A Manifesto for our time
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A Manifeto for our time
It is time to rethink how we live our lives. We can see all around the changes that are happening. The borders to our seas and oceans are changing. Floods, droughts, storms, fires, these impact every one of us to differing degrees, the worst events brought to us daily on our news screens. Scientists everywhere are united - it is our own actions and inactions that are causing so much damage to our climate. At this point there is no evidence of any improvement – quite the reverse in fact. So we must change the way we run our lives, nearly everything, to protect our world and our well-being for generations to come. As intelligent, inventive human beings we can be masters of our own destiny. But our destiny has been jeopardised by our actions over the last 150 years, without knowledge or understanding of the true impacts.
Over the next 10 years our key priorities must radically change. This change will upset the normal balance of our lives but change must happen. We must act decisively on all fronts – we cannot continue ignoring what is happening.
Our research and education establishments must prioritise climate change and the agricultural and industrial policies required to support our response to it. The causes and impacts of climate change must be accurately modelled. The measurement and survey of our existing environment, through better technology and innovation, must be vastly improved and expanded. Our Institutions are needed to plan and support delivery of the necessary changes to address the issues. Information must be introduced to the general public in clear language by our media. We all need to understand what it is we need to do, why, and how we can do it whilst protecting basic standards of living.
A true understanding of the optimal use and management of the entire land surface to bring about a decarbonised future is needed. Land use must then be transformed through incentives and legislation, through better agricultural practice, increased forestation, maintenance of peatland, less animal farming and use of land for biomass production. To protect our agricultural population, employment will be redirected, underpinned by health, welfare and educational support to enable such a transformation to happen.
100% of our energy needs must be delivered from renewable resources within 10 years. Electrified rail, light rail, metro and electric/hydrogen vehicle transportation infrastructure must be prioritised with all fossil fuel modes of transportation dis-incentivised through economic levers and eventually abolished. Legislation must readdress the state of existing housing environmental standards and new housing design.
Our basic measure of well-being, Gross Domestic Product, must be completely overhauled. Since market drivers alone will not deliver what we want, our economists must create appropriate measures around a Quality of Life that reflects the necessary future state of our nation. Carbon accounting will be central to these measures. The changes described here will require primary legislation, it is not possible to leave changes to market forces alone. It is vital however to support a basic standard of living for all and state institutions, health, welfare and education will need radical overhaul to provide a true, nation-wide support system.
We are inventive and invention may yet mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Alongside the changes identified above, innovation in carbon capture will also be required. But not so as to manage the on-going proliferation of fossil fuel usage, rather to diminish the existing stock of atmospheric carbon.
There are parts of our environment that are permanently changing and sadly there is little we can do to stop these. We will inevitably see increasing temperatures and dangerous climatic events. More and more parts of the world will be uninhabitable and people migrations from low-lying and hot areas will become much more common. Our priority now is to stop any more damage, to manage as best we can the inevitable changes and to try, as humans, to bring about a long-term reversal of our situation.
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