Staying positive in a time of climate emergency
The IPCC climate report on Monday (9th August) provided a stark wake-up call for humanity. The window for action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and limit global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is rapidly closing. This grim outlook has made for difficult reading, and immediate reactions range from sadness, to anger and despair. It can be hard to remain optimistic, but the crucial thing to remember is that time has not yet run out, and it is still possible to prevent the worst effects of global heating.
We asked three Eunomians – Debbie Fletcher, Head of Operations and Principal Consultant, Sophie Mullins, Bid Support Manager, and Dimitris Mathioudakis, Junior Consultant – for their reactions to the IPCC report and how they stay positive in a time of climate emergency.
What was your reaction to the findings of the IPCC report?
DF: When listening to coverage of the report on the radio earlier this week I cried. But now having read the report I see that it’s infinitely achievable to do what we need to do. We just need to get on with it – fast.
SM: I don’t think the IPCC report could have come at a better time. People are becoming more aware than ever of the current emergency we are facing, while the impacts of extreme weather are creeping ever closer to people’s homes, from extreme flooding in the UK to forest fires in Greece. The media reaction was incredible and vast, but it hasn’t been sustained – climate should be on the front page of every news website every day.
DM: The IPCC report came during a period where Greece has been hit strongly by some of the most devastating wildfires, which so far destroyed more than 2,500 square miles of forests. The association between those two facts is undeniable, making it clear that the climate crisis is here and events like the wildfires or other extreme events need to act as a call for action that will lead to deep systemic changes.
What keeps you positive about climate action?
DF: What keeps me positive – the work I’ve done recently in the community where I see so many people pushing for rapid change; changing themselves, changing businesses, changing government. I see it in all ages and all backgrounds, all with the same common agenda of wanting to save what’s around us.
SM: I remain positive about climate action as it is our only choice; to not hope and aim for better would lead to even more extremes. Climate action should use a positive collaborative approach and shouldn’t discriminate by including everyone who is interested. However, support from governments and decision makers will be crucial to me remaining positive in future!
DM: The Paris Agreement was the first time that humanity reached a global agreement to limit global temperature increases. This combined with specific and measurable local, national and international mitigation measures could increase our chances of addressing climate change in an effective, socially just and inclusive way.
What changes have you made to reduce your environmental impact?
DF: I finally installed solar panels on my house on Monday! I’ve also cut back my meat consumption to max once a week.
SM: As a previous lover of fast fashion and someone who needed a new dress for every party, I have since discovered the wonders of second-hand. I get so much joy when people ask where things are from and I can say the item has had a previous life. It’s made my wardrobe varied and much more exciting to choose an outfit from in the morning!
DM: It is my opinion that, apart from making specific changes in our everyday life (which is of course extremely important), the most effective way of reducing our environmental impact is developing a mindset in which we assess everything we do and every decision we make, consider its environmental impact and try to make smart adaptations that could achieve maximum results.
Featured image: (From left to right) Debbie Fletcher, Sophie Mullins and Dimitris Mathioudakis