I first became aware of the state of the climate emergency this summer, due to the heat wave across Europe. It was scorching (relatively!) in Britain,, and then one day on twitter I saw a map of the whole world swathed in red. The heat wave was global. It wasn’t on the news, but it left me alarmed, and needing to know more. I am fortunate to work in a university, although not on climate science, but with free and easy access to lots of journals and experienced in trying to wade through reams of different arguments about any given topic. What I read soon terrified me.
I am a mother of two, one 10, one 15, and I wept. My beautiful, loving, innocent children, whom I had carried with huge love and care to life, were not going to see adulthood. I thought of quitting my job, and starting camping to save the earth for children. I would call it climate action now. I read and read more across the web, about climate change ligation by children in the US, about the history of arguments in academia about carbon dating of tree rings, about what the human effects of living with heat are (horrifying). If Brexit was a nightmare form which we in the UK were wishing to wake up from, here was one with far more round consequences.
I told anyone who would listen, other guests at our hotel in France, my wider family (general reaction: not important, ‘brexit is more urgent’ ‘we don’t believe in climate change, so and so’s father worked with satellites and says it’s all rubbish’).
Amazed, and disappointed in how steadfast in their ignorance many people are, I have just become more sad and more alarmed. I am following XR avidly and joining in as I can, although not yet on a major demo. I find it hard as a full time working mother, as all my ‘free’ time is spent on chores like finding lost PE kit, cooking, shifting kids around etc., but. I hope to very soon. I have thought of walking the length of the country, stopping at every door to talk to people, and wondered how long it would take me. My husband and children soon said they would help. I still may, if I can work out how to get the time off work (difficult). My dream is to see Richard Curtis make a ‘Notting Hill’ or ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ style movie with the XR message at its heart. There are many out there who simply have no idea, and no wish to know, what’s going, because everyone feels so powerless these days. But we must get the message out to the mainstream, to the school run mums who leave engines idling, to the people buying huge diesel 4 x 4s because they make them look rich, to the shoppers going out buying plastic objects for Christmas that will end up in landfill and polluting our seas. Stop, I want to say, stop.
I have woken, many nights, profoundly sad, and gone to my tablet to read more.