When I was a child, I was fascinated by Animals who had adapted to their environment, evolving slowly, over many years.
All organisms have adaptations that help them survive and thrive. Some adaptations are structural, like the hump on a camel or the white fur on a polar bear. Other adaptations are behavioral like the nightingale, who migrates to survive cold winters and hot summers.
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C that makes it clear that we are now on course for Climate Catastrophe; where animals, plants and humans are unable to adapt quickly enough to global heating and therefore enter into mass extinction.
Unless we can make radical change, on an unprecedented scale and within a very tight window, we are toast. The IPCC report says:
“Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disastrous levels of global warming,
Historically a large number of ancient mass extinction events have been strongly linked to global climate change. But because current human-induced climate change is so rapid, the way species typically adapt (eg – migration) is, in most cases, simply not be possible. Global change is simply too pervasive and occurring too rapidly.
The IPCC storyline scenarios such as A1FI and A2 imply a rate of warming of 0.2 to 0.6°C per decade. By comparison, the average change from 15 to 7 thousand years ago was ~0.005°C per decade.
We have already tragically lost 60% of nature in my lifetime.
Humans may feel abstracted from nature in our concrete towns and cities. But we are totally dependent on the delicate web of ecosystems: Humans rely on natural ecosystems to provide many ‘ecosystem services’- such as pollination of crops, and cleaning air and water. Humans also rely on ecosystems to provide them with fertile soil, mineral nutrients, fish and game.
As an individual I have found that I have being slowly adapting, and more intensely over the last 5 years. I downsized to a bed sit, I removed a concrete patio in my shared garden, opening up the earth to plant climbers up the walls, fruit trees, shrubs and vegetables.
I shop nearly all locally sourced food and plastic free. I only buy new when there are no alternatives in 2nd hand.
I changed my lights to LED. My kettle to electric. I have decided not to fly.
I have invested in 2nd hand wool heritage jumpers, trousers and socks, so I can keep heating to a minimum. I swim and wash at the Lido.
I bought a bike and cycle and walk even more than I did before. I have never owned a car but I also now avoid taking taxis. I have been cutting down on meat. I am nearly vegetarian and on a pathway to nearly vegan.
But possibly my biggest adaptation has been to get very actively political. Putting my life on hold to dedicate myself to campaigning. When I started banprivatecarsinlondon.com it was on instinct. It surged into my consciousness and I couldn’t hold back my passion to speak the truth.
Two manifestos have emerged, in the last 4 years, out of research and networking. I have felt an absolute imperative to create policy that is needed, not what is seen as politically ‘possible’. We need to be ahead of the curve and ready for fast moving change. This is a Climate Emergency.
I have now joined Extinction Rebellion. And I urge you to do the same. We are at the last chance saloon
I believe that
Every action matters
Every bit of warming matters
Every year matters
Every choice matters