In my last post, I gave a hint as to the direction I am starting out on in my pursuit of helping our society adjust to the realities of a changing climate. I mentioned that my first steps will be towards creating a credible, reliable, up-to-date, well known, trusted source of information for the layman on the realities of climate change, relating that back to day-to-day life and the effects of the decisions we all make. It would be presented in cogent laymen’s terms, so you don’t need a scientific background to be able to understand. It would need to link through to the scientific research demonstrably, so as to have that credibility and allow an interested reader to check the facts for themselves, and to read further.
That feels like a good direction in which to start.
But … I do feel like a toddler, learning their first steps in what is, let’s face it, a very complicated area. No one wants climate change to be real, whatever they believe about the science.
So I’m starting out on my journey, fully aware that the route will be difficult, and with my eyes wide open to the possibility of changing course or even the destination. It is for me a true adventure.
To that end, I have discussed my idea with a number of people, to get their reaction and see where that takes me.
The first person I talked to (other than family) was Prof Chris Rapley MBE, former director of the Science Museum, former head of the Antarctic Survey and current professor of earth sciences at UCL. I’d read his article in the FT as a call to action for the science community to step up a gear and actively promote the science on climate change, and then his letter in Nature magazine along similar lines. We’d met previously at an event at St-Martin-In-The-Fields with the Environment Audit Committee. His feedback was simple – the website I was describing could be part of the jigsaw, but the idea needs tightening up. He suggested I talk to those that currently provide similar sorts of information and see what they think is missing.
So that was my plan; is still my plan.
Next person I spoke to was Matt Gitsham, who is Director of the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability at Ashridge Business School. He’s a friend, someone I’ve met via Transition Town Berkhamsted. His feedback was that when selling the idea of doing something about climate change, the tack has changed in general to describing how money can be made from a more sustainable approach. He also described the similarities between kicking our addiction to fossil fuels, and kicking an addiction to any drug – but that is a subject of another post.
Then I spoke to Patrick Hort, Director of Savoy Systems (providing ticketing software to cinemas and theatres). He’d been thinking about this area a lot, and his feeling was that a positive message as to the fantastic quality of life we could have if we moved to a more sustainable future would be the way to go, i.e. to try to make sustainability sexy. Wise words; and quite different to my ideas of spelling out the seriousness of not doing so. Is there room for both?
Most recently, I spoke with Mark Stevenson, comedian, public speaker, author and entrepreneur. He has a grand vision of the future, and suggested that maybe the right way forward would be to concentrate on transitioning Berkhamsted to the emerging future, in a way that it could be held up as a beacon of what can be achieved. He may be right.
So – what shall I do? Answers on a postcard, or better still comment on this post. I’m going to carry on walking this road and talking to people, and I’m sure the way forward will crystalize along the way. As I said, a real adventure!