“What can I do about climate change?” “Very little. What can WE do about climate change? EVERYTHING.”
I have had the pleasure over the last two years to meet many people who are working for a future without fossil fuels – people who are taking steps to protect habitats, or change emotions, or change the system we live within. From 15 April I will be meeting hundreds more as I walk with others across England for four months.
The Buzz Tour will visit a cross-section of England to help ‘pollinate change’ through inspiration and skill-sharing. The walk is open to anyone who wants to shape a better future, so please join us! Some people are coming for a few hours, others for a month and they are all part of the journey. You can also keep track of our journey on our website and social media pages, and help us by donating cash or equipment.
We will visit projects where people are practising permaculture, mindfulness, direct action, local economic trading schemes, Transition towns, art and craft as dissent, community energy production, habitat conservation, divestment and alternative education. If you haven’t heard of some of these things – fantastic! You’ll find many new experiences and tools.
A window of opportunity
We are no longer ignorant of the consequences of our actions, individually and collectively. When our grandchildren ask us what we did to stop climate change it will not be a defence to say that we did nothing because we did not know. Our society has known for decades but the evidence is now overwhelming.
In March, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released its report on the widespread consequences of man-made climate change, which will affect every human on the planet. Its language is technical and scientific, and the news coverage uses emotionless, passive language. The content, however, should be a call to arms for us all. We live during a quickly closing window of opportunity to protect life.
To make the large emissions reductions that are required in the next two decades will take a massive cultural change. There is no single solution to save us; there are hundreds! Changing our lives will not be quick or easy but we can help each other to do it, and bridge the gap between good intentions and systemic change.
There is a lot that behavioural psychology can teach us about how to approach culture change. All group change starts with individual change. The society that we have been born into narrows our choices and rewards destructive behaviour. For example, how easy do you find it to buy food that has not been harvested and transported with fossil fuels or wrapped in plastic? Environmentally harmful actions have become the norm.
It is extremely difficult to act against the persistent tide of a harmful system which surrounds you and so we are forced into harmful choices. That does not mean we consent to them. But to change this society, we must do more than not consent: we must actively show our dissent together, and work together towards the future we want.
There are three broad types of action on climate change: protecting the natural resources we have left, changing ourselves, and changing our system and culture. Maybe you already do work in one of these areas and would like to help others? Maybe you know about climate change but have no idea where to start? Maybe you know the types of action you want to take but need to find people to work with, or to build your skills? Connecting with the Buzz Tour will be a way to do all these.
A vital part of changing our lives is the time to reflect upon what we experience. On the tour we will walk together, to reflect, understand, inspire and learn. The Buzz Tour will be a ‘walking university’ where people can come and share their skills. Every week we will be posting what we learn and the contacts we make on the website building up a store of inspiration.
Culture change not climate change.