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The Politics of Climate Change – What Can I Do?
The IPCC report on 9 August 2021 was clear: “Climate change – widespread, rapid, and intensifying”
The Guardian’s verdict on the IPCC report was: “As a verdict on the climate crimes of humanity, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could not be clearer: guilty as hell.”
The BBC produced a good summary using graphics from the IPCC report to show different scenarios, including images from this summer’s extreme events:
So what we can do to get involved in and influence the politics (with a small 'p') of climate change? These seven ideas are based on my own experience as a town councillor: the most important thing is to start somewhere.
- Let’s start with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Businesses around the UK are committing to do their bit to cut carbon emissions and protect the planet. The SME Climate Hub enables small and medium businesses to make the SME Climate Commitment and be recognised by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. Many of us work for an SME one or know someone who does – if you do, get your organisation to join.
- If you work for a different kind of organisation, ask them whether they have set targets towards Net Zero or Sustainability or what their Environmental, Social and Governance objectives are. Then we can hold them to account. It’s not trouble-making to ask. In fact, the more employees ask, the more employers will realise that they need to take action.
In your own community, find the website of your town or parish council. See if they have declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and, if so, see what their plans are to do something about it.
- If your council is active, contact the clerk or the Environment Committee or any of the Councillors who seem active in this area and offer your support.
- If it’s not active, find out if any of the councillors are interested. Being able to demonstrate support from the community is crucial for councillors, so write in to support climate and environment-friendly proposals. Better still, turn up and speak in the public forum to challenge or to show your support.
- Next, find out which groups in the local community are working towards a greener, more sustainable future and join them.
- Check out Dorset Climate Action Network (DorsetCAN) -- you're here! -- and join it. Membership is free and every new member makes it easier for them to persuade Dorset Council and BCP Council to take urgent action to combat climate change. DorsetCAN also has teams working on land use, transport, energy, housing, etc. Find the team that interests you most and offer to help.
- There are various toolkits available to help measure your environment impact and carbon footprint. Giki Zero is a science-based calculator which breaks actions down and enables you to track progress. The tool is designed to be used by individuals, household or groups. Why not sign up? If you get interested, set up a group in your wider family, your street, your workplace or social circle.