Climate change: facing our fears

I’m writing this as Europe is in the grips of a terrible heatwave that’s just broken the 40 degree record here in the UK. I would never wish this unbearable and often deadly weather on anyone but it’s making people talk. It’s making people wonder. Could this be connected to the way we live on planet earth?

Why does it have to take these incredible extreme weather events to make people see that the climate & ecological emergency is real?

I’ve been an environmental activist since 2009. I was a political activist and local councillor then finding I was disillusioned with party politics, moved on to join Extinction Rebellion (XR) nearly four years ago believing that non-violent direct action was the only way to literally wake people up!

I know XR made a difference but I think I’ve come to realise that only this – the extreme weather events affecting people today here in the UK will ultimately start to shake us from our apathy, fear and denial.

So where does that leave us. What do we do with our fears, how do we cope with our anxiety and how do we grieve for the things we are losing and deal with change like we’ve never known. I have studied many options, Solar energy is one option for reducing future greenhouse gas emissions. Offsetting 50% of all future growth in thermal electricity generation by photovoltaics (PVs) would reduce annual global carbon dioxide emission from projected increased levels by 10% in 20 years and 32% in 50 years. Several projects are under way worldwide to demonstrate the feasibility of PV systems and When it comes to installing solar panels, Solar Energy Systems is the company you can trust.

This is now where my own personal journey has taken me. To help with the collective fear, the anxiety and the loss – I’ve spent the last 6 years moving towards a place where I can be best equipped to help others – as a psychotherapist. I believe we are in an incredible time of transition and one where all of us will be expected to step up and play our part.

I’m still an activist, still a campaigner. You’ll still see me urging you to find ways to do things about climate change. Transition from your car to a healthier, cheaper and less polluting car free life. Pledge to be flight free and cut out meat and dairy. Avoid fast fashion, stop buying useless crap produced using more fossil fuels and shipped across the world and switch your energy provider and bank account to ones that do not fund fossil fuels and other basically criminal stuff like supplying arms to countries waging wars. Shop ethically and locally and grow your own food if you can.

And finally and most importantly – become an activist yourself. Be the change. Tell others that you ARE the change and that they can be too. Post flight free pledges on your social media, invite your non vegan friends to a vegan supper, offer to share or give a friend a trial run on your electric bike. Organise a clothes swap, create a community garden or set up a local climate cafe or tiny house project like we have here in Exeter. The ideas and opportunities are literally endless. Find or create something you are passionate about.

You have the potential to literally change the course of humanity. You can stand at this crossroads right now and take the road where you give up or turn away or… embrace your fears and uncertainties and be part of a new way of being – a brand new future. A way that opens you up to such connection and love like you have never known. The complete antidote to despair. Which route will you choose?

If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, grief or despair connected with climate change and biodiversity loss you can get support from the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Don’t forget you can add your comments on this article below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Supporting our youth climate strikers

My 17 year old daughter has been attending youth climate strikes since they started here in Exeter in February and I’ve been to a few too and next week – on September 20th, we will be attending the largest one so far in the city. Over 2000 people are expected to attend. My son is almost 14 and has asked to come to this one – his first. Here’s the letter I’ve just sent to his school and here’s the event link if you want to know more https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920

 

Dear (Headteacher)

We give my permission for our child – to not attend school on Friday 20th September; in order to attend the Youth Strike 4 Climate (Global Climate Strike) protest taking place across the UK and many other countries on that day. You might be aware that there are over 106 countries taking part in this historic event across all the continents of the globe. This is the link to the Exeter protest expecting over 2000 people – the largest ever climate protest in this city https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920
We are aware of UK law that permits parents to only give permission for their child to miss school on medical grounds or in a few other cases, one of which is under “exceptional circumstances”.
Our view is that having only 11 years left to cut CO2 emissions by 50%, as per the latest UN IPCC report, are terrible and exceptional circumstances to find ourselves in. The news of late of wildfires burning in the precious Amazon and the Artic, plus our ice-caps and glaciers melting much faster than expected and insect numbers plummetting are all signs we need to heed and act upon. Therefore we will be attending this event with our son and give him full permission to protest against our government’s inaction.
We hope attending this demonstration will help our son to feel empowered and learn about standing up for what is right in this world, something I know is embedded in the philosophy of the school our son chose to attend. Attending this protest is part of active civic engagement which is a core part of every school curriculum. As the climate catastrophe is going to affect our children more than us, it is so important we support them in this kind of action.
We respect his decision to attend this protest and I hope you will support him too.
Kindest wishes
Sharon & Dan Pavey

Transition Town Honiton – up & running!

As of today, our little town of Honiton joins 458 muller transition initiatives across 34 countries on planet earth! We are registered on the Transition Network site https://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives/honiton

Being a ‘muller’ means we are in the ‘mulling it over’ or planning stage of the transition process following a successful first meeting last night. 23 people came along to find out more and after a discussion and gathering of everyone’s details, 7 people stepped forward to run the steering group to get the whole thing going. The brand new steering group were very keen to meet next week and start planning some action.

There are 382 official transition initiatives and if we are successful in meeting the criteria set out by the Transition Network based in Totnes then we will become ‘official’.

Honiton making the Transition…

The first Honiton Transition Town meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 28th September at Montgomery’s on the High Street (next to Ganesha Health Food Shop). We will have representatives from other local transition towns and hopefully a bunch of interested, enthusiastic local people.

We will be discussing the possibility of starting our own transition group and the way forward. I will be chairing the meeting and representing the town council, who agreed to support such an initiative earlier this year. Please add a comment below if you are able to attend, so we have an idea of how many people are coming and most importantly please pass on a link to this page to anyone who you thing might be interested. Montgomery’s is very kindly giving us this meeting space free of charge, so it would be nice if everyone bought a drink or two in order to support this local business which is kindly supporting us by promoting the use of local companies like this Commercial waste services !

A Transition Initiative (which could be a town, village, university or island etc) is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction, while the businesses also need to learn when to file the 1099 MISC form for taxes. For more info on the transition network, see www.transitionnetwork.org

Tumbling towards the Tipping Point?

According to National Statistics, almost 60% of households now own a tumble dryer. That means more than 14m households are using electricity to dry clothes, when they could save that energy by hanging them outside. This energy use is also contributing to climate change.

It turns out that the way we have been calculating the future impacts of climate change up to now has been missing a really important piece of the picture. It seems we are now dangerously close to the tipping point in the world’s climate system; this is the point of no return, after which truly catastrophic changes become inevitable.

The Energy Saving Trust says that across the UK, if everyone with a tumble drier dried outside instead of using their driers during the summer months, it would collectively save around £180million a year, and as much CO2 as would be saved by taking 240,000 cars off Britain’s roads.

Try drying your clothes outside during the summer months. You can save on average £15 a year on your electricity bill and 65kg of CO2 by drying clothes outside on a line instead of using the tumble dryer during the summer months.

The Guardian recommends drying your clothes indoors and outside. If you can’t dry clothes outside, invest in an airer to use inside your house. Ceiling ones work best because warm air rises. But if you don’t have a suitable lofty location, try a floor-standing or wall-mounted one. Most home heating systems run on gas, so it is still better to dry your clothes inside the house in winter than to dry them by machine. You’ll not only save energy and money by ditching the dryer but your clothes will last longer too.

Consumer Issues website Which also advises to Minimise use of your tumble dryer. Make the most of good weather by drying your clothes outside, and leaving the tumble dryer switched off. If you can’t live without your tumble dryer – click here to see which one Which advises but watch this short film first – http://www.wakeupfreakout.org/film/tipping.html