My beloved Mum died in March, with my equally adored Dad preceding her by 14 months. Back in a world of grief, our family has celebrated their lives together, married for 57 years. The joy and sadness continue as we work through this time. So much to tell them since they’ve gone – new contracts, new energy and new ideas.
Themes of life and death seem fitting, with the public awareness about the dangers of climate breakdown brought into sharp focus by the actions of Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg. The loss of life continues apace across the natural world, with the UN reporting that a million species are at risk of extinction, with plant species disappearing at a “frightening” pace. My children are already experiencing ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ every time they play outside – the flora and fauna of my childhood does not exist in the same numbers.
This new energy has bought attention (finally) to the requirements of change. Yet, I speak to people regularly who know very little about climate change, it’s predicted threats and how that will impact on their lives. In Worthing Climate Action Network, we ensured the Extinction Rebellion energy was harnessed by organising two local events, the XR presentation and subsequent Non-Violent Direct-Action training. Within four weeks, our new Facebook group has 93 members and our first meeting has been held. Worthing CAN will continue to support the efforts of this new group. XR Worthing is born, with new volunteers energised and enabled to act locally.
Strategically, in terms of societal infrastructure, there now needs to be a significant shift to action. The UK Government has declared a climate emergency, with the outgoing PM Theresa May announcing a zero-carbon UK target by 2050. The science requires a faster transition – we have had forty years, my lifetime, since this subject was first discussed internationally, without any meaningful action. The next ten-years will determine the future for the planet’s children and the lives of so many species on our beautiful, blue planet. I, for one, will continue to act as though our lives depend on it, because they do.