Here are Lynne’s notes on her session in October 2019 on climate change and our response.
How much do you know? I don’t think anyone got all 8 questions right on Sunday night.
Answers are given at the end of the quiz – no cheating!
1) What percentage of mammals,birds, fish and reptiles have been wiped out since 1970?
2) There are approximately 7.5 billion people living in the world today. How many people die each year as a result of pollution?
A 1.6 million
B 3. 9 million
C 5.4 million
D 7.3 million
3) How many companies are responsible for 35% of all current energy related CO2 emissions?
4 Which three countries accounted for almost half of all global emissions in 2017?
A China, USA and India
B China, Brazil and India
C India, USA and Brazil
D China, Germany and USA
5) Which country is on track to be carbon neutral by 2021?
B Costa Rica
6) When was the first academic paper published on the subject of climate change?
7) Leeds city council have declared a climate emergency and are aiming to reach carbon net zero by which year?
8) The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) published a special report in October 2018. The report had 91 lead authors and 137 contributing authors from 40 countries sourcing 30 000 academic papers.
The take home message from the report was that we absolutely need to stay below a 1.5 degree temperature increase. If we carry on with business as usual we will continue to see an increase in CO2 emissions; we’ve already experienced one degree of warming and we are on track to see a 3 to 4 degree temp increase which will be catastrophic for wildlife and humans. There will be food shortages, water shortages, sea level rise and a dramatic increase in climate refugees.There will be civil unrest and mass human displacement not just in far flung places but also closer to home for example large areas of Hull will be below sea level with this kind of temperature rise.
The IPCC report states that in order to stay safe side of a 1.5 degree temp rise we need to cut the planets CO2 emissions to 45% of 2010 levels. Basically, time is running out to sort this – how long does the IPCC think we have we got?
A 20 years
B 16 years
C 11 years
D 5 years
Q1 What percentage of mammals,birds, fish and reptiles have been wiped out since 1970?
Correct answer D- 60% (according to The WWF)
To put that in context, If there had been a similar decrease in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, China and Oceania of people) Species are becoming extinct 100 times faster than they would without human activities. We are living in the Sixth Mass Extinction.
It is estimated that 41% of amphibians and 26% of mammals are at risk of extinction.
Q2: There are approximately 7.5 billion people living in the world today. How many people die each year as a result of pollution?
Correct answer D 7.3 million people die each year due to pollution (according to The World Health Organisation) To bring that nearer to home 26 people die each day in London due to pollution.
Q3: How many companies are responsible for 35% of all current energy related CO2 emissions?
Correct answer C 20 companies. (according to an article in The Guardian) 17 of these companies are in the oil sector and include names such as BP and Shell.
Q4: Which three countries accounted for almost half of all global emissions in 2017?
Correct answer A China, USA and India.
Here’s the breakdown:China (27.2%), USA (14.6%), India (6.8%) (according to The visual capitalist 2019) China is also one of the forerunners in developing green technology. What about the UK? It contributes 1.1% of worldwide global emissions BUT let’s not forget that we have a carbon heavy history with the industrial revolution and we also provide financial services for many fossil fuel industries.
Q5: Which country is on track to be carbon neutral by 2021?
Correct answer is B Costa Rica. Currently 95% of its energy is from hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. Closer to home Scotland got 98% of its electricity from wind in October 2018. (source climate council.org)
Q6: When was the first academic paper published on the subject of climate change?
Correct answer D 1896 Svante Arrhenius made a link between human emissions of carbon leading to warming of temperatures although he thought this would be a good thing. We have known about this problem for a long time. Currently 98% of scientists agree that human actions have caused climate change.
Q7: Leeds city council have declared a climate emergency and are aiming to reach carbon net zero by which year?
Correct answer is B 2030. It’s a good target and we must hold them accountable. The UK government has declared a climate emergency following protests by extinction rebellion (XR) in April 2019 however plans are still a foot for airport expansions (Heathrow, City, Leeds Bradford). You can’t declare an emergency and then carry on as usual.
2025 is the target that XR are calling for. 2050 is what the current Tory government has proposed as their target.
Q8: Time is running out to sort this – how long does the IPCC think we have we got?
Correct answer is C 11 years (by 2030). We have 11 years left to reduce carbon emissions to 45% of 2010 levels and at the time of writing CO2 emissions are still rising. Avoiding catastrophe will require rapid far reaching and unprecedented changes in ALL aspects of society.
These are harrowing facts.
These numbers are so hard to digest it’s often easier to distance ourselves from them in order to avoid dwelling on the awful reality of climate change. It’s easier to get a cuppa turn on Netflix and plug into another reality (even if we choose a fictional dystopian one – what is that about?).
