Be the Change

Decision time. Off we go. Over the top. I’m going to concentrate on showing what can be done and how that is an improvement over the status quo. I’m going to focus my time in Berkhamsted with the Transition Town. In that way we can get on with making the necessary changes without the need to butt up against climate change dogma (pro or anti).

Berkhamsted - small

I will publicise what we do to show to the wider world what is possible. Optimistically, this will give others who want to do the same an example to draw upon and the motivation to take steps forward themselves. Pessimistically, it will highlight how our systems are geared up to stall progress. Either way, it will be a move forward.

At the same time, I recognise that motivating around benefits only might not provide the pace of change needed. When Hitler was threatening to invade Britain, Churchill didn’t motivate us to build lots of spitfires by extolling the economic benefits to the aerospace industry (although it did have that side effect).

So I will do my own research into quantifying the effects of climate change and what the size of the response needed will look like. I will engage with individuals and organisations to see what can be done to provide an unbiased, objective, peer reviewed source of information that is known as the place to go for information on climate change.

To publicise widely I will use social media as per this blog and will expand the audience of the blog via my new contacts with other organisations. I’ve got some ideas for publicity stunts to draw attention – how about a mass walk to London, or a very public open bet on the reality of climate change?

I will also need to start earning some money to allow me to keep going with my personal change of lifestyle. To that end, I have established a small company in an unrelated industry (passenger demand forecasting for the UK rail industry) to put bread on the table.

All in all, the aim is to get on with the move to a low-carbon future, and to show just how attractive that future is. I’m looking forward to it, are you?

I’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.  Last chance to influence!

John Bell,

Ordinary bloke


5 thoughts on “Be the Change

  1. Sounds good John. An opportunity to work locally with an existing organisation to further their goals as well as yours. Spending time raising awareness of solutions to problems. How will you achieve becoming THE source of information on climate change? Would contributing to an existing one be more realistic? If you could generate new, interesting and engaging material then you may be able to submit articles to existing websites such as New Scientist, BBC, Met Office, DEFRA, NASA etc. They should have budgets for correspondents. 🙂 David

    • I was originally thinking that I’d set up this source (see the adventure begins) but I’ve changed tack after discussion and thought.

      There isn’t a clear front runner for the definitive source of information on climate change, so I plan to get in touch with the individuals and organisations that currently provide information on the subject and see what I can do to get them to work together.

      My idea a few weeks ago was to talk to Wikipedia about setting up a peer-reviewed arm of their resource, but I will be happy to be lead by the current providers as to the best way forward.

  2. Hey John, I love the fact that you’re doing this, I think it’s brilliant and we need more people who are up for this kind of challenge!

    As someone who works on cc professionally, I’d go along with Dan’s line of thinking with regards to the info source. There’s an awful lot of stuff happening out there already, including pretty authoritative sources of information presented in accessible ways. Where I think our biggest challenge lies is not in information on what’s happening, nor quantification of this, nor indeed solutions to the problem, but how to overcome the inherent inertia in a complex social and economic system, and deal with the vested interests that (to a concerningly large extent) fund and run it.

    That’s at the macro level, and at the individual level: how to overcome an individual person’s inertia to change in a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario where you can’t see the effects of your actions and those who limit their own actions (e.g. forego short haul flights for holidays) may take a knock to their personal wellbeing and those who don’t and contribute to exacerbating climate change, get off scot free (and enjoy a nice city break on the continent with no guilt thank you very much!). This is enhanced by the fact that each individual’s action is inevitably small and when people hear on the news about what’s happening in China with a new coal-fired power plant every fortnight they become understandably downhearted.

    In that context… I love your idea of really making Transition Town Berkamstead work as a viable model for an alternative way of living, that doesn’t contribute to climate change; one that people can get enthusiastic about because it shows it IS possible to overcome personal and social/economic inertia. This would be very inspiring and a great way to direct your energies. Futerra, the communications consultancy, has done some great work on behaviour change relating to climate change, I recommend checking out their website.

    Whatever you decide, good luck! I’d be happy to chat to you on the phone about all of this stuff, I certainly don’t have all the answers but I’ve done plenty of thinking about it 🙂 I think you’ve got my number. I’m off on maternity leave at the moment so I’ve got some time to give things some thought if that helps at all.

  3. Pingback: A year of climate change news in 400 words | John Bell vs Climate Change (currently 15,148-35 to Climate Change)

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