Earth, for quite some time now has given us the warning signs that it is under threat. As a result, more and more people globally are experiencing the effects of the climate crisis as second nature. However the climate crisis in the UK is a less tangible issue as we are yet to experience complete devastation of food insecurity or natural hazards that occur within countries located in more unstable climate zones. Therefore, it is useful for us to explore our current cost of living crisis and then its intersections with climate justice.
I’ve been travelling slowly by bicycle across Scotland for a few weeks, documenting land use and peoples ideas of our environment and culture. A few of my friends have joined in the last week and we all thought about haikus we could write to voice our personal perceptions of the cost of living and climate crisis. I will feature them throughout the article to highlight our thoughts:
It’s a strange feeling
Seeing more and more people
Make difficult choices
Trends indicate that humans tend to ignore the preventative and proactive solutions to major crisis’ – and rather act through reaction when faced with a complete disaster. Queue the COVID-19 pandemic where globally governments raced to protect themselves and their citizens. It was amazing to see how fast we can act and work together when it is necessary. Yet, on the surface, regular issues tend to be ignored until its too late.
In the UK, our problems which are interconnected with climate justice, reveal themselves in the shadows of fuel poverty, the housing crisis, and injustices within affordable transport, food, and health systems. Prices for oil and gas have soared and there’s a growing number of people who are being forced to make difficult choices between eating well and heating their homes. No wonder people are angry, as it has created a helpless feeling for us all. Ultimately, we need to learn to share space better, give voices to marginalised groups, and continue to challenge our governments to take action. Protests like the recent ‘Enough is Enough’ march are a brilliant way to maintain a structured and organised presence in the media to keep demanding what we deserve as humans.
Despair at this world
We need to think fast and smart
Design something new
The ecological crisis in the UK is presenting itself through biodiversity loss and damaged habitats. On a more positive note, I have experienced a renewed sense of hope, gained by cycling through our remarkable landscape. During the trip we have interviewed lots of people who are working hard to reverse the damage created by deforestation and peatland burning. For the first time, I felt hopeful; the ecological vision was for 200 years. This shows that people are committed to repairing the land for generations ahead of us – a perspective that would be useful to adopt across many industries.
Also, throughout Scotland’s estates for the most part they are working well with each other. Trees are regenerating in places like Dundreggan, Glenfeshie and Mar Lodge, and community projects throughout the highlands are keeping Scottish culture alive. It has shown me that if we manage our lands correctly (and improve the accessibility of them) we can limit the effects of the climate crisis. The more people that can get outdoors and see these positive changes, the more people who can feel inspired to stand up for other causes they care about. Nature left to its own devices has the ability to regenerate and restore. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said when it comes to political greed, as when left to itself, it causes further damage to people and the planet. The focus should now be on saving governments from themselves.
Oh sleeping giants
Corporate greed taking over
Wake up and smell smoke
Voicing into an echochamber might sometimes feel pointless, as we all have similar views and goals for what we would like the world to look like. However, I think its incredibly important to keep having these conversations, ideally with a more diverse audience, but its also okay to talk between your friends. It creates a certain level of stability that can propel you to think outside your own circle. It can even help mobilise more of an organised effort to tackle the issues from the top-down.
They make a false promise
It needs some consistency
We deserve safety
I’ll wrap this up with a quote from (Vandana 2009) who challenges the current capitalist systems. Indeed, sustainable, ecological, Earth regeneration is key to protect the planet and its people, but the capacity to renew resources are limited:
A reduction in energy and resource consumption of the rich is necessary for all to have access to land and water, food and fibre, air and energy.
By Ailsa Beck, Environment Editor
Header image by Peggy Mitchell, one of our amazing graphic designers!