I have a friend called Nelson who lives in Northern Ghana. He is about my age and is married with four children who are slightly older than my own and for a job he is a literacy teacher working to help adults learn to read for the first time.
Recently his emails have started to include news about climate change and the effects it is having on his homeland. He has asked me to share this with you
“Dear Lynne & Paul,
Thank you for your concern and position on climate change. This is a catastrophic phenomenon which is besieging the world especially Africa where I feel the effect personally.
Yes, I will be happy to share these effects on our continent as best as I know with fellow Christians in your country. This year for instance the rains came very late for our farmers who are mostly peasant and practice only rain fed agriculture for just a single season of the year. Long ago when I was growing up the rains started as early as April and ended in October. Farmers started early and could cultivate different varieties of crops and had bumper harvests. Today rains start as late as June and is not even regular. Most peasant farmers could not crop due to late onset of rains this year. So as at July crops which were sown even late could not thrive well due to drought. Most of the crops especially maize withered away.
Today in October, a month which is supposed to be harvest time, we are experiencing more incessant rains which are rather making crops like maize to rot on the farms. Rains under normal conditions should be reducing now and not incessant as it is. This is the effect of the climate change. Weather forecast is no longer stable in nature. Farmers are actually confused about when to crop in my area.
I wish you and Paul all the best. I hope you can share these few insight about my own environment in the north-eastern part of Ghana, Africa.
In an earlier email Nelson said he thought it was highly likely that there would be famine in his region this year.
Bible reading and discussion
Reading – Matthew 25 31 – 40, the sheep and goats passage.
Discussion – Reading this passage in the light of climate change and the disproportionate effect it is already having on the poor… what is our response?
Extinction Rebellion and Christian Climate Action
Paul and I and all four of our children have signed up with XR as non arrestables (at the moment). Extinction Rebellion is a non violent civil disobedience movement which aims to cause disruption until those in power act on their demands.
The XR demands are simple:
On Sunday we spent some time thinking about what Tell the Truth and act as if the truth is real meant for us on a personal level.
What actions have we already taken in response to climate change?
What actions were we putting off either through financial constraints or due to the fact we didn’t want to make sacrifices to our current life styles.
We wrote our responses on post it notes (which I have now recycled) and these are the results.
Things some of us are already doing:
Reducing plastic use/pollution reduction
- Using reuseable shopping bags
- Using non plastic smaller bags for fruit and veg shopping
- Always carrying a spare plastic bag with me for reuse
- Using reuseable alternatives to cling film (wax sheets)
- Stopped using washing pods for the laundry
- Using plastic free litter trays for the cats
- Using as little single use plastic as possible
- Using bamboo toothbrushes
- Waste free toiletries
- Shampoo soap bars
- Carrying a reuseable water bottle when out
- Not buying plastic crap for the kids even when they’ve clamoured for it.
- Guppy bag in washing machine (I’m not sure what this is but would like to be enlightened)
- Eco friendly cleaning products
- Using a green energy supplier ( 9 people were doing this)
- Have installed solar panels
- Wash almost everything at 30 degrees
- Using compost collection (for people who want to compost but who don’t have a garden – ask LJ)
- Keeping chickens to reduce food waste
- Recycle as much as possible
- Use recycled toilet paper
- Only buying second hand clothes
- Buying some second hand clothes
- Buying second hand when possible
- Learning to upcycle clothes
- No foreign travel this year
- Only flown once in last 6 years
- Currently avoiding flying
- Not flying for pleasure, only for work.
- Have bought a shopping trolley so don’t take car shopping
- On waiting list for an electric car
- Have a low emissions car
- Have a hybrid car
- Shop locally (and organically when possible)
- Walk to the shops with a trolley
- Changed jobs – ditched my commute
- Gone down from 2 cars to 1 car (x4)
- Cycle to work (x4)
- Walk when possible rather than using car
- Walking more
- Walking to shops
- Car share when possible
- Avoid driving short distances
- Cycled to Harrogate for work most days for 11 years – 60,000 miles. (no prizes for guessing who this was)
- Reduced meat eating
- Trying to eat less meat
- Vegan diet and lifestyle
- Stopped eating beef, lamb, pork and chicken
- Cut down on meat and dairy
- Use plant based milk with my cereal
- Eat less meat
- Went veggie
- Bank with banks which have ethical investment policies – co op, Triodos (Revive has just switched to a Triodos account!)
- Owning shares in wind power
- Working for MP – getting involved with green issues.
- Signing petitions related to climate change
- Joining Christian Climate Action/XR
- Monthly support for organisations involved with the environment e.g. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Earth.
- EK is now Green Christian’s compiler and administrator for their monthly Prayer Guide https://greenchristian.org.uk/faith-and-hope/prayer-guide/
Other great stuff which I couldn’t categorise
- Plant trees
This is a fantastic list of behaviour changes that people in Revive have made in response to climate change. No one was doing all of these things and it’s important to acknowledge that some things on this list will not be possible for some of us to do.
