Climate politics

Last week, 28 leaders of the European Union committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 (1). This commitment comes as a result of promises made at the UN Climate Summit held earlier this year in New York. Citizen presence on the streets of New York and across the world must have had an impact on the level of commitment and enthusiasm from the leaders in the room that day.

Greenhouse gas reduction will be achieved in the EU with a combination of renewable energy and an increase in energy efficiency (1). It is one of the most ambitious, cost-effective climate energy policies to be agreed upon. However some in the EU are concerned about what this means for big business. Perhaps they will loose their competitive edge in the market place when making sacrifices for the good of the planet. With government’s history across the globe of colluding with big business (GFC), I’m uncomfortable with the idea of big business and government dictating climate policy.

In a capitalist economy such as ours, big business rules and so far the rich nations have been getting richer from the energy usage that has now ruined our planet and who is paying for it? The poorer nations and their people. Capitalism wins again. I become nervous when people speak of the necessity of government, global bodies and business making decisions about our earth, because frankly I don’t think they care much about it at all.

I understand that the issue of climate change has become too big for the mere individual to tackle with an energy-efficient light bulb but at the same time these new policies don’t fill me with much hope either.

What we’re dealing with is environmental obesity due to the insatiable consumption of the 21st century. Society is self-destructing and needs to detox if we have a hope of surviving. There needs to be a shift in attitudes, in culture and priority if we are truly going to make change.

This is where I believe we can have power on the individual level. Be the change you want to see in the world. Shift cultural perspectives, question traditions, do what you can in your community and with your resources and choices and maybe little by little, one at a time we can create a global movement and power shift. Big business is important, policies and promises and commitments to change are great but alone not enough. We have the power; everyday we can do something good for our planet and ourselves.

Go vegan and viva la revolucion!