- Joseph Hollas
Opinion: World’s on Fire
Updated: Feb 18
Disclaimer: Opinion pieces are representative of the opinion of the individual, rather than Fifty Percent as an organisation.
The world’s on fire, never mind the pants of global leaders. The decision makers who attend the UN's Climate Change Conferences, also known as COPs, have been lying to us for years. They support businesses and organisations that are responsible for emitting tonnes of greenhouse gases which are setting our planet alight. We need to witness and take part in the action that comes from COP26. The individual has their role to play, but so do those leaders and decision makers.
In my country there is a great distrust between the leader and the public, but there is trust between the leading party, his party, and the public. This trust between party and people is however not all-encompassing.
For many years, Conservative MPs have been lying to the British public about the reality of climate change.
We, as people of this planet, need to protect our planet, and therefore ourselves. We can do that by making sure that those attendees of conferences such as COP bring action to the table, make necessary changes, and are ready to take hard decision if they have to. After all, it’s only the planet, our only home, that is at stake.
We have to make sure that we will not accept any greenwashing that comes out of this conference. We cannot be persuaded by this government, with a track history of lying, that everything is fine. Because it’s not fine.
Recently I have seen a lot of videos on social media of climate protestors blocking highways in Britain with their feeble, human bodies. A line of (majoritively old) people line up across a busy motorway with 4X4 cars and white vans. The drivers of the vehicles stop their cars and wait for the protestors to move.
But they don’t.
They don’t move, they just stay put. And the drivers get frustrated. Their frustration builds and they leave their cars and they ask the protestors what they are doing.
Many of these people in their vehicles are working. They’re just doing their jobs, which helps them survive the system. The only way this worker can support his family, his community is through the white van. The van provides the space for tools and the ability to move between people’s homes at speed. The most cost-effective vans use petrol and diesel to run. If these vans weren’t on the highways, then we would be emitting less greenhouse gases. But these workers need their vans, and they need to drive them.
We do know we can reduce our effect on this planet by making changes to the way we drive.
But when protestors block the white van and its driver from getting to their next job, then that is less money for that worker to spend out on a family meal, or a Christmas present, or even basic necessities. I believe that it is wrong for protestors to act in a way that impacts individuals in this way. Even if the action is targeted at addressing a systemic issue, it is inadvertently harsh on that one individual person, who has done nothing but go to work – just like we all must do to survive in this world. If the protestors are wanting to appeal to the wider public, then impacting the livelihood of individuals is not the way to go.
I have seen videos of these protestors planting themselves on highways. I’ve seen them happening up and down Britain, affecting thousands of people’s regular working day. They always go the same way. The protestors run out in front of the cars, the cars stop, the people get out their cars and tell them to move, and then the protestors ignore anything coming their way. The frustration builds, and a rivalry builds. Your regular commuter vs climate protestor. They battle with each other, and the real culprit watches on and laughs.
We, as people, need to stop our infighting, and join together. We need to hold those attending COP26 accountable. Demand less emissions on a cultural, economic and global level. Demand change.