Why do we need to act now?
Shell and Exxon knew about the dangers of climate change in the 1980s. Despite their frightening predictions, they put their profits above the wellbeing of our planet, and all who live on her. Four decades later, after a multitude of petitions, protests and campaigns, we are emerging from a failed COP26 and carbon emissions are still rising. Ecological destruction is accelerating and all of us - especially those in the Global South who did nothing to cause the problem - are increasingly battered by extreme weather, dealing with failing crops, and struggling with water shortages.
What’s next? If the planet continues to heat at the current rate we are at danger of 3 or even 4 degrees of heating - the submersion of coastal cities, mass migration, terrible food shortages and the spread of disease. It’s easy to think that this will only affect ‘other people far away’. It is human to protect ourselves from the horrible reality of their suffering by looking away and by staying in denial. At ‘Beyond Fossil Fuels Together’ we believe that we CAN step forwards with compassion, and start taking responsibility for our history of colonialism and exploitation and the consequences it’s had. Alongside our responsibilities to the Global South, if things don’t change, and fast, the climate and ecological emergency will increasingly affect us all. The life we will be leaving our children hardly bears thinking about.
There are small green shoots of hope. The public are waking up to the magnitude of the horror, and refusing to buy the con of the ‘personal change’ solution. Yes, we need to recycle our bottles, but if the government is still spending £10 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies, we refuse to let them shift the attention on to us. If we can educate each other and unite against the massive fossil fuel companies and their friends in high places, we do have the power to affect our future. We believe that we all have a different part to play - some people are able to take part in civil disobedience with groups like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, others will work from within the political or corporate system. Others, like you, can take to the streets in a dignified, legal vigil, or fast from home - a clear demonstration to our government that the people are united on this issue, and that we will not be fobbed off.
If you’re thinking about stepping forwards, here’s how you can act.