Why DFs are campaigning on climate change and how you can help

Monday, 9 February 2015

Climate Change is terrifying. You know that, of course you do, but just in case you’re not really really feeling the fear, hopelessness and overwhelming despair in this exact moment, I’ve got some facts to shake you up a little. Did you know that already, a whole island of people have become refugees after they had to flee the rising tide. Or that after a global temperature rise of 2C, climate change will not be something we can stop because the ice and frost that melts as a result of this temperature rise releases greenhouse gases, that cause more ice and frost to melt. We also lose our heat reflective surface of the ice caps, so less heat is reflected, so more ice melts, so less heat is reflected. On the current path we're set to see emissions that would cause a 2C rise by 2040. This problem is not a sliding scale. there is a definite cut off point when we need to reduce emissions and that time is now.

DFs felt the fear, which is why we are currently campaigning against climate change. I’m trying to scare you into helping us with our campaign. Is it working? Or do you just feel sad, worried and like nothing you do will ever push the powers that be into helping us out of this mess? The fight against climate change is a huge one, and at times it does seem impossible (I wish that telling you climate change has made me cry was just an exaggeration) but here’s the thing: we can’t not win. The results of climate change are so destructive to human civilisation that the tragedy of us exterminating ourselves for the sake of upholding comfort and capitalism, while knowing exactly what we are doing, is too great for even Shakespeare to comprehend. It would be funny if I didn't know it would hurt so much. I have enough faith in kindness and resilience of humans that we will save ourselves, but not without a big push from someone like you (hey maybe I’m a naive teenager but who can afford to not think like that on this one?).

The way we win is not sitting at home reading about the horrors to come and falling deeper and deeper into the hole of demotivation. The way we win is getting up getting out there and getting others out there. It is a very happy coincidence that the way we do that is making it fun. For this reason DFs whole campaign is a joke, literally and in the best possible way. Sea Monsters for Climate Change uses the idea of evil sea monsters being pro climate change because they want everything to flood so as they can take over the flooded cities and reign supreme. Unsurprisingly, this gives scope for dressing up, making models and making noise. Finding the comedy in something as scary as climate change isn't just fun, it’s necessary if we want to be able to sustain ourselves through the fight.

This is in the same way that we need to be able to find hope in such a desperate situation. I asked woodcrafters why climate change mattered to them, one response was ‘Because it damages most those who've done the least to cause it’ Think of the global south who, by geological bad luck, have found themselves most at risk of the ‘natural’ disasters caused by climate change. Caused by the burning of irresponsible quantities of fossil fuels. Caused by, well, us. Think of the working class of New Orleans who were abandoned in the floods of hurricane Katrina, or the residents in the poorer areas of New York who told the volunteers of Occupy Sandy (a response group many of whom were veterans of Occupy Wall Street) who knocked on their door, that they were the first and only help they received after the storm. As the volunteer doctors treated them they found, many had illnesses that, in the wake of hospital cuts and closures in the areas that need them most, had gone untreated for months.

Climate change mimics our version of capitalism in that it harms the vulnerable before the rich and powerful. It will continue to affect poor people to a greater extent. Once the CO2 is out there it takes a good few years to do its damage. I’m not sure if this is a human trait or just me but I am not great at planning ahead and doing difficult things now to save the stress of future consequences. So it is for the people who are facing the consequences now that we must act. These are the same people that have got the worse deal in this deal orientated world. The only way this has been allowed to happen is because we have let it, and the reason we let it happen is because, on some level, we have managed to see these people as less important than ourselves. Acting on climate change requires compassionate thinking that challenges our racism, classism, and fierce individualism. Is climate change a big enough disaster to be the kick up the arse that forces us into caring for others on a global scale? And what does caring look like?

To me, it doesn't look so much like just turning of a light as you leave a room. Energy conservation is a part of it but our individual efforts become meaningless in the face of an economy that is so wrapped up in oil and growth. The answer is restructuring. This is a necessity but it’s also an opportunity to build a fairer world. The free market will not fix this. The solution to climate change includes government saying to oil companies ‘no you absolutely cannot extract that. It has to stay in the ground if we want to live’. It includes localised energy grids because that’s how we store solar and wind, but it's also how a community can share out their energy to ensure everyone has what they need. It includes moving away from an economy that relies on producing more and more stuff every year, which means that we can work fewer hours and spend more time reading. thinking, engaging with each other and the political process. It also means that we will not be sold endless stuff that we don't need by people who have figured out that the only way to do that is to keep us in a constant state of dissatisfaction with our lives and ourselves.

I'm not sure how much of that is actually going to happen, and if it does it might not be a smooth transition, but the bottom line is that the majority of things we can do to stop climate change, improve the quality of our lives for other reasons. To climate change deniers I would say, so what? even if 97% of scientists are lying to us, and the dramatic increase in extreme weather that we've seen is just down to chance, does it matter? We shouldn't have needed impending doom to make us do all this anyway. Besides fossil fuels will run out, just not fast enough to save us. If it is a hoax I'd thank the hoaxer. Lets go singing to the fashioning of a new world.

But how can you bring about this better world? you can join in with DFs campaign. And here's how:

On the 14th of February come to Bradford to raise money for some anti fracking protesters legal charges and see an amazing poetry show

on the 7th or March come with us dressed as Sea Monsters at the Time to Act! climate march.

Also on the 7th of March, present a 'thank you' card to David Cameron

12- 14th June attend Friends of the Earth's event, Base Camp 

(this list will be kept updated, if it's not feel free to nag me)