.
    It is a time saver and aid to productivity so all businesses should be keen to go down that path. Thank you for the on going inspiration.


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