Here’s the list of behaviour changes/actions that we are thinking about taking but for various reasons haven’t got round to it yet. Obviously there’s some overlap between the lists as we are all at different stages of responding to this climate crisis and we all have our own set of circumstances.
Things we are planning on doing:
- Become a labour councillor and help Leeds 2030 climate target. (Go Emma!)
- Teach my kids more about this.
- Become a carbon conversations facilitator
- Champion cycling at work
- Get refill shop in Headingley (was someone suggesting they might do this – or was this more of a wish?)
- Walk even if it is raining!
- Get a decent bike
- Walk more
- Get an electric car next time (x6)
- Not fly next year
- Take a family decision about not flying
- Reduce work air travel
- Skype meetings to avoid travel for work
- Not flying (sad face emoji)
- Maintain current car
- Get a more eco car
- Buy more second hand clothes
- Reusable tea bags (not sure where to put this!)
- Find a way of recycling cat food pouches
- Insulate our house better
- Change to electrical house heating
- Insulate under the floorboards
- Fit solar panels on house
- Solar panels on garage
- Heat pump based heating
- Replace gas boiler with electric
- Take fewer baths
- Stop eating meat (x2)
- Eat less meat
- No impulse purchasing
- Buy less stuff
- Buy products locally
- Use ethical deodorant/toiletries
- Shop where things are not packaged in plastic
- Use more non plastic food wraps
- Refuse to purchase plastic wrapped food
- Use bamboo toothbrushes
- Plastic free food shopping
- Buy a reusable coffee cup and remember to take it out with me
Lots of great ideas!
The scale of the problem of climate change is enormous.
We need to come together and act now.
Having looked at the above lists and seen what your community is already doing or thinking about what one thing could you start doing this week which you are not doing at the moment?
Try and set a goal which is measurable so rather than “walk more” or “buy less” workout more specifically which routes you will walk and when and which stuff you will stop buying. If you set a vague goal you’ll never know when/if you’ve achieved it.
If you have decided to set an action for yourself – put a date in your diary now of when you are going to actually do it.
Tell someone else face to face or by text what you are planning to do – let’s support each other to help be part of the solution.
We are each responsible for the change we are capable of making.
Christian Climate Action have joined forces with XR in recognition of the fact that we need major change at national, governmental and corporate levels. They know that actions taken by individuals although important are not going to bring about the required changes. We need an international system change. I’d encourage you to get active about the environment.
You don’t have to be an old crustie hemp wearing eco-warrior to be a climate activist. (although if you fit that description – thank you!)
I’ve done recycling and eaten less meat over the last few and even gone as far as purchasing a bamboo toothbrush (weird texture but able to adapt after a few days!) and although I’ve known about climate change for years it’s only been in the past few months with the schools strikes and talks at greenbelt by CCA that it’s dawned on me how urgent and desperate the situation is.
If we wait until we are as green as we can be on an individual basis before demanding better practice from our governments and business leaders then we will definitely run out of time.
|“Christians are called by God to show the world what the divine image looks like. In the face of impending environmental crisis, we need to encourage one another to grow more fully into the joyful responsibility we were made for”. Rowan Williams|
We finished with this prayer:
This we know; the earth does not belong to us
The earth is the Lord’s and so are all its people.
This we know; we did not weave the web of life
The earth is the Lord’s and so are all who breathe on it.
This we know; we are called to till and work the earth
The earth is the Lord’s and so are all who work the land.
This we know; that we are called to take care of creation.
The earth is the Lord’s yet we have polluted and abused it.
This we know; that whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
This we know; that the earth is the Lord’s
And so we will serve him in it.
And Dan read psalm 51 A Psalm of Repentance. http://web.mit.edu/jywang/www/cef/Bible/NIV/NIV_Bible/PS+51.html
- Here’s more information about Christian Climate Action https://christianclimateaction.org/who-we-are/
- If you want to get involved with climate issues locally? Take a look at this https://leedsclimate.org.uk/ You have until 31st October 2019 to complete a survey giving your opinion about what Leeds council could be doing to help reach carbon zero by 2030. Here’s the link for Leeds residents only www.leeds.gov.uk/climateconversation
- Here’s an online WWF quiz you can do to find out your personal carbon footprint and compare yourself to the average UK resident and also to the average person in the world. https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/
- Look up the Centre for alternative technology https://www.cat.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/ if some of the items in the energy section were unfamiliar to you (mentioned by Nicola)
- Green Christian has various resources and ideas on living a greener lifestyle. https://greenchristian.org.uk/
And finally keep your eye out on revive social media for more about Joelle’s suggested tree planting.
Rebel for Life