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.
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?