Information: What is the climate crisis, how is it happening and why is it happening?
BBC article from October 2018 discussing the IPCC special report on the impact of 1.5 degrees of warming. This sets out the basics of the climate crisis in a clear and visual way: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45775309
Vox.com article from October 2018 with more focus on the likely impacts of 3-4 degrees, the place that we are headed to without significant action: https://www.vox.com/2018/10/5/17934174/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report-1-5-degrees
Washington Post article from October 2018 offering a third perspective on the same information: https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/10/03/climate-scientists-are-struggling-find-right-words-very-bad-news/?utm_term=.6abcf739be45
It’s important to recognize that whilst our lifestyle decisions are important, we really need to talk to each other and build pressure to create political change. Only governments have the power to change the behaviour of these big organisations. Guardian article from July 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change
The richest 10% produce 50% of the world’s carbon emissions. This is why rich countries like Britain must lead the way in transitioning to a low carbon society and why we have a particular responsibility. This is also important to remember when people say that the whole climate issue ‘is just overpopulation – there are too many humans’. The earth can sustainably support this number of humans, just not this number of British style carbon emitting consumers: https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2015-12-02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-carbon-emissions-while-poorest-35
Boots Riley and Josh Healy boil it down to four minutes of fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJm9-wwlsQ
Guy McPherson explains the science behind the climate crisis in an engaging way in this 2014 talk. He covers all the key areas but there is also a specific focus in this talk on methane and the risks associated with a potential sudden release of methane from the arctic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRvculvAkrI
David Spratt argues that the public understanding of the science of climate change is too conservative and that the risks are much greater, at every level, than are being reported. A short, direct and clear discussion of the political problems in this 2014 talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0Qm3o9vD5k
This Change Everything (2015), a documentary film based on Naomi Klein’s book of the same name, which explores the science behind the crisis and the social and political impacts: https://thischangeseverything.org
A graphic from New Scientist illustrating what the world could look like under 4 degrees of warming: https://www.paragkhanna.com/home/2016/3/9/the-world-4-degrees-warmer
October 2018 article on how the conservative Danish prime minister is putting in place policies to transition completely to electric transport by 2030 and to make Denmark completely fossil fuel free by 2050: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/06/danish-conservative-prime-minister-thinks-climate-council-is-too-conservative-doubles-electric-vehicle-goal/
The climate crisis disproportionately affects people of colour, the poor, and people living in the developing world/the global south. This inequality is certain to increase in the future as a result of uneven distribution of the worst effects of global warming. Post-colonial perspectives are essential to understand the ways in which the climate crisis has arisen out of a global system of colonial oppression, the effects of which continue to devastate many countries across the world. Dr. Atyia Martin – Racism and climate change are about you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtCU8iA3Zoo Change your channel – Mallence Bart-Williams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfnruW7yERA
Looking clearly at the facts of the climate crisis and the potential problems that we face can be emotionally challenging. Here are some arguments for how to respond to and harness some common emotional responses
An argument for hope. Rebecca Solnit, October 2018: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/14/climate-change-taking-action-rebecca-solnit
An argument for courage, not hope. Dr Kate Marvell, March 2018: https://onbeing.org/blog/kate-marvel-we-need-courage-not-hope-to-face-climate-change/
An argument that it is time to panic. David Wallace-Wells, February 2019: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/opinion/sunday/fear-panic-climate-change-warming.html
Some psychoanalytical perspectives on the climate crisis: https://manchesterclimatemonthly.net/interviews/interview-with-rosemary-randall-on-psycho-analysis-and-climate-change/
The climate crisis and education
The Nolan principles for public life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership), binding on every state school teacher and school leader, demand engagement with the climate crisis: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2
David Hicks’ website provides a great overview of environment and sustainability in UK education: https://www.teaching4abetterworld.co.uk
How can we respond to the crisis?
Personal lifestyle changes
Demain [Tomorrow] (2015). A French documentary film that focuses on people who are already successfully making changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This film presents alternatives in a highly positive way, not as a ‘doing without’ but as a better and more desirable future: https://www.demain-lefilm.com/en/film
We don’t all have to go vegan straight away, but eating far less meat is essential if we are to have any chance of surviving the climate crisis. This is a change that everyone can make immediately. January 2019 Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/19/could-flexitarianism-save-the-planet
There is a growing movement against buying new clothes. February 2019 Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/feb/19/dont-feed-monster-the-people-who-have-stopped-buying-new-clothes
We need to stop driving: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/07/cars-killing-us-driving-environment-phase-out
Political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
These groups have many years of experience of trying to get green issues on to the political agenda.
The Green Party are a political party that stand in UK local and national elections: https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk
The vote GPA website (#VoteGPA ) want to create a ‘Global Planet Authority’ to legislate and regulate on individuals, companies and countries that harm the biosphere: http://www.votegpa.com
In the past, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, Gandhi and the Indian Independence Movement, Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement all advocated civil disobedience and non-violent direct action when they faced intolerable injustice. These resources explore why many people think that the climate crisis demands the use of non-violent direct action.
The UK Student Climate Network are one of the main organisations mobilizing support for the UK school strikes: https://ukscn.org
Greta Thunberg is perhaps the most recognizable face of the global youth strike for climate movement. Her speech to the UN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFkQSGyeCWg, her comments to the UN secretary general https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cve4bLDrlM and her TED talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAmmUIEsN9A.
George Monbiot’s advice for the Youth Climate Strike movement: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/20/manifesto-youth-climate-strikers-win-fight?
Marc Hudson’s advice for the Youth Climate Strike movement: https://theconversation.com/school-climate-strikes-what-next-for-the-latest-generation-of-activists-111594
Extinction Rebellion is a fast growing global organization, based in the UK who are mobilizing action against the climate crisis: https://rebellion.earth
Dr Gail Bradbrook’s (from Rising Up / Extinction Rebellion ) 2018 talk covers the ecological crisis – the latest science on what risks there are and our current trajectory which includes the possibility of abrupt (ie near term dramatic climate change) and human extinction. Understanding our emotional response and about appropriate responses. The basic premise of this talk is to tell the truth and ask us all to act accordingly and consistently with the information, including our understanding of what actually enables change to happen in the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2VkC4SnwY0
Dr Rupert Read’s February 2019 talk about Extinction Rebellion, its principles and rationale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbzhc1BlvvI
Dr Rupert Read’s November 2018 talk at Cambridge University, which has many of the same ideas in a less developed form. However, the Q&A at the end is useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzCxFPzdO0Y
Culture Declares. Cultural and arts organisations are preparing to declare a climate emergency: https://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency/
Alternative / Critical Theory
The accelerationist movement (#accelerate) suggests that old fashioned activism will not work in our world as it is, and that new and creative forms of future thinking are necessary to reshape society to be more sustainable: http://criticallegalthinking.com/2013/05/14/accelerate-manifesto-for-an-accelerationist-politics/
Creative, artistic, academic, philosophical responses
A growing number of academics, artists and others are trying to reconsider the way that we think about our relationship with climate, ecology and green issues. These resources suggest that we need to begin to imagine very different systems and relations if we want to survive the climate crisis.
Timothy Morton on ‘Being Ecological’ – how to think about anthropocene and the climate crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/timothy-morton-anthropocene-philosopher
Graham Harman on Object Oriented Ontology (OOO): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id4FF7JO2wU
Donna Haraway on making kin in the era of climate crisis: https://vimeo.com/97663518