It is hard to ignore. The climate emergency has been thrust into the public agenda, most notably by activists like Greta Thunberg and groups like Extinction Rebellion. But what is it that inspires people to say enough is enough and to start actively campaigning for change rather than hoping things will get better? We spoke to Jed Lazar, a business coach, life coach and volunteer at Extinction Rebellion to understand why he got involved and started taking action.
Here’s what he had to say:
Working for a sustainable future is a waste of time.
Let’s face it – humanity is racing towards a cliff and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop it. What’s the point in trying?
I’ll be honest – that’s how I feel sometimes: like there’s no point working to end the climate emergency, and I’m guessing it’s how most people feel when they really let it sink in that we’ve got a little over 10 years until an ongoing and irreversible climate catastrophe is the new reality.
How can that be possible when our daily lives feel so…normal? One thing is certain: human brains aren’t made to plan for shifts like this – not when there’s food in every grocery store, the brexit debate is still in the headlines more often than the crisis of the planet, and distractions like Facebook and Netflix are just a click away. Certainly, if the situation were truly dire then the climate emergency would be on the headlines of every major newspaper every day until we’ve solved this problem. It should be. But it’s not.
So….what do we do? Well, we go to work, we buy the next thing we’ve been coveting and reach for the next cuppa.
That’s one of the reasons that I no longer use the term ‘climate change’ and only use the term “climate emergency.”
That term forces me to acknowledge that we are at war. I know the war analogy sounds dramatic. But it’s not. In this war we’re not fighting against an army- we’re fighting against a dire future of floods, drought, climate refugees and climate wars. In World War II, when planes dropped bombs on London and the threat of invasion was imminent, everyone knew what to do: we made dramatic changes, we adapted entire economies to solve the problem, and fought to defend our lives and our freedom.
The women and men fighting an invasion in 1940 didn’t consider themselves to be activists – they were simply doing what needed to be done to defend their families and their future.
In the same way, even though I volunteer with Extinction Rebellion, I don’t consider myself to be a climate change activist. I’m a guy who recognises it’s time to take action and make big, dramatic change. I believe that one day soon, the next generation will ask us “What did you do when humanity was fighting the climate emergency?”. Whether or not we’re successful, I don’t want my answer to be “I sat back and waited for someone else to solve the problem.” Instead, I want my answer to be: “I fought”.
Extinction Rebellion tends to receive praise for their intentions and criticism for their tactics.
Some people get angry when we block major intersections in central London, add time to their daily commute, and create a situation where The Met uses extra tax-payer money to fund an increased police presence.
My personal response to criticism is the expression ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs’. We all know the facts – we have 10 years to turn this boat around. It’s true that big protests cost London money and pissed some people off. At the same time they also created massive public support and convinced the government to declare a climate emergency. This is history in the making.
To create fast and massive changes at a national scale, we don’t need 51% of the population to back the cause. Historical research on societal transformation shows we only need 3.5% of the UK to take on this issue and massive change will happen. For the UK, that means we need 20 million people to decide ‘enough is enough’ and take action. Are you in?
I’ve decided enough is enough. Will you join us and become one of the 20 million?
> Jed Lazar is a business coach, life coach and volunteer at Extinction Rebellion
Watch David Attenborough’s new film Climate Change – The Facts
Watch The True Cost – the fashion industry’s impact on climate and human rights
Watch Extinction Rebellion’s video on Why You Might Consider Getting Arrested
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