Is it worth the effort?

Jan 11, 2020

Support for the concept of family emergency declarations and the need for significant reductions in carbon emissions does not remove doubts that have been expressed about whether the net zero target of 2025-30 is realistic given the state of politics here and across the world. How is a government elected by people accustomed to being profligate with the earth's resources going to get re-elected on a programme of relative frugality if not hardship?

The first step for individuals, families, businesses and governments is to be informed and truthful about the state of the climate and ecosystems. A shared level of knowledge about the current circumstances should lead to general agreement about the remedial action. It should be the role of the citizenry (including families) to express opinions about how the transition could and should be negotiated and to influence the shape of the net zero carbon economy and society that would be both fair, and provide the most benefits to people and nature across the world.

It would be wrong to suggest that the task is practically or politically too difficult, at least until radical steps in the right direction have been taken and seen to have failed (eg giving rise to adverse and violent reactions from large numbers of people or unforeseen and undesirable consequences). The transition is likely to be the foremost example of learning by doing (and Greta is still waiting for meaningful action).

We cannot afford the response to the scale of the challenge to be one of despair and hand-wringing but positive messages could and should be shared within and between families about the real benefits of living better on less, locally and convivially.