What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


This is the next post from my series on the Sheffield Star online Green Scene section.

In my last post I presented some recent climate science to help establish the context within which we face perhaps the most important and yet mundane choices we will make. Important in that our choices will resonate down the ages just as those our forefathers made in choosing to build an economy based on fossil fuels. Mundane in that they involve the most basic of choices we make on a daily basis but which could move us beyond our dependence on fossil fuels. Whether our forefathers are to be held to blame for their choices is not at issue, whether or not we will be held accountable is, because we know the consequences of our choice.

In our own lifetimes we are likely to see major changes in our planet come about just from the damage we have allowed to occur up to now. If we don’t make major changes in the way we go about the business of our lives we will induce far worse changes to come about after we are gone.

So do we choose to address this personally or do we leave it up to governments and corporations? Will governments and corporations choose to address this if we don’t address it on a personal level? I don’t think so. The scale of the change necessary requires both. This means that each and every one of us must make changes in the way we live. We’ve done it before in the face of catastrophe,namely WWII, we can do it again.

On BBC’s Countryfile I recently learned about the scallop fishery of Lyme Bay. 60nm2 of the bay are being closed to dredging in an attempt to restore the coral ecosystem of the bay upon which the fisheries depend. A fisherman was lamenting the loss of a way of life he and his family had pursued for many years but acknowledged that he could change to another type of fishing. It will cost money to do so and the government should help with that, after all they allowed the damage to continue for so long that such drastic action became necessary.

This one instance is a microcosm of the choices we face. If we get lost in trying preserve a way of life that is destroying the ecosystems that support us we will fail. This realisation must pervade our every decision. It is going to be difficult. It will be hard for the politicians to do the right thing if we aren’t willing to demonstrate that we understand the sacrifices necessary.

"It is no use saying 'We are doing our best' you have got to succeed at doing what is necessary" - Winston Churchill

For more about the Lyme Bay issue see:

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