‘Stop setting fires’: nine good ideas to save the planet | Environment


“Take money out of politics”
Naomi Klein, author

Photography: Adrienne Grunwald/The Guardian

There is not one thing that would stop global warming – but what would make all sorts of other things possible is to limit the power of transnational capital over our governments. It is the power to financially reward (and punish) legislators, in various ways, that is the greatest impediment to progress. We must ban corporate campaign donations, direct and indirect, and we must stop the revolving door between corporate lobbyists and lawmakers from turning so that a comfortable job in the industry you regulate is not an incentive to adopt pro-pollution policies.

Extinguish sparks in cars, boats and buses
Bill McKibben, environmentalist

Bill McKibben
Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

It is now possible – and necessary – for human beings to end their 200,000-year-old burning habit. Flames served us well in prehistoric times and enriched some of us during the Industrial Revolution. But now we have to stop setting the fire and rely instead on the fact that the good Lord has placed a big ball of burning gas 93m in the sky, which we now have the spirit to make full use of. Keep lighting joints and barbecues, but extinguish sparks in kitchens, in ovens, in power stations, in the engines of cars, boats and buses. And do it fast.

“Making health green”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director General of the World Health Organization

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Photography: Rex/Shutterstock

The health sector faces many consequences of climate change. At the same time, it is responsible for about 5% of carbon emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change, while hundreds of millions of people are still served by hospitals and clinics without electricity. After COP26 last year, 60 countries pledged to make their health systems more climate-resilient and reduce carbon emissions from health care. WHO is calling on every country to make the same commitment and provide clean, reliable electricity to every health facility.

“Switch to reusables”
Nina Schrank, main campaignerGreenpeace United Kingdom

Nina Schrank, campaigner for Greenpeace UK.
Photography: Will Rose/Greenpeace

In our disposable society, we have the impression of being faced with an avalanche of disposable plastic. A simple idea holds the key to turning the tide: reuse. The practice had been rooted for generations in many cultures around the world, but the corporate world has made us forget these traditions and the value we place on objects that required natural resources and energy to be made. products. We need to switch to reusable packaging that stays in circulation – used, washed, reused and, above all, out of the environment. The status quo just doesn’t work: we need to embrace the innovations that will allow reuse to thrive in the modern world.

“Tax the rich properly”
Thomas Piketty (photo) and Lucas Chancel, economists

Thomas Piquetty
Photography: AFP/Getty Images

To fight against climate change, we must invest massively to decarbonize our transport, energy and production systems: for this we need billions of euros, or 2% of the world’s GDP each year. The wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes to fund these efforts. This is all the more legitimate when we know that the rich contribute a disproportionate share to climate change. Globally, 10% of the population contributes about half of all emissions and there are also large pollution inequalities within each country.

“Empowering Poor Nations”
Sunita Narainenvironmentalist

Sunita Narain
Photography: AFP/Getty Images

We can save the planet if we can save our common humanity. We need to move from a divisive, deeply hateful and unequal society to one that truly understands the interdependence that our common future needs. We’ve neutralized the politics of inclusion and equality for too long because we thought environmentalism was about finding the next disruptive technology. It won’t work. We need nimby – not in my backyard – not for the rich but for the very poor, so they can say no to the next dirty project; so that communities and developing countries around the world can say no to the overconsumption that drives our addiction to fossil fuels. We need climate justice to be at the heart of climate action.

“Clean up public life”
Mike Berners-Lee, author

Mike Berners-Lee
Photography: Aliyah

Although science and technology to save the planet is difficult, it is not the bottleneck. But dealing with these complex systemic challenges requires clear, high-quality decision-making. Currently, this process is largely handicapped by hidden agendas, dishonesty and greed. So my idea for saving the planet is to cultivate and insist on much higher standards of honesty and compassion among our political and business decision makers. Without it, nothing will work.

“Resaving the Planet”
Rebecca Wrigley, general director of Reviving Britainand George Monbiot, author

Rebecca Wrigley, chief executive of Rewilding Britain

Rewilding – the massive restoration of life on Earth – can repair not only our living systems, but also our relationship with them. By allowing forests, wetlands, savannahs, reefs and other depleted ecosystems to return and regenerate, reseeding could simultaneously help stop the Sixth Great Extinction and absorb much of the carbon we have. released into the atmosphere. This positive environmentalism could be our best defense against despair.

“Give power back to the people”
Jacqueline Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project

Jacqui Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of The Chisholm Legacy Project

The United States is one of the biggest polluters in the world. He also has a major influence on the climate negotiations, which so far have been obstructive, with corporate interests serving as puppeteers. A major shift in our global political and economic situation would be to decouple the outsized influence that corporations have over US legislatures, courts, regulatory systems, and therefore the amount of greenhouse gases the US emits at the national level, as well as their influence on the world. negotiations and commitments of other nations. In short, to achieve climate justice, we must ensure that power rests in the hands of the people.

These nine writers are featured in The Climate Book created by Greta Thunberg is published October 27 by Allen Lane (£25). To support the Guardian and the Observer, buy your copy from guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply


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