Picture: John Bullock
You might remember that eclectic folk-popsters Stornoway were one of the finalists for the 2009 Emerging Talent Contest (click for info on this year’s ETC). Well, Brian Briggs from the band is currently in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Summit and he’s written this blog on behalf of one of the Festival’s good causes, Oxfam.
I don’t like to think about climate change and I’m sure most people are the same. When I was 10 years old I first learnt about it at school and I had terrible nightmares about drowning in the rising seas. I still get properly scared when I think about the implications of climate change for people around the world. We are crammed onto a planet which quite simply cannot support our current lifestyles – people have calculated that we would need 3 Planet Earth’s to support our current rate of consumption. The effects of climate change are going to result in even less resources to go round, and more fighting over who gets what. People need to accept that we’ve had it too easy, and that we need to start making significant lifestyle changes.
The good news is that reducing our carbon emissions needn’t result in any loss of quality of life or happiness. In fact many studies show that a less polluting lifestyle, for example through eating less meat and cycling to work, can actually make us feel happier, as well as saving money. It might even help to save the rapidly fading concept of ‘community’. I personally believe that a sense of community will be vital to the process of cutting back, since at all levels (from the White House to your house) it requires EVERYONE to do their bit – it only takes one selfish thinker to drag everyone else down.
And while I’m on that point, there is nothing that riles me more than climate change deniers. What an uncaring, greedy standpoint to take. The facts are clear. If we don’t act now this world is going to become a very ugly place within a short space of time, and our children will never forgive us. And the other frustrating thing is that most people don’t even realise people in developing countries are ALREADY hugely affected. But at least organisations like Oxfam are pushing for something positive to come out of Copenhagen on this front. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that the future quality of billions of lives is at stake.