My name is John Bell. I am a father and am happily married, have a mortgage, a “normal” 9 to 5 job (working in the rail industry). So far so normal, so everyday.
Until recently. I have done something unthinkable – I have quit my job. I have no other job to go to, and didn’t leave due to stress and was not pushed. In the current economic climate, why would someone leave a comfortable, steady job, especially with a young family and no other earnings in the household?
For me the reason was that I have become more and more aware of the dangers of climate change, and more and more aware of the ineffectual nature of the response that we are making as a species to this incredible threat. I can’t just carry on as normal, be one of those zombies traipsing to work every day, being a cog in the system that perpetuates this potentially disastrous sequence of events. I just wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t do something about it.
I have just read a very short article in the London Metro describing an interview that Prince Charles did on ITV’s This Morning recently. He evidently feels exactly the same. I have been involved with the Transition movement for the last few years, and know many others who feel similarly. I have also talked to many people, many other ordinary folk, and have realised that the vast majority are not aware of the reality of the problem, not aware of the extent of the potential damage or of the changes we will need to make. Either that or they are aware, but do not believe in their own ability to do anything meaningful about it.
So, I have resolved to put my back into trying to change that. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I am starting out on it with optimism and my head held high.
My starting point is to create a well-known, credible source of day-to-day information on climate change and the effects of our actions as individuals, available for the layperson. I’ll be getting I touch with people who currently provide this sort of information, and those that use it, to see what’s missing and how we can work together.
Wish me luck, and follow me via this blog, or on Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you to understand what you think, so please do drop me a line and let me know – good or bad.
PS – There is a very good reason I can afford to take this step. The steps I have taken to keep the imprints of my shoes as light as possible have meant little in terms of the life I lead, but a lot in terms of the savings in my pocket. As a family we use relatively little gas, electricity and water, walk and cycle when we can, grow our own food and holiday in this country. Crucially, we try not to throw anything away if there is more life in it. This means we live well within our means, and as a result I can afford to step out of the rat-race and my run-of-the-mill job and spend time on those things that really matter in life. Could you do the same?
Good on yer!
My money is on climate change at this stage!
That’s only because it’s had a head start!
Good luck John. I remember your GCSE geography project on rising sea levels (I remember thinking: “I thought we had to measure river flows — not interesting stuff). Right now, I’m a little pessimistic about climate change mitigation. Over the next half century, I can see natural gas largely displacing coal for electricity generation, but getting much to happen beyond that will be difficult I think.
You are probably right – but you have to start somewhere. Remember that power generation is only a small part of the overall issue – there’s transport, consumption.
I think the rate of change is, although very slow, accelerating and there is space for postive folk to drive this change. “Leaders” will inspire “inteligent and soulful” change but for the moment the only mainstream show in town is the “greening” of a still unsustainable economy.
Have you come across the small but beatifully formed SuperHomes (www.superhomes.org.uk) movement?
John, good luck to you and your family on your journey!
I have come across Superhomes, yes – there was a stuttering initiative to promote superhomes within Transition Town Berkhamsted. Thank you for the thoughtful words.
Nice one John! Good luck – can I call you Tom Good? 😉
Here’s to your success my friend….
I look forward to following what you are doing and gaining inspiration. Any reductions in terms of greenhouse gas emissions are displaced by raising consumption so we need a new approach for sure. Good luck.
If this is ‘ordinary’, may we all strive for the ordinary.
It’s an underestimated state.
Thanks John, and well done
Trevor – do you want both of your comments approved? Thanks for the kind words!
One will do,John – take your pick…
Good luck John and family, you are an inspiration to us all.
With you all the way John! Well done & good luck!