A List of Things that Need To Be Done to Tackle the Climate Emergency
Last week I published a list of things that we can do as individuals in the wake of our climate emergency. People often say they feel too small and don’t know what they can do to make a difference.
The list of things to do is supposed to help. However, as stated at the end of the article, few of those actions will have any actual effect unless those responsible for the crisis or those in power respond to them.
As governments start to take note that there actually is a climate emergency on our hands, it is more important than ever that our demands to tackle said emergency be tangible and decisive.
This new list identifies the industries and entities at the forefront of climate inaction and proposes the following to be demanded of each one.
In light of this list, ask yourself how the current demands of mainstream environmental groups are going to tackle each or any of these causes. If you can’t see how a grid transition to renewable energy is going to tackle deforestation, say, then you may want to start thinking about some of the following demands listed in relative order of urgency.
1. Enact law of Ecocide
We may not be such a far cry from enacting the law of ecocide; a project that seeks to condemn ecologically damaging activities and demand compensation on behalf of affected frontline communities. This week, Ecuador's Waorani tribe won their own legal battle against the government to have destroyed much of their livelihoods and the ecosystems they depend on via oil companies. Such victories should be championed by a framework that stands for environmental justice and not costly and lengthy legal struggles.
Enacting the law of ecocide comes first on the list as enacting such an all encompassing law would entail securing all the other demands cited below.
2. Ban soy and palm
Soy is often shipped from the Brazilian Amazon to the USA and other countries where it is then fed to homegrown cattle and actual cow meat is also imported from Brazil to Europe. If we can ban the import of wildlife products such as ivory on the grounds that they cause extinction, we should be able to do so for agricultural products that do the same.
Like ivory, neither our economy nor our health have any dependence on soy or palm. Orangoutangs are set to go extinct in ten years due to unnecessary palm oil demand. Where public outcry has failed us, we must either ban imports or increase the cost of these products at the very least.
3. Tax meat and dairy
Not only should cruelty cost more, but so should extinction. Lifestyle changes and boycotts are ineffective in a global industry. The majority of consumers must be dissuaded from paying the price of extinction causing products. What is more, the industry itself must be heavily taxed.
4. Create no fishing zones.
Overfishing cannot be overlooked as an accelerator of extinction. Simply banning trawling and restricting the catch of certain species does little to prevent fishermen exceeding their quotas and the illegal bycatch of keystone marine species.
Vast areas of international water need to be declared off limits such as the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary and rigorously patrolled.
5. Subsidise organic farms (and end non organic farm subsidies)
Buying organic is an economic privilege in most countries. This is because producing organic food is more labour intensive, right? No. If organic farmers could compete with non organic farmers, they would. The problem is that non organic farmers get all the subsidies with the argument that their greater yields mean more food. However, this is clearly not the solution to hunger. If we want sustainable and widesperad organic food production we are going to have to demand support for it.
6. Ban plastic use, sale & production
In recent weeks, more and more countries and cities have been introducing plastic bans.
But it doesn't stop there.
So far Kenya is leading the way in plastic prohibition with a penalty fine of $38,000 for manufacturers, importers and distributors and a potential four years in prison.
7. Set airlines a legal limit of one daily flight per destination
There are currently a staggering 1,300 daily flights in and out of Heathrow airport and all five terminals together have a total of 180 destinations. We should work to getting that number down to one flight a day for each of those destinations, and in the case of less popular destinations, perhaps a weekly charter.
This means planning and booking ahead. There is no place for empty airplane seats in 2021. It should be a full flight or no flight. Airlines must adapt. Clients will follow suit.
8. Ban fracking
Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a fossil fuel dependent industry that perforates the Earth with a combination of toxic chemicals in order to extract shale gas from shale rocks under the Earth's surface, meanwhile contaminating groundwater.
The UK's environment minister Michael Gove continues to endorse fracking as a means of transitioning away from fossil fuels. This spells great irony. Call it out!
9. Demand a solar panel for every home.
Mark Lambrides, the director of Global Energy and Infrastructure at The Nature Conservancy, highlights the threat of installing renewable energy infrastructure in areas that could otherwise be replenished biodiversity habitats. He cites examples where this has been done right in Germany, 'where over 30,000 wind turbines have been deployed, largely on existing agricultural lands, and zero-impact rooftop solar power has been mounted on more than 120,000 rooftops.’
As all degraded lands have the potential to become replenished biodiversity habitats, it is only logical that all solar power should be generated from people’s homes where no interference can be made with Earth’s prairies and potential forests.
Other demands of the renewables industry include decentralising the grid matrix and powering only establishments within a radius of plants (e.g. constructing wind farms adjacent to the same hamlets that benefit from them) as opposed to generating power for nationwide grids.
10. Make green walls and urban farming spaces mandatory
We not only require green spaces in urban environments but actual living, breathing buildings. This demand cannot provide a pretext for city expansion, however the already built environment must be enabled to draw back Co2.
The old model of bringing food in from the outside is at the forefront of environmental depletion. As populations grow relentlessly and mainly in cities, certain resources such as food need to be obtainable from the inside.
200 SPECIES WENT EXTINCT TODAY
Our climate demands have to include the number one drivers of extinction, which means focussing on more than just powering human civilization and salvaging the remaining biomass on Earth.
What would you add to this list?