It’s not surprising George Monbiot has written this book. His regular column on the environment in The Guardian is always a great read – cutting, well researched, eloquent – but in total, well, a tad depressing. Or should I say challenging?
Challenging as with each article you think: we (humans) are in deep shit. Monbiot articulates the many, major things going wrong on the environmental front. And to make matters worse, there are solutions staring us in the face.
The underlying snag, as Monbiot so often points out, is our dumb politics getting in the way.
No wonder then Monbiot started thinking about changing politics itself. You know, so it might help make life on the planet better, rather than worse.
New figures released by NASA have stunned the world’s climate scientists. The average global temperature for February this year has smashed the previous record. A record set only the month before.
This comes on the back of the warmest year on record 2015, which broke the previous record set in 2014.
And if you’ve been following this story, you’ll know already there are other worrying changes – like the Arctic melting faster than all expectations over the last few years.
So are we seeing a speeding up of climate change? And is the long stretch of warm weather we’ve felt here in Sydney linked to the global picture?
The Environment Show caught up with Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, a leading climate scientist from Germany’s Potsdam University. In this podcast he answers those questions and outlines how his own country is getting on with the job of implementing one of the most important solutions – renewable energy.
This dramatic video shows the beginnings of Queensland’s “inland tsunami”. This body of water, along with other tributaries, flowed into the Lockyer Valley and killed 14 people last week. From there it went on to inundate Brisbane, the city I grew up in. The worst floods there since 1974.
When I was a kid, they told us the ’74 flood was a once in 100 year event. That was 37 years ago.
Did climate change cause the recent floods here in Australia?
Last year I heard a speech by Professor Jeff Sachs which crystalised a lot of things for me. (Sachs is a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.)
I’m giving a speech myself soon at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. It’s for Design Week and it’s about ‘the importance of creativity for sustainability’. In preparing I’ve found myself coming back to Sachs’s talk at Sydney Uni.
Reason being Sachs puts the whole damn thing in context. He describes how we got to where we are now, how special our time is, and how we are at a watershed moment in human history where we’re going to have to make a fundamental shift to a sustainable economy.
In this post I’ve included a synopsis of the Sach’s speech and links to a podcast of it. I’ve also posted some notes from my proposition that creativity is going to be key in re-thinking and changing how we live.
With all this gloom and doom around, here’s something positive you can do. It’ll not only be good for your weekly budget, but all also make you happier. And surprise, in a very small way, also be good for the planet.
Grab a shovel, go out to the verge in front of your house, and dig it up. That’s right, turn that earth, plant some vegies in there, and watch food grow before your very eyes.
I did exactly that and you wouldn’t believe the results. Vegies are just some of them.
Earth Hour is on again – tonight 28th March at 8.30pm. The event asks people and businesses to turn off lights and appliances for one hour. It ran for the first time in Sydney only a few years ago. Since then the idea has been picked up by many other major cities around the world.
But looking beyond all the hype, how useful is it really in helping to tackle the problem of climate change?
Just at the time Australia is launching into an emissions trading scheme, the EU one appears to be faltering. Eek. In this post we’ve collected links to articles and videos on the European scheme and the political stoush that’s happening here in Oz. (We predict it’s only a matter of time before the Opposition here cotton on to the European failings.) And of course there’s the question of – what the hell is an emssions trading scheme anyway? Plenty of people wouldn’t have the foggiest. We explain here at the end. Click on.
The last few days has seen some of the worst fires in Australia’s recorded history. That’s in the South East of the country. Meanwhile in the north we’ve had extensive flooding. Not so well covered in the Australian media has been the snow storms enveloping the Northern hemisphere in places like the UK.
So is climate change the cause of these extreme weather events?