When you can see the end of the world, nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world.
My laundry bin is overflowing, my insurance is overdue and dinner is beans on toast again. All or oven any of these things would seem the end of the world to many people. But since hearing that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct event day and that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year (World Health Organisation), all my boring everyday worries seem to pale into insignificance.
Working on the climate emergency has opened my eyes to what is really important. To protect our planet and its inhabitants for future generations and to really value every part of the natural world that we are lucky enough to enjoy today.
So, despite feeling rather anxious about it, I have put myself in the public arena over the past couple of months in order to increase the profile of climate change activists Extinction Rebellion (XR). The results have been phenomenal. In just 2 months, I’ve started 4 XR groups across Kent, engaged more than 300 people, contributed to a climate emergency declaration in 3 districts and kicked off a Youth Strike movemenyt which led to my son being given the Gravesham deputy mayor’s council badge at full council meeting last night.
Unfortunately, achievements come at a cost and I have also received many challenges. I have made my own policy not to answer these challenges individually as I feel they distract effort from the crucial matter of addressing climate change. However, I am finding it increasingly necessary to address the common questions so have decided to do so here.
- Shouldn’t you be at work?
Although many parents would suggest that I do in fact work a 24/7 job, given that I care for my 4 children aged 6, 5, 3 and 1, I don’t currently hold a paid position of employment. I did work for almost 14 years and paid my taxes but now my husband and I support our own family jointly, with no state benefits whatsoever.
- Do you practice what you preach?
I’ve been vegetarian since age 10 and am now trying to turn vegan. I have always recycled. I rarely fly and always walk instead of driving if possible. However, I do sometimes buy plastic and drive my car too often. I’m learning and developing though. This is a process and I’m doing my absolute best!
- Do you use your children for your cause?
Absolutely not. I don’t use my children for anything. I educate them on as much as I possibly can. But anything they take part in is due to the pursuit of their own interests and I always encourage them to follow their own hearts and minds.
- Won’t it cost too much to address climate change?
The cost of inaction would significantly outweigh the cost of tackling climate change.
- Isn’t the world following a natural cycle of heating and cooling?
Yes but it has been significantly affected by human intervention since the industrial revolution.
- What about China?
Given that the UK has outsourced much of its industry to China, we have to take a high portion of responsibility for their carbon emissions.
- Is climate change an issue for the Labour party to address?
No. It affects us all whether we like, accept or want it or not.