10th December 2019
In October 2019, the Guardian newspaper — one of the world’s most respected media organisations, stated that: “We believe that the escalating climate crisis is the defining issue of our lifetimes and that the planet is in the grip of an emergency.”
The Guardian were right to use this language, climate change is both the defining issue of our lifetimes and also the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced as a species. The time left to tackle this crisis is dwindling. The leading global panel on climate change — the IPCC said we have 11 years to tackle the climate crisis. But the IPCC’s forecasts are always conservative and the rate at which the climate is changing is far outpacing their predictions.
This leaves us with a major issue in that in the UK, as each sitting government can rule for five years before they are required to call an election. Five years could be all the time we have left to bring about the drastic and rapid changes we need to avoid climate and ecological breakdown. Indeed, a number of prominent climate scientists have written a commentary piece for the journal Nature, pointing out that we’re in a state of planetary emergency and that we have either exceeded or are very close to surpassing a number of tipping points.
Writing in the journal Bioscience, 11,000 climate scientists stated, “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity…These climate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.”
Under the 2015 Paris deal, countries made a pledge to limit a global rise in temperatures to 2C or 1.5C if possible. However, to achieve the 1.5C target, essential for limiting the risk of surpassing a cascade of tipping points, countries will need to reduce emissions by 7.6% each year until 2030, according to the UN. As climate pledges currently stand, we’re on course for 3–4C of warming. This would be catastrophic.
Yet Brexit is billed as the focus of this election. If we allow this Tory government another five years in office, we will overshoot our chance of preventing climate chaos as this party doesn’t grasp the magnitude of the crisis in front of their eyes. Other reasons to put your cross elsewhere on the ballot paper, include the Conservatives record on a number of other key issues including:
· Getting rid of 21,000 police officers over the last decade. Boris has now pledged an extra 20,000 police officers, so we’ll only be 1,000 short.
· Pushing the NHS to breaking point. Now allegations have arisen that Boris Johnson is pushing for a no deal Brexit, as that will make it easier for him to sell off large parts of the NHS to the US and Trump.
· Holding a completely unnecessary referendum on Brexit, that has divided the country in half and cost hundreds of millions in taxpayer’s money. Donald Tusk recently said that Brexit is one of the most spectacular mistakes in EU history.
· Increased use of foodbanks and rise in extreme poverty. According to the Guardian, “One in 50 UK households used a food bank in 2018–19, the study estimated, while at least 3m food parcels were given out — highlighting the rise in charity welfare and the impact of austerity cuts since the start of the decade, when only a small number of food banks existed.”
· Closing down of key community infrastructure such as libraries. Thanks to the Conservatives austerity programme, around 800 libraries have been closed down since 2010. A government that doesn’t understand the importance of books is one that doesn’t deserve the right to lead a country.
There are people who can’t stomach voting for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party, and I’m not surprised. My suggestion is to vote tactically to get the Tories out of power. There are several parties to choose from that are neither Tory nor Labour, depending on where you live. There are also sites like Remain United, set up by Gina Miller that explain how to vote tactically to remove the Tories from power on Thursday 12th December.
Writing in the Guardian, George Monbiot mentions that, “Only the Greens have really grasped what it means to democratise our relationship with the living world.” I believe he is correct and that’s why I’ll be voting for the Green Party. His article also provides a great analysis of each party’s climate and ecological pledges — you can read it in full here.
My hope is that people will do all in their power to stop a Conservative majority, which may condemn us to climate chaos, not to mention the breakdown of many other key pillars of our society.
My debut children’s picture book, Hedgey-A and the Honey Bees, is about the need to protect bees from pesticide pollution. It can be purchased online here.