A couple of weeks ago, I moderated a Climate Action event in Castleknock attended by over 200 secondary school students. I realised as I spoke there that I have been talking about Climate Change for over 40 years. This year is the first year, mainly thanks to Greta Thunberg that Climate Change has finally attained national and international recognition as a serious worldwide problem. Many countries, including Ireland have declared a National Climate Change Emergency but, and it is a big but, few nations have yet started to treat it has a real emergency. For most governments and politicians, Climate Change is just another issue. Somehow, like all “new” political issues, a solution will be found and the political agenda will move on to other issues.
This year, I have provided my facilitation services at national level to the Local Enterprise Office’s (SEDO and B.A. national meeting) and the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland’s (2019 and then 2020, Strategic Planning days) and at international level the Green European Foundation’s post EU Elections Strategic Planning meeting in Brussels. In addition, I continue to be the Coordinator of the Horticulture Industry Forum. It is encouraging to report that Climate Change is discussed, albeit to different extents, at all these differing fora.
The big challenge now is to turn this new recognition of the issue of Climate Change from just another political issue to a grade 1, red alert, real Emergency and accept that it cannot be “business as usual”, and all countries and every person on the planet has to change. We have to change how we think, how we live and our view of life. We are beginning to listen to the young Climate Strikers but we must now grasp the enormity of the challenge to curb and reduce GHG emissions, preserve and nurture biodiversity and really engage in effective Climate Action. If our children and their children are to have a future, then 2020 must be the year that this step change takes place. I believe it is possible. Nothing less will do.