When I think of Climate Change, I think of the film Fight Club. I think about this passage:
‘’We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.”
It still packs a punch for me, but not because it’s true, but because the over-consumption which the film rails against has finally created a “Great War” for us all to join together in… Climate change.
Never before have we been faced with a truly universal problem which threatens not only our entire species, but all life. Which means that wherein lies the size of the challenge also lies the potential for positive change. How we grow our food, how we live in cities, how we use transport, where we get our energy from, all of this needs to change. So there is an opportunity to rebuild things in a way that has formerly been deemed as Utopian: a society which is more connected to nature, whose values reflect those of the individual lives which compose it, and which is therefore more inclusive for all.
Indeed, it would seem that we need to rebuild our institutions in this manner in order to meet the challenge which we now face. Unless we finally begin to understand that our economy exists only as a subset of the ecological system, we cannot create the economic frameworks which will tackle climate change, such as carbon taxes, and the factoring-in of real costs on society which include ‘externalities’ such as pollution and wider impacts on health. Unless we can finally begin to see that our role as citizens, consumers, community members and individuals are not at odds with one another, but are in fact mutually informative, we will not be able to create governments which truly look after our well being. And unless we understand that the challenges facing us are truly global and that we all have a role to play, we will not be able to coordinate actions internationally which reduce emissions connected to global trade and tourism.
It is sad that we require our own ‘Great War’ to create the change many have wanted to see for so long. But we have known of the problem facing us for decades. But now that we understand that this an emergency situation, then we all have muck in so that we may finally do what is required. Humans aren’t driven to action by facts, but emotional drivers such as scarcity, compunction and crucially, the behaviour of large groups. Calls to war are predicated on all of these motives. So it’s time to sign up.
I believe in our ability as individuals and organisations to make a difference, so I won’t just be talking about climate change. I’ll be marching for the climate and encouraging my colleagues to do so too at the Global Climate Strike, on September 20th at Millbank, Westminster. I hope that you can join me there too.
Raleigh International stands with the millions demanding action against the climate emergency at the Global Climate Strike. Find a Climate Strike near you. Are you striking for change? Get in touch and tell us why at firstname.lastname@example.org