Climate change
are we at last seeing some action
or am I being a little naive?

“The Problem of Global Climate Change is one that affects us all and action will only be effective if it is taken at an international level.

"It is no good squabbling over who is responsible or who should pay.

"Whole areas of our planet could be subject to droughts and starvation if the patterns of rainfall and monsoons where to change due to the destruction of rainforests and the accumulation of greenhouse gasses.”

That is a short extract from a speech made by a person more associated with uncompromising capitalist politics, union bashing and taking Britain to war in the Falklands, than with radical environmentalism.

The speech was given 30 years ago to the General Assembly of the United Nations, by Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of the Western World.

Margaret Thatcher's speech

Margaret Thatcher

It is a speech that, with admittedly a little editing, could have been delivered at the recent Climate Extinction Rebellion protest in London.

It was a speech that made the world sit up and take note.

It was a speech that made those of us involved in environmental activity, breath a collective sign of relief. Our efforts had not been in vain. The World was going to be saved.

The Last 30 Years

It would be wrong to say that nothing has been done in the intervening 30 years.

We don’t talk about Acid Rain any more. Not because it no longer exists. It does. But because in the rich west at least, the problem had been greatly diminished thanks to increased air pollution regulations.

What happened to Acid Rain

Ozone depletion is no longer the focus of mass campaigns by Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace or any of the other ‘uncooperative crusties*’ who live in their ‘hemp-smelling bivouacs*.” Again, not because there isn’t a hole in the Ozone Layer anymore. There is. But because the removal of chlorofluorocarbons from fridges and freezers, from hair spray canisters and spray paint, from furniture polisher and from foam rubber for children’s toys, has meant that the hole is not only not getting any bigger, it is repairing itself. It should get back to it’s pre 1980 levels by 2075. Not brilliant, but the best, it seems, that we can do.

*Boris Johnson

Ozone depletion

Couch to Madrid Marathon in 100 days!

 Guy is taking on the his biggest running challenge yet to raise funds for Hothouse Theatre projects.

Having spent months building a physique that Jabba the Hutt would have been proud of (Star Wars reference in case you didn’t know), during an extend winter solstice celebration, Guy finally crawled off his potato couch and got into training ... with only 100 days to go ... for the Madrid Marathon!!

It's going to be hilly! It's going to be hot!! It’s going to hurt!!!

And that is just the training!

Don’t let all that pain be in vain ...

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There have also been developments improving insulation of homes, the design of electric vehicles and significant developments in renewable energy production.

The environment has become an integral part of the manifesto of almost every political party.

We are more aware, at least of the rhetoric, of environmental politics.

It would be unfair to say that nothing has changed.

But ...

You knew that was coming didn’t you?

But still CO2 levels increase.

CO2 Levels

Still the rainforest gets chopped and even burnt down at an alarming rate.

Rainforest Deforestation and its Effects

Still the ice caps melt.

The Big Thaw

Resources are dragged out of the environment with no regard for the consequences.

Species we haven’t even encountered yet go extinct.

The Oceans are warming, becoming more acidic and full of plastic.

Latest review of science reveals ocean in critical state

And world leaders talk of unending economic growth in almost the same breath as they call for a move towards sustainability.

I have watched this sorry dance, from the sidelines, for many years now. And I have often found myself wondering how will things look when there is a genuine move towards real change.

I say when, because sooner or later, even if it is not until it is actually too late, there will be a change.

Well with climate scientist saying we have 10 years; not to stop Climate Change, it is too late for that, climate change is already here; but to avoid to worst consequences of Climate Change; it is sort of now or never.

So it has been interesting listening to various scraps of news; as we limp into a post Brexit, 3rd decade of the C21st; that might ... and the hardened cynic in me repeats the word 'might' ... just be the beginning of the real change that has to come.

So, Is Something Changing?

So what makes me think that anything substantial is actually changing?

I was lying in bed for the first two weeks of the year, suffering from a bout of sinusitis that just wouldn’t shift, not being much use to anybody, listening to the radio. I haven’t had a T. V. for more years than I can remember.

Now some of this will be a case of not much news to report, it being January and all and having to fill the endless hours that had been dedicated to Brexit coverage with something else, but I detected a sort of explosion of environmental/climate change items being chucked out.

I knew that Nottingham city Council had announced it’s intention to become the first carbon neutral city by 2028. But then I was informed that Glasgow had announced the same. Then Edinburgh. Then Manchester. Then that Birmingham and York are to ban cars from the city centre. Then Stirling pledges to become carbon neutral. Then Leicester, and Bristol.

Then the Government, that is the UK government, the UK Tory government, who have shown little interest in environmental policies, and have been an enemy to public transport for decades, announced £500 million to reopen some of the local railways closed in the 1960s.

All of this to a back drop of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Not heard of it? Davos is the gathering together of those who actually pull the strings. They have been doing it since 1971. Sort of in secret at first, but once people got to hear about it they had to make it public. Now they make a song and dance about it every year. Gathering together to the make the world a better place.

I suspect there is already another meeting organised, where the real powerful ones gather is secret again and pull a few different strings ... was that cynical?

There was David Attenborough telling them that it is now or never.

Attenborough at Davros

Prince Charles doing something similar.

Davos, Green Tax, Fairer Tax and the death of capitolism

And even Donald Trump, with a slight strain on his puckered lipped face, reluctantly agreeing to support the 1 trillion tree planting initiative.

Donald Trump Pledges 1 trillion trees

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So I lay there, in my snot snivelling, sinus aching state thinking, ‘is this what the beginnings of real change looks like’.

OK words are cheap. And words won’t stop the Ice Caps from melting.

But rhetoric is the basis of politics. And politics is about creating policy. And policy is how we humans change things ... well how we change things peacefully at least.

Maybe rhetoric, from the right people, at the right time, is what was needed.

When Margaret Thatcher got up in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations and said similar things to those being said now, she knew that long before the brown stuff hit the fan, she would be long gone. Well, she is. And so I suspect are just about everyone in the room when she spoke. For them it was always going to be someone else’s problem.

Maybe that is ultimately what is making the difference. Everyone committing to change now, knows that there is a strong probability that they will see the consequences of inaction at first hand. The buck, as the saying goes, stops here and now.

And that is why, at last, it is just possible that something is actually going to change.

Oh My Nottz is a HotHouse Theatre production. Co. No. 6505843 Charity No. 1154523. Tel 07963020259 email guy@hothousetheatre.com website www.hothousetheatre.com
The views expressed in Oh My Nottz are not necessarily those held by HotHouse Theatre.
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