BLOG: Reversing Climate Change: It’s Time to Look in the Mirror


We tried a new format for our blog post in November, asking two members of our community with opposing views to write a blog post on the same topic.

In this instance, we chose climate change as the topic. This is what our first blogger Lewis (21) had to say about it. 

“Governments now have to raise their ambition levels to implement the Paris agreement and provide the signals required for the clean energy transition.” – Stephanie Pfeifer, Chief Executive, The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change

Climate Change. Something that has divided a nation, divided a world. But why should that be? Presented with further evidence of the devastating effects of this most unnatural of natural challenges on a seemingly daily basis, and yet progress – and any kind of agreement – on how to reverse this trend appears only to deteriorate over that same, consistent period.

And yet, what appears to be majority – even outright popular opinion – is that we should blame others. Indeed, that we have a right to do so in some instances.

The simple questions I would like to pose are as follows:

How can that be? Why is it that we should not be standing up – as both individuals and a collective – to take a humble look in the mirror? How can others be wholly accountable for an issue of which me and you are to blame?”

The view from inside

A perspective I perceived to share with so many, a simple online search relating to the issue has dented such a preconception.

With the world population clock indicating a total of 7.53 billion (2017) of us mere humans negotiated our way around this incredible planet that we call Earth – a planet we should be proud to call home – that perception has always been that such a vast collective can have a quite monumental impact on this immense land.

Consider this: by removing just one piece of rubbish from the streets we walk on our daily commute to work, school, or university; sacrificing those crucial three seconds of our days to switch off that light we decided against turning off yesterday, and; even going through the pain of pushing that switch up at the wall once our devices have reached their full life once more, we have, collectively, done just that 7.53 billion times over the course of a single day.

Note the consistent use of the term ‘our’ throughout the above. This was not the result of coincidence, but rather recognition that as a collective we can do so much more. Recognition that, as individuals, we are all responsible for the state of this phenomenal place we should be proud to call our home. A harsh reality for some that means we are also responsible for doing what we can to ‘reverse’ such an impact.

The view from above

It is important to note that the above-mentioned is by no means a preaching for the great work of those ‘leading’ on such vital issues as this and the plethora of others which we encounter daily. It is, rather, recognition that we have – and continue to be – foolish by looking to blame only those in such positions for the state of the planet we occupy.

Regardless, the view from Christiana Figueres, former UN Climate Chief and Leader of the 2015 Paris Accord that is to follow, continues to strike me as remarkable, at times even naive.

“There is nothing opaque about this new data [relating to the temperatures of the earth] …a future that no policy-maker could wish to usher in or be responsible for.” – Christiana Figueres 

Burdening the tasks of the few with the responsibilities of the many is nothing other than dangerous for the future of the place we call Earth, and thus for the <7 ½ billion of us who currently take to its offerings.

Hope for the future

Thankfully there are others who adopt a broader judgement on the issue, including the former NASA scientist and adjunct professor directing the Program on Climate Science, Jim Hansen.

A climatology expert and advocate of action to avoid the dangers of climate change, Mr Hansen is an individual with a far superior understanding of the objective reality of the issue than I could ever aspire to boast. Nonetheless, he thankfully supports the perspective that action must come from both ‘them’ [political leaders] and ‘us’.

“I have faith that they will act, eventually.” – Jim Hansen

There is no hiding the objective reality that the future of our planet is bleak. Nevertheless, this is not yet beyond reversal, but it is going to take more than the odd Prime Minister or UN Delegate here or there saying a few empty words or committing a relatively insignificant amount of money to a cause they are only sparingly passionate about.

However cliché it might sound, it is time we all stood up and faced our responsibilities head on. Time to put the excuses to one side, before it really is too late.