My thoughts go out to all those people in Cumbria, where 5000 homes and businesses have been devastated by freak floods. Three months’ worth of rain in one day just isn’t right.

In the same week in Beijing, smog has been so intense that they’ve closed schools and factories. It’s the first ever “Red Alert” under their four-tiered warning system and it just goes to show, even though treaties have been signed to limit pollution, they are not doing much good so far.

I can’t help but think the two incidents go hand in hand.

Global warming is a big worry, just as acid rain was – and the hole in the ozone layer prior to that. Before these issues came to light, in the 70s, scientists were worried about global cooling. At the time, the consensus was that global cooling would usher in unprecedented drought and famine…they even thought the oceans would freeze solid.

Things change. Since then, the concern is about carbon levels rising and polar ice caps melting. There is loads of evidence that global warming is taking place – just check out the NASA website for a list of our sick planet’s symptoms – higher sea levels, warmer oceans, polar ice caps melting, mountain glaciers shrinking and increased acidity in our oceans.

Despite all the evidence, there is a hardcore of climate change deniers (they hate being called that!) who reckon that facts like, “all ten of the warmest years in terms of global surface temperature have been in the last 12 years”, have been falsified.

If that’s true, it’s a scandal of epic proportions, maybe the biggest that science has ever seen.

An environmental blogger named Paul Homewood somehow got access to the raw data from some Paraguayan weather stations. South America is often touted as one of the areas warming at the fastest pace, and graphs are regularly published to corroborate this view – and they always support the core narrative, that our planet is heating up on a very steep curve.

But when Homewood had a crack at the raw data himself, he found that Paraguay had in fact had periods of overall cooling that were swept under the carpet and got scrubbed off the official published charts.

Of course, this could be bullshit in itself.

Maybe the guy’s always been a climate change denier; maybe he’s been paid off by them, they are well funded bunch. You could maybe argue that global warming is a myth and a scam to get us all to buy new cars and catalytic converters . Or it was conceived to create a whole new industry: renewable energy. Or even that climate change is a ruse, where tariffs on carbon production are just a cynical way for developed nations to stop lesser developed economies catching up through their own late-blooming industrial revolutions.

All of that could have a ring of truth to it, potentially.

But whether global warming is real or not is beside the point really.

What is much more pertinent is this: We are guests on this planet, not freeholders. Earth was here before us, it’ll be here long after us. Environmental concerns shouldn’t major on thinking, “what sort of world we hand over to our children?”

It’s bigger than that.

For too long, humans have lived like parasites on this beautiful amazing planet we’re so lucky to have the chance to exist on. We didn’t inherit it; we are renting it. And if you’re renting a place, you have to ask the landlord before redeveloping. Much of the greenhouse gas emission stems from land change, from deforestation and tree-clearing for agriculture (where, in developed countries at least, we waste a massive percentage of the fruits of that land!! We wouldn’t do that if we thought about what the landlord would say!!).

While I hope the global warming deniers are right, I strongly suspect that they are not. If we are putting record levels of carbon into the atmosphere, then that’s going to have a detrimental effect. It’s obvious pollution is horrific – just look back a few generations, at the average life expectancy in industrialised towns in the 1800s – 25 and 30 in Liverpool and Manchester, respectively – compared with a ripe old 81.5 years in these modern days of smog-free British skies.

We know catalytic converters and cleaner power station technology helped stop acid rain – the evidence for that seems pretty solid. Let’s hope the Climate Change conference in Paris results in in stricter regulations – laws with a little bite to go with the all the bark.

Let’s hope the Climate Change conference in Paris results in stricter regulations – laws with a little bite to go with all the bark. The world leaders though are not the real solution… you and I are.

Yes, it is actually consumers that have the real power as the leaders in politics and industry are so hungry for our pounds and dollars that actually when we spend or nor it is the greatest leverage of all.

So I urge us to watch where we spend. Look at the company behind the product. Does that fast food provider destroy the forests to grow grass for burger cows? Does that tinned tuna provider rape the seas and destroy millions of other fish to sell you that tin? Does that multi-national conglomerate advocate and sell chemicals that actually seriously poison the soil and the water after it has been sprayed on that corn in order to sell us that cereal cheaply? Does that habit of leaving the tap running help us when the water is desperately precious in many parts of the world? Does that habit of leaving the heating on because we don’t like waiting whilst it warms up help with millions of us consuming and wasting power whilst we do it?

I urge us all. It is you and I that have more power…. Let us exercise it and make responsible changes. You have children and probably grandchildren… if we side step and look for blame and excuse ourselves from tightening these habits – well it is actually us that destroy our Grandchildren’s future.

Thank You.

photo credit: <a href=”″>United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP15 – Copenhagen, Denmark</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


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