Friday, June 22, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth – first instalment 

Wow. My head is in a completely different place to where it usually is. Stimulated, spinning, full of ideas, caught up in the urge to be part of something which really, really matters.

I’ve just come back from a morning’s focus on climate change, at which the keynote speaker was none other than Al Gore, giving a full 2 hour presentation. I have 18 pages of hastily scribbled notes…

Over the coming days, I’ll try and piece them together into something moderately coherent, and hope I don’t lose the energy I currently feel before I’m able to do so.

For now though, I think the biggest single message I take away from the morning is around the apparent paradox between the global and local. Here are a few examples of that, which are a mixture of what was said and my own thoughts as I jotted them down:

In order for the full extent of the crisis – yes, crisis - to be appreciated, we have to see it at a global level, but that also distances us as individuals from any responsibility. Cause and effect at a local level seem unrelated to the global picture.

CO2 is invisible, and its effects are not felt locally – but if you really want to grab people’s attention, show them what’s happening in their own neighbourhood.

Climate change then is perceived as a global issue, too big, too remote to be affected by anything any of us do at an individual level. But if as individuals we believe that, we are ignoring the manner in which, owing to the complex interconnectedness of everything we do, total CO2 emissions resulting from human activity are no more and no less than the sum of the carbon footprints of every individual on this planet.

Climate change is currently seen as a political issue, something to be tackled by the world’s governments – but political action requires a sea change in public attitudes. We are the public...

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