Blog Action Day unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day – 2009 is Climate Change www.blogactionday.org
Climate change – been there, done that, boring, let’s get excited about something new. My former employers, the World Council of Churches (WCC), began raising the issue of climate change in the late 1980s, partly because part of their constituency in the Pacific region was disappearing under the sea. Not many people were interested, even environmental groups. But in the end it became fashionable and lots of people were agitating about it. Now I wonder if climate change fatigue is creeping in.
We’ve said all there is to say. International organisations, governments, pressure groups, even industry and commerce have made fine sounding statements. Case proved, for all except for a few contrarians. Thank goodness for them - in their attempt to stamp out what they see as a pernicious falsehood they keep the issue alive.
The problem is we have hardly begun to do what we need to do. I’ll begin with a soft target. If you search the WCC’s website you find around 4,500 references to climate change, most of them raising the issue and calling for change. Yet you will find it hard to discover the WCC’s own environmental policy. I know that the organisation has thought about environmental risk assessments in planning meetings that bring people together from all over the world, an annual environmental audit to accompany the financial audit and measures to incentivise staff use of public transport, to give some examples. Yet, understandably if not forgivably, it finds it hard to grasp the total change in organisational culture and style of working that such actions would imply.
The 10:10 campaign, supported by the Guardian newspaper - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/10-10 - challenges us to commit ourselves to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. A UK survey quoted suggests that ‘81% of adults were very or fairly concerned about climate change and three quarters said they were willing to change their behaviour to help combat it’. Well, I’m part of that three quarters. But am I part of what they describe as ‘a small, saintly portion of the population’ who do anything significant?
If the WCC was a soft target, I must take aim at the hardest target of all. That is me. I have to change. It’s not just up to other people, organisations and governments, it’s up to me. I have to change the climate of my own way of life. And I suspect that just spending an extra 10% of time in bed doesn’t count.