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26th Jan, 2022

ECO ACTION: 'Climate change deniers will blame you for not doing enough' - Bromsgrove XR

Bromsgrove Editorial 2nd Oct, 2021

THIS month’s Eco Action column is provided by Bromsgrove Extinction Rebellion.

Bromsgrove Extinction Rebellion held three stalls on the High Street this summer.

While generally well-received, we sometimes hear loaded questions like ‘did you use petrol to bring your stall here?’ or ‘Is your banner made of plastic?’

The reality is we are ALL hypocrites. We are guilty of living our lives in a fossil fuel-driven system that knows nothing but relentless growth, consumption, ecological destruction and waste. That is why XR calls on governments and corporations, not individuals, to take the lead in making the systemic changes needed to stop catastrophic climate change.

For 30 years, vested interests and their supporters in fossil fuel industries have denied their contribution to man-made climate change.

Often funding so-called research agencies masquerading as neutral organisations, they seek to retain public support for fossil-fuelled ‘business as usual’ by spreading doubt about scientists’ warnings.

But man-made climate change is now so obvious and overwhelming only a tiny minority of eccentrics still refuse to recognise it.

Deniers now try to blame YOU for the problem – flying, driving, meat-eating or heating your home. They say the solution starts with YOUR lifestyles, distracting attention from the core issue – continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

Lifestyle -shaming will become climate change deniers’ new sport – pointing the finger of hypocrisy at scientists and activists who pursue climate-damaging aspects of their lifestyles whilst urging others to make changes. It is just a distraction.

We can all still do our bit for the environment. Keep Bromgrove Beautiful’s army of volunteer litter pickers do a fantastic job clearing discarded waste.

Everyone gets frustrated by the inconsiderate minority wilfully throwing litter on streets rather than disposing it responsibly.

But blaming these people is also not the solution. Business and government need to change the economic system which produces so much wasteful and polluting packaging. We need to tackle social attitudes and belief things can be just thrown away – without these changes, litter-pickers’ work will never be done.

As November’s COP26 climate summer approaches we can all demonstrate our commitment to tackling climate change through our own lifestyle choices. But that will not be nearly enough. We need governments to come together to take a decisive lead in tackling the crisis on a global scale.

Meanwhile, deniers will continue to blame you for the problem, hoping to persuade you the costs of change are too expensive and sacrifices too great.

Taking action now will be far less costly than the longer-term impact of inaction as recent floods, wildfires, drought and famine have clearly warned us.

Visit the XR Bromsgrove Facebook page or xrworcs.org.uk/local-groups/ for more

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