Leeds School of Social Sciences

How can you join the Climate Change debate?

Glasgow will be the site of the largest decision making meeting to prevent widespread climate collapse. COP26 is the intergovernmental meeting to agree new targets for restricting carbon dioxide worldwide. It is a huge gathering of people power demanding that their actions, good ideas, efforts and behaviour changes are recognised and governments commit to investing in the future. Join the climate change debate this November.

Tackling the climate crisis is going to take effort from every sector of society. You may have read about ‘big technical’ solutions, or some of the many new technological programmes (solar powered clearing of plastic from the sea, renewable energy, etc), and there are global programmes such as ‘Drawdown’ or ‘Green New Deal’. However there are many ideas that you can look at, to start learning how you can mitigate and adapt in this era of climate emergency.

The ‘Transition’ movement has been working for years on understanding and practicing how communities will adapt to a ‘post-oil’ world – basically how we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. See if there is a Transition Town near you, or ideas you can adapt.

Or, look at ‘local food’ networks who are learning to design systems that reduce the need for global supply systems, and how food production might adapt to changing climate. Try the Leeds City Farm in Meanwood or look at Incredible Edible.

These movements recognise that addressing the climate crisis will take individual action (recycle, and use public transport), community action (supporting housing, food production or community support in an area), national action (funding, targets, policies, energy generation), and international action (global commitments to reduce CO2 emissions, tackle global systems, and support political actions). Just as climate is a complex system, as is the system for ensuring we adapt our lives, deal with the challenges and mitigating the impacts.

In practice, this means that we need mass public support for national and international action – this is what is happening now, in the run up to COP26 – mass public action is needed to ensure the political systems are pressured into making commitments to reduce CO2 across the world.

How you can get involved?

If you already cycle, recycle, reuse, buy local, turn your thermostat down, use a reusable coffee mug, then your actions are helping, but the reality is we need the politicians to change. We need them to invest in renewable energy and house insulation, we need a wonderful public transport system and a business strategy that rewards environmental protection…etc

There are many wonderful projects, efforts, theories and actions that are already helping to prevent catastrophic climate collapse – and they’re all going to be calling for the political change next month. This is COP26. This is an opportunity for the action we need. This is a call for you to share your voice and join the climate change debate.

Keep up to date and join the Climate Change debate through these websites and podcasts:

A number of our Politics & International Relation students are going to Glasgow so look out for blogs from them.

Things you can do…

  • Look for local actions in Leeds that you can join
  • Join in some of the online actions – search websites or ask the Student Union
  • Search the sites listed above, learn about COP26, and use your voice to help create the mass public pressure on politicians

The reality is that the predicted changes to the climate will result in new extreme weather events, changes to global food production, changing housing and transport, and probably many other aspects of life. It is important to remember that we know how to deal with it – hundreds of thousands of people are already working on hundreds of projects that show how the change is possible. They talk of the need for imagination, creativity and courage to step forward. Climate change is going to affect our lives. The more we start acting and having a say in which adaptations and mitigations we choose, the sooner we start acting, the more control we will have on how our lives will change.

Take November 2021 as the opportunity to learn more about what climate change is predicted, start choosing the actions you want to take, and imagining a vision you want for the future.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas and actions.

Professor Rachel Julian

Professor / Leeds School Of Social Sciences

Dr Rachel Julian is a researcher and expert on peace, the power of community action and Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping. In addition to researching the significance of local voices in social change, she works with Nonviolent Peaceforce in Myanmar on understanding the lives and work of civilian ceasefire monitors.

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