Changing the climate

windturbinesLeaders from around the world are attending a UN summit in New York today to discuss climate change. This is a unique opportunity for leaders to give voice to an ambitious vision, anchored in action, in the lead-up to a global agreement toward sustainable development in 2015.

Businesses will take part in today’s summit by committing to act on environmental and climate issues. The hope is the summit will lay the groundwork for meaningful and binding commitments by governments and businesses at a meeting in Paris next year.

It all sounds rather like a subject best left to the ‘big-wigs’ of politics and business. In fact, this is something that ultimately affects us all. We hear the term ‘climate change’ bandied around a lot, perhaps too much. The repetition of the phrase seems to have begun to induce apathy and inaction. We used to be shocked by the facts but now we raise our eyebrows when we hear CO² levels are at their highest for 800,000 years and continue with our day.

If you do a quick search for ‘countries worst hit by climate change‘ it is blatantly obvious from the results the poor are the ones who suffer the most. Climate change causes natural disasters and poorer countries often do not have the infrastructure to cope with this. It also affects crops so the lives of smallholder farmers who rely on their crops for food and their living can be devastated by a year of drought. The world’s poorest are ultimately suffering as a result of complacence by those in the developed world who contribute greatly to climate change through our often reckless lifestyles.

So while the Who’s Who of politics and business meet to discuss their commitments to clean energy by 2050 – and other ways of reducing our impact on the climate – us mere bloggers and blog-readers can play our parts too. Simple actions really do make a difference. This is why I harass my husband when he throws a yoghurt pot in the normal waste rather than the recycling (I have been known to retrieve things out of the bin in the name of saving the planet). *Poor long-suffering husband having to endure constant nagging from his tree-hugger wife.*

It is this idea of simple-actions behind a national initiative called Pledge 4 Plastics. The campaign aims to boost recycling around the UK and by pledging your commitment online you can win a new phone cover. Sometimes we just need to be prompted to think about our seemingly insignificant everyday actions.

You can also add your voice to thousands of others around the world in support of climate action by signing your name at 350.org. It just takes 1 minute to tell world leaders you support action against climate change.

There are a number of other small changes detailed on this blog which you can make that will have a long-lasting impact on our planet. I used to worry about the sort of world we were leaving for our children or grandchildren. As I become more aware of the drastic and rapid effects of our daily lives on the environment, I am increasingly worried about what dramatic consequences I might endure in my own lifetime. It is no longer up to someone else to generate the necessary change to protect our world. We are that someone else.

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