On Earth Day, 22nd April 2019, GW members tried to live for 24 hours without power. They met up that evening to exchange thoughts.
Here’s a report from Neil Winship:
Re: not using mains-electricity for the day, it being warm and light till late, it was no great hardship ~ certainly compared to 5 – 8 day outages that Sue & I endured in Khartoum!
All five of us acknowledged that XR is being well-behaved and remarkably organised but we didn’t know its forthcoming plans.
I have felt that XR & Jem Bendell should acknowledge that the poor in the under-developed economies are already suffering, while wealthy and safe communities like ours, whose use of fossil fuel has already caused Global Warming of about 1 C and set the World on a now-inevitable course for over 1.5 – 2 C, are still being profligate in energy use.
Again, personally I contend that we British have been clearly and publicly warned by the scientists of the IPCC, UEA & Hadley Centre, The Royal Society et al with increasing confidence ever since 1992;: And then told by our own politicians and Government unequivocally since The Stern Report of 2007 and the cross party Climate Change Act of 2008, that we should change, alleviate and mitigate thorough economising on our lifestyle habits. So it is a travesty now to assert we have not been warned and to blame everyone else bar ourselves as individuals and communities; It seems the great majority of UK voters have blithely continued ‘life as normal’ albeit with some claiming they are doing their share by changing to LEDs, adding some loft insulation and recycling the easy ‘stuff.’ Meanwhile we blame greedy corporations, the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians and others whose per-capita COe emissions remain very much lower than ours.
I have come to feel that XR is usefully opening up ‘political space’ but I very much hope that they don’t merely criticise ‘The UK Government’ in a way that seems to have stemmed from our national over-reliance on publicly-funded welfare and avoidance of individual and personal responsibilities by those not really in need of Beveridge’s safety-net(s). While the Departments of Work & Pensions, Education and Health plus the local authorities have many and complex rules, there is little doubt that some individuals ‘fall through the safety net’ so need help from charities, neighbours and food-banks. We don’t know numbers of false-claimants, which is probably quite small, but they are effectually stealing from those in genuine need at home and overseas. Evidently, most if not all particular UK service-groups assert they need more resources but few if any ever acknowledge they have enough!
I conclude this section by suggesting that while our Welfare State has achieved a great deal of common good since 1944, it is better to allow a reasonable degree of individual, familial, community and corporate generosity or meanness! rather than to tax the UK population and businesses sufficiently to fund all expressed needs. The relevance of this to Climate Change and XR is that individuals and groups in UK have a moral responsibility to “live more simply so others can simply live” and they should not expect “Our Government'” to shoulder the burden without sacrificial relinquishment by most of us. Besides, Climate Change is a UNIVERSAL CHALLENGE which no single or even group of national economies can solve alone:
Our Earth – or Common Home – needs
to set a universal price on ‘Carbon’,
an independent, international monitoring and enforcement authority, and
a truly equitable world market for emissions’ permits.
It is simplistic and naïve to hope and expect that civil disobedience and the righteous appeals of the young and idealists can obviate the need for those three, extremely challenging actions. Those who are literate and able to assimilate and understand the science and the unavoidable economic factors have a humanitarian duty and/or a God-fearing obligation to do so and not succumb to the temptation to hide their heads in day-to-day busyness.
Betsy Reid also mentioned about six eminently desirable and achievable environmental actions that Greener Waldringfield might propose to Waldringfield Parish Council and/or the District or County Council. It was suggested that where applicable, and in view of Suffolk County Council’s recent declaration of a Climate Change State of Emergency, those actions should be set out and, where appropriate, submitted to the forthcoming SCC Policy Development Panel, perhaps through Cllr Elfrede Bramley-Crawshaw. With the imminent Council elections and the period of purdah, there may be a tendency to postpone the major challenge of devising, studying and then agreeing policies towards Suffolk achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2030.
The UNFCC, IPCC and David Attenborough have all warned that the present window of opportunity to restrict global warming to under 2 C is a mere 11 years. It will be a tragedy if Suffolk fails to contribute expeditiously.