As hard as it may seem there is more to life than Covid and governments must be able to demonstrate to their electorates that they can ‘walk and chew gum’ i.e do two things at the same time.
Perfectly properly the widest of bandwiths is being expended on tacking and controlling the virus that has bedevilled us all. Having seen for myself, at first hand as a volunteer, the testing efforts taking place in our schools and the Herculean vaccine efforts taking place through the auspices of our GP surgeries, I can tell you that there is a lot of incredibly impressive stuff going on.
We are all watching more television to help fill the time. That said I have also resurrected my long forgotten love of jigsaw puzzles and am driving my daughters mad as we embark upon the search of ‘just one last piece before supper/ bedtime / breakfast’.
Hopefully you, like my family, sat glued to David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet. As with everything he does I found it gripping, enthralling, enlightening and frightening.
Like many, my first ‘Attenborough experience’ was the ground breaking Life On Earth broadcast when I was just ten (41 years ago for those who are interested). I wanted my daughters to see it so have purchased the DVD
We have watched some episodes, and Imogen my eldest remarked ‘that’s strange he didn’t mention Climate Change’. I had to explain that ‘back then’ none of us knew the term but that the harm was being done. We eventually heard about acid rain, but for the layman that was about it, wasn’t it?
If there is one policy area where governments need to walk and chew gum it is in addressing this issue of a changing climate and the massive impacts it is having on us all. We have to stop murdering our Planet and thereby committing a massed suicide, or perhaps genocide is the better word, of our own species alongside everything else that walks, crawls, flies or swims across our shared home.
It is great that the USA have returned to taking this issue seriously and rejoined the international community in this great and solemn endeavour. The UK’s Presidency of the G7, and our hosting of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference later this year in Glasgow, provide two incredibly powerful platforms not just to preach to the converted but to win converts to the cause.
Pollution, wind, our oceans do not recognise national boundaries or territorial sovereignty. If we are to save our planet we must act as a planet.
I have great hope in the progress being made but there is so much still to do and for us all to do.
It is true that air quality has improved during lockdowns as fewer road and air trips have been made. It’s good news, but it’s a drop in the ocean when the global task is surveyed.
The urgency for personal and corporate behavioural change has not diminished. Covid’s economic consequences provide a rare opportunity, usually only seen after major war, to rethink and recalibrate our economy. There is no merit in merely going back to ‘normal’ when we have the chance to reshape our entire economy focussed on low carbon, renewables and sustainability. We must use a large swathe of our aid programme to encourage environmental projects, use the tax system as an incentive to decarbonise and share our fast progressing technologies with those countries trailing the ‘First World’ in their economic development. They don’t have to echo the environmental impact of our Industrial Revolution.
Climate Change is not ‘green crap’. It is the biggest risk to our survival. Our Government gets it and we must all too.
by Simon Hoare MP