Latest IPCC report out. And it’s bleak.

IPCC 2013 report The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released their latest and updated report about climate change yesterday.  Admittedly I haven’t read much in detail, having just skimmed over the headline and summary documents, but I find it bleak reading.

The primary take-out, and one which every climate change justice group worth it’s salt is talking about, is that it is “now 95 percent likely that human spewed heat-trapping gases — rather than natural variability — are the main cause of climate change.” (quote via: The Atlantic). I’m sure the climate change skeptics out there are fuming at this statement and trying desperately to discount this news and confuse the public as they’re so good at doing, but here’s a brilliant excerpt from the Climate Reality Project that I find completely indisputable. Continue reading →

Photographic proof of our impact on our earth

NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, Time and Google have just released some amazing images showing the changes we’ve made to our plant since NASA started taking pictures of our planet via their Landsat program in 1984.

It’s startling. Amazing. Beautiful. And horrifying. All at once.

You can see the Amazon rainforests disappearing, glaciers retreating, gaping holes that are the tar sands growing exponentially. In the video, they talk about the ‘progress’ of human development – like new ‘land’ in the Dubai seas, and agriculture in the Middle East – but I’d prefer to call it further destruction.  As the article on Good.is puts it: “The takeaway is that we now have a tool to see up close just how devastating the effects of climate change are. And with that information, hopefully it will encourage us all to be stewards of change whether in our own backyards—on the micro level—or on a larger, macro level.”

Read more about it and see the animated gifs on http://world.time.com/timelapse/

An epiphany about change

I had a small epiphany yesterday. It wasn’t particularly positive however. Here it is:

People only change
when shit gets real. *

The issue of change (particularly in relation to sustainable living and climate change) is not a new topic – there are many books, articles, and thoughts out there about the best way to influence others or how to be an effective “change agent” and so on. It’s something I often think about and this little epiphany came to me when I was thinking about the pervasive resistance to change that is prevalent in most us.

Here’s the thing: in general, I believe that the average person has to be directly affected by something in order to make a change in their current thinking or behaviour.

  • Think about the people who only start going to gym after they’ve put on 10 kilos.
  • Or those that start a new healthier diet after their doctor tells them they’re about to have a heart attack.
  • The person who signs up for hospital insurance after being in a car accident.
  • Or those who start wearing sunscreen only after they’ve had a pre-cancerous mole removed.
  • And the people who stop drinking and driving only after they end up sending a night in jail.

You can see where I’m going with this…

change

People have to be forced into change. It’s a do or die (sometimes) situation. The shit has to hit the fan before we notice it and start to do anything about it.

This is why, I believe, that living a more sustainable life, making different choices about what you consume (food & products), using fewer resources etc is not mainstream. There is no immediate impending threat to most people. And so, the pressure is not on to make any change.

This little epiphany isn’t rocket science – most of us know this fact already – but I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of sustainable living before. I have always thought that it was about people not thinking, not knowing or not questioning their choices and actions, and that if they were just ‘enlightened’ they’d automatically change their minds and thereafter, their behaviours.

Maybe I’m just slow to come to this realisation, and probably because it’s a super depressing one – well, for me anyway. Because it means that the average Joe is not going to do anything anytime soon to lessen his impact on the world.

And where’s the hope in that?

* To qualify this, by “people” I mean the everyday person who happily continues in their little bubble of life, not thinking or worrying about anything other than their immediate concerns. The ‘average’ Joe. The majority of society (in my opinion, anyway).
When I refer to “change”, I am talking about behavioural change in terms of being aware of your impact on society at large and the planet in general. 

George Monbiot sums it up.

George Monbiot’s latest post entitled “Forbidden Planet” sums up just exactly why the issue of climate change never seems to get the political attention that we wish it would. It’s not like we don’t know this stuff, but he just manages to articulate it so succinctly. The first sentence pulls no punches: “We cannot restrain climate change without a political fight against plutocracy.”

Please please please make sure you go and read it!

It’s a massively huge problem worldwide, and it’s one of the main reasons that I often feel so overwhelmed and depressed about the situation – without real politcal and economic changes and a scrapping of ‘business-as-usual’, we’re destined to leave future generations of all species in an increasingly miserable place – and for what? So a few people can be wealthy? It’s just not right.

 

PS: follow George on Twitter – he’s always posting great stuff.

Connect the dots

Ctd-logo-en

This Saturday (5th May) sees another day of climate action from 350.org. They’re calling it “Connect the dots”, and as they put it, they want “to put a human face on climate change” with the use of dots – hundreds (or hopefully thousands!) of photos and videos of people holding dots in areas that have already experienced, or are at risk of, climate change.

It’s a subtle, but clever campaign. There are already hundreds of examples of the impacts of climate change around our world, but people don’t seem to see that it’s all connected. Hence the idea to ‘Connect the Dots’.

After the day of action, the team at 350.org plans to use all the footage they receive from around the world to create a potent call to action, and will “then channel that call directly to the people who need to hear it most.” Hopefully that means the politicians and fossil fuel industry!

Want to get involved? There are events planned all over the world and you can sign up here: www.climatedots.org

In terms of activities in South Africa specifically, if you’re in Cape Town, you can:

If you’re in Durban, you have the option of:

Gauteng-dwellers can get involved in:

Elsewhere in the country:

If you’re planning to attend any of these, or simply to hold up your own dot to raise awareness, please let me know in the comments and feel free to send me pics which I will send on to the 350.org SA team for you.

COP17 Global Day of Climate Action March – photos

The Gobal Day of Climate Action was celebrated here in Durban with a huge march though the city centre, past the ICC where the COP17 UN Climate Change talks are being held, and through to the main Durban beachfront. It was an incredible sight with thousands of people from various different groups all marching, singing, dancing and chanting about the climate crisis. It was truly inspiring! I took hundreds of photos, but here are just a few to give you a taste of the fun!

I’m going to be on TV!!!

Friday morning saw me head off to Planet Image Productions in Johannesburg to be interviewed along with artists C.9ine, for the Good MorningAfrica television show, which is broadcast on the Africa Magic Channel on DSTV right across Africa – to some 150 million viewers – in order to promote 350’s “People Power” song.

Gma

Having never done a television interview this was both exciting and nerve-wracking, but I think I managed to pull it off!

The South African group, C.9ine, is busy working on a remix of 350’s “Power People” song and we were to be interviewed together – C.9ine talking about their remix and myself acting as a representative of 350 and my interview. For various reasons, I ended up doing a separate interview to C.9ine, which gave me some extra space to talk more about climate change and why we all – rich and poor; urban and rural – need to concern ourselves with the climate crisis.

I hope the interview will come out well, and that once the full segment is put together, with both the 350 views on climate change and C.9ines views on how music aids spreading the message, we’ll end up with a great story.

I’ll be sure to share the details as to when the show will air just as soon as I get them!