I have been preoccupied with the devastation that climate catastrophe could wreak on our lives for a long time, having worked in development and seen at first hand communities who have been suffering the impacts of a changing climate for over 20 years now. I have managed my anxiety and grief by keeping busy with things I can do in my own life, in my community and with small actions like signing petitions and supporting organisations that actively campaign for policy change. At the moment, I feel the dissonance most strongly between what my personal life is like – peaceful, full of gentle pursuits like gardening, craft work and making music – and the tragedies that are befalling families all over the world, but so far, not anyone that I know is affected. And being homebound I feel pretty powerless to do much to help ensure that the world I would like to see will take shape. With the huge changes we have all had to make in our lives, and the realisation among most people I know about what really matters – family, local community, helping one another, contact with nature, growing things – leading to shifts in attitudes, there is so much that our government could build on, to change the priorities it had before this pandemic.
There is huge potential for radical change – such as allowing some airlines and fossil fuel industries to go under, cancelling road projects and HS2, raising much needed funds through a carbon tax, trialling a universal basic income. Before the pandemic, I had no hope that our government would try such policies, even though they are needed to tackle climate change and reduce the inequalities that feed it. Now, that implementing those policies seems almost within the grasp of governments that have had to implement policies previously unthinkable, my fear for the future seems to be greater than before. Do other people share my concerns and feel the need to talk about what we could do? I am working on an idea, more next month.