So far climate change action has, perhaps inevitably, settled around individual actions – switching off lights, re-using plastic bottles, and the like. A poll last year found that 40% of the UK population believe recycling is the most important contribution they can make to lower their footprint. (It isn’t – try not flying)
It’s so much easier to focus on individual actions, because we live in an individualist society and that’s how we think, but also because those are measurable, and they give us all a chance to be involved. Individual action will only get us so far. We can make short term changes, such as efficiency measures. The government can make the large scale, long-term changes – fixing the national grid to accomodate renewables, negotiatitig international carbon pricing. The in-between measures, from re-thinking public transport to supporting local food, come down to us.
Can we organise ourselves in towns and communities, and start pulling together? The ‘transition towns’ movement is proving that we can.