Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What I have (not) been doing

Both of my regular readers will have noticed the paucity of commentary here in the past several weeks. There are a number of causal factors, but the main one is that I have been a bit busy doing other things, like this:

Since we're at the year end and such things have associated traditions, I thought it would be a chance to catch up with what has been going on during the year and what I have done to 'do my bit'. The most obvious change is an increase in my level of direct political engagement. 

For several years it has been easy enough to feel engaged in the process of advocating for action on climate change by blogging and commenting on blogs and media, but the motivation to continue with this has declined a bit, because there are now so many good blogs, with so much good science, that one's own voice tends to get lost in the maelstrom. The other aspect is that in the UK, while there is still some crass denial, especially amongst the government, and thus some advocacy, in particular to combat the pernicious GWPF, by and large the argument seems to have settled into a broad acceptance not only of the facts of AGW but also of the need to actually do something about it.

In September, I finally cracked. During the course of my work as a renewable energy consultant I deal on an every day basis with people's uncertainty about climate change science, and of course their uncertainty about the viability of renewable energy. As a result of this I sensed a change in perception of our global problems and local solutions over time. A friend in the USA declared the intention to go to the Climate Action March in New York and, being a sympathetic type, I thought it was about time I did my bit, so went to Knaresborough. 

That day was transformative because of chance. The march had gathered some supporters but not a large contingent, and there were suggestions that it should be abandoned. I stood on a park bench and said something about why I was there and that I was going to go to the town hall and make my point in solidarity with others around the world. Everyone cheered, then we all marched down the road, disrupted the traffic in a polite, British way, and made a lot of noise, in a very un-British way. Even the drivers going by were appreciative and supportive and everyone who went along seemed to have a good time. Most importantly, we made our point there and then.

This made me realise that there was still work to be done: plenty of people were concerned about action on climate change, but there seemed to be a shortage of leadership and purpose. A few words and some rhetoric later, instead of a follower, I had become a leader of the march. Inspiring me in part were two people from the local Green Party who had turned up with several others to make their voices heard, along with my NY chum who had an altogether more extravagant experience on the day. Within the week I joined the Green Party of England and Wales.

Currently I am the local group's press and publicity and fundraising officer and may stand as a paper candidate in the local elections in 2015. I'm also giving input to the central party's policy discussions on defence and energy (two separate strands, not one). So now I am busy on the facebook page I generated, writing for the local press, and will shortly be blogging elsewhere for the local group. Our (small) membership has grown over 60% since September, but there is a lot of work to do.

This has been my most relevant action during 2014. Engagement in AGW and the ethics of climate and the environment has become more focussed on politics, and more direct. This, along with the plans for the next few months, will probably keep me from blogging more than occasionally here, and more often contributing here: https://www.facebook.com/rcgreensyorks?ref=hl .

Enough about me and the blog. Have a jolly nice time over the next few days of the holiday, and please accept my best wishes for you and yours in 2015. I'll catch up with you later.