Opening the BBC News App, it’s peppered with updates from COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow which ended last Friday. Many have said that not enough has been done and those nations who are already suffering most will continue to suffer, because us richer nations, who have caused most of this damage, are unwilling to do enough to save our world.
Whilst it’s clear that action needs to happen worldwide, worrying about the rainforest whilst spraying harmful pesticides on flowers and destroying local flora and fauna won’t work either. We need to care not only about destruction abroad, but also right in front of our doorstep.
The pandemic certainly opened our eyes and hearts to the beauty of nature around us, in the safe radius we were allowed to move in. We marvelled at the beauty of the British countryside, its flora and fauna and got busy booking ‘staycations’, realising that it’s actually rather quite nice here. Reports from cleaner air in cities due to less traffic, clearer water in rivers as pollution declined and an appreciation for everything local was on the rise, whilst we were waiting for the pandemic to pass. We vowed to change, we promised to love nature and care for it and remember those glorious summer days in quarantine, certain that this was a turning point for humanity.
And then the lockdown ended, and we slowly returned back to whatever normal meant for each of us. We jumped back into our cars, we bought the coffee in the take-away cup, we slipped back into old habits, we started muddling through life because it’s fast-paced and noisy and busy and we need to keep up with demands on us, our social lives and work. However, it’s becoming clear that our lives have to change – we have to change – to make a real difference and to save the world we call home.
Of course, for many of us this may feel frightening and uncomfortable. Others may believe they have no control over the bigger things that contribute to climate change. It’s true that we can’t single-handedly stop a tree being felled in the Amazon Rainforest, however, there are things we can do right here, right now, this moment in time.
A recent article by the BBC suggested that the UK has “little room for nature due to development and agriculture” and that the UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. In addition to this, the UK’s biodiversity, of which 90% is considered safe from falling into ecological meltdown, has only got 50% of it left. Those alarming figures tell us that we need to protect species and their habitat around us. We need to listen to environmental agencies, we need to stop destroying nature to build more houses. We need to stop killing animals because they don’t fit into our living spaces.
It’s time to change. It’s time to reverse Code Red. It’s time to work together, and do a little bit more, every day. Small changes by many can lead to big progress. There is no time left. Our future, and that of our children depends on it.
Briggs, H. 2021, Biodiversity loss risks ‘ecological meltdown’ – scientists – BBC News (Accessed 10th October 2o21)
COP26. 2021. HOME – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 (ukcop26.org) (Accessed 17th October 2021)
McGrath, M. 2021. Climate change: IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’ – BBC News (Accessed 9th August 2021)