The year the world woke up
What’s so special about 2019? Well, I have a little feeling that this is the year of the tipping point.
Here are some dates for you - 55 BC, 1066, 1605, 1815. My guess is that you’ll be acutely aware of their historical significance. (If history wasn’t your strongest subject at school, don’t worry. The answers are at the end). Now, the purpose of this article is to propose a new, and just as significant year for the annals of history. Throw yourself forward 50 years. You’re listening in to a class of 11-year -olds dutifully reciting their dates in history -
“55 BC, The Romans invade Britain. 1066, The Battle of Hastings. 1605, The Gunpowder Plot. 1815, The Battle of Waterloo”
The final chant you hear will be - “2019, The Year the World Woke Up.”
What’s so special about 2019? Well, I have a little feeling that this is the year of the tipping point. Sure, for decades now, certainly since the early 1980’s, scientists and activists have been warning us of climate change, pollution and their probable consequences. Successive governments across the globe (most notably, the most powerful regime of all, the USA), have either poo-pooed the evidence or paid wafer-thin lip-service to addressing it.
World conferences have come and gone. ‘Meaningful declarations’ have been signed. However, world leaders, keen to keep fossil-fuel lobbyists on-side, have taken little real, significant action. True, there have been exceptions - the EU has, more recently, been taking the crisis seriously. For the most part, the big powers have shown negligible interest.
A sea change
So, what’s different about 2019?
A feller called Shakespeare, in his play, The Tempest, coined a phrase which neatly defines what we might, just might, be witnessing now
‘A sea change … something rich and strange’.
A neat and appropriate turn of phrase. After all, the wondrous expanse of ocean that comprises 70% of our planet’s surface, is, some would say, the most dangerously sick of our earthly organs.
Let’s look at 6 events that point towards 2019 being the year the world at last cast off decades of slothful complacency and took the first faltering steps towards salvation.
- Greta Thunberg
This remarkable Swedish climate change warrior has achieved arguably more than anyone else in forcing us to face the fragility of our immediate futures. Through inspiring a series of global schoolchildren strikes, Greta has shown us that we have one chance to save the planet for her generation - and that chance is now.
- David Attenborough
At the opposite end of the age spectrum to Greta Thunberg, Attenborough has presented dozens of remarkable, award-winning TV series on nature. We’ve marvelled at the extraordinary and touching beauty of his films. Environmental issues have never been far away, but they’ve played second fiddle to the depiction of the animal and plant kingdoms at their most wondrous. Climate Change - The Facts is different. Maybe Attenborough has saved his best till last. This film is brutal in its assessment of the earth’s condition. No stones are left unturned. No punches are pulled.
- An end to plastic straws, cotton buds and plastic wet wipes.
After years of threatening the existence of many species of marine life, these symbols of 21st-century consumerist waste, seem close to facing extinction. Governments are increasingly banning or restricting their use.
- Progress in fossil fuel reduction.
Several enlightened nations are announcing significant strides towards cutting back their use of fossil fuels. Take the UK as an example - The National Grid has announced that this year they’re confident that, for the first time, over 50% of energy production will come from renewable energy resources.
- Extinction Rebellion
“We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis - scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making”. Tough talk from the inspirational new worldwide movement dedicated to shocking governments into decisive and immediate action. Through a series of highly public occupations, marches, sit-ins and demonstrations, this new organisation enacts and advocates ‘non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.’ Among their achievements has been the emergence of …
- Climate Emergencies
Throughout the world cities, regions, whole nations are declaring climate emergencies. These declarations commit local or national governments to targeted dates for carbon neutrality. They also define the means by which these targets will be achieved.
- And, I hope, the launch of Beyond Carbon Neutral - an organisation bringing together small businesses committed to neutralising their carbon footprint.
There’s only one time … now!
Since the 90s, the Earth’s surface temperature has risen nearly 1°C because of increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Although 1°C might not seem like the most alarming figure, in 2016 scientists predicted that if the earth’s temperature rose any more than 2°C, the atmospheric balance would be so out of kilter that human life would become difficult to sustain – we’re already half-way there!
Transform your business into a carbon-neutral, environmentally conscious operation. Now is the time to do it. There will be no other time. Strike while the iron’s hot, and before the world gets even hotter…
I hope that you will join us. Find out how by clicking here.