Dan Fieldsend highlights the importance of taking the climate emergency seriously, and explains what we can do to play our part…
I’m going to keep this simple. The landmark report last week from the IPCC made it undeniable: humans are destroying the planet. The past six years are the hottest ever recorded in history. Too much of the world is on fire, too much of it is underwater.
Now for the heavy part: if we continue to warm the planet in the way in which we are, then trees and plants (our only saviours in reducing carbon), will be unable to photosynthesise, meaning they’ll go from sinks which soak up carbon, to polluters who produce it.
Allow me to re-state that. Within the next 20-25 years, trees will go from being our friends, to our enemies. At which point, when forests are the baddies, the apocalypse will be nigh.
Has that made you shit yourself a little bit? If it hasn’t, you’re either an ostrich (who’ll most likely be part of the problem), or you need to read the above again.
All of this has social implications of course (and this is something which irks me; the view that environmentalism is the domain of middle-class, middle-aged, slightly loopy white people to worry about and not something which affects us all). The social implications are that poor people will suffer worst globally.
Places like Yemen, Somalia and Chad will be totally inhabitable. There’ll be mass starvation, mass water shortages and mass displacement. Hundreds of thousands of people will be dying at sea flocking towards safer climates for refuge.
Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage will be buying binoculars for their beady little eyes, to stand piss-wet-through at Dover, smiling perversely at drowning innocents. Populations will decline, economies will combust and the cities we enjoy now will be largely flooded and unvisitable (if you think UNESCO dislike the Pier Head as it currently is, wait until you see it in 2060).
‘But what can I do about it?’.
One of the greatest barriers in the modern world is apathy, allowing for people to believe they can do nothing to influence change. If we add in some false consciousness (a cheeky bit of Marxism for you, lads) to the stew – in that television, video games and football distract us – and mix a tasty amount of cognitive dissonance, we get statements like the above. Climate destruction is happening because we are distracted, unaware, apathetic and/or ignorant.
I’ve got mates who send photos into our WhatsApp group of the mad, bad, sad things they’re seeing across the globe in relation to climate issues, accompanied by poetic captions like ‘shite that lad’.
And they’re right of course, but said individuals are also banking with Barclays, driving SUVs to Broadgreen shops, spending their wages at Bem Brasil, chopping down trees on the garden to lay Astroturf, and flying to Dubai when the chance allows.
They aren’t bad people – they are normal paragons of our age – they just don’t see the link between their everyday actions and the mad, bad, sad images they send into the group.
So, briefly, allow me to outline the link in science between lifestyle patterns in Liverpool and our current global catastrophe, because I don’t want to kettle heads too much (I do really, nothing gives me greater pleasure in truth):
Firstly, driving SUVs is bad, because they emit high levels of carbon which increases air pollution levels in the city. According to research from the British Lung Foundation, 1,040 people die each year in Liverpool from illnesses related to air pollution (the highest nationally). Consider too that SUVs are most likely to kill cyclists, and that Liverpool is the worst borough in the country for cyclist fatalities, then the issue is clear.
Eating beef is bad because of deforestation. The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed to produce soybeans to feed livestock and cattle. 110,000 fires have been set since 2019 in Brazil and an 80% rate increase in deforestation has seen species destroyed and indigenous people displaced. Without the Amazon and other forests, our future looks bleak. So whilst a Maccies is great with a hangover, beef consumption is scientifically proven to be destroying the planet.
Banking with Barclays is bad because they invest in fossil fuels. So too do HSBC, NatWest, Lloyds and Standard Chartered, the shower of sh*te. The UK’s banks are fuelling the climate crisis by backing polluting companies with loans and investments. It supports things like coal mines, oil pipelines and fossil-fuel powered stations. Banking with Triodos or Starling instead is a clean option, given that they don’t do this and invest your finances elsewhere.
Chopping trees is bad because humans produce 1,400 tonnes of carbon every minute. Trees are carbon vaults and trap it. Without trees, we are ‘rubber ducked’, and this city has a scarcity of them. Even Sefton Park Meadows had to be fought tooth and nail for. Instead of protecting green spaces, our civic designers should be expanding them.
Buying new clobber is bad because of the dangers of fast fashion. The industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions each year and uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. It feeds on insecurity, makes our Prins feel less than perfect and exploits workers globally. The transportation of ‘stuff’ being bought for households equates to 60% of our personal carbon footprints, too. Most clothes produced do not reach the ‘ten wears’ stage and few are recycled. It is landfill.
Our current council is bad because when the option to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ was first put to them, they voted against it as the idea came from the Green Party. It was only when every other council nationally declared an Emergency, that ours did too. That was three years ago. The city centre still has no recycling bins, our pensions are still being invested into fossil fuel companies, cycling lanes are being re-thought, new buildings with embedded carbon are still being built (without green walls, green roofs or gardens), 77% of household waste is still not recycled, and Sefton Park Meadows is still vulnerable. Instead of constant expansion, Liverpool’s council should be pioneering a new ‘circular economy’, a la Amsterdam’s.
The implications of the lack of environmental awareness in the city are tangible. Cars rule Liverpool. Streets are unplayable. Such is the culture of driving in the city, kids have no safe haven in which to enjoy their youth. When they drift towards the Pier Head en masse, they are criminalised. Should they choose to cycle there, they do so at their own peril.
This is a small example of the cause and effect of not caring for one’s own environment. When, as is forecast for the end of our current lifetimes, our waterfront is flooding annually and tourists are unable to navigate the Mersey, the historic idea of our current lust for further growth will be looked back upon as insanity.
If Liverpool is to maintain its image as the social-thinking, egalitarian, caring, open beacon of decency that it has acquired in recent years, then its people need to take environmentalism under the umbrella of socialism and live accordingly beneath it. Otherwise, we’re going to get soaked.
Coverphoto: instagram @dideyeshutter