David Johnstone: Solve global threat to environment

Have your say

Environmental campaign group People’s Climate have organised a Climate Rally at the Mound tomorrow at 1pm. Should you bother going?

It’s very difficult to write about climate change. The enormity of the problem, combined with its scientific nature, serve to switch most people off instantly. Unless you are one of a handful of influential leaders, personally you really can’t do anything to stop it, so why engage?

When we feel powerless we tend not to bother. Why would we? However much I want the UK government to take in more refugees, I can’t make them. So I’ll grumble to my friends about it, maybe sign a petition or two, but let’s face it; in reality I’ve done nothing.

It’s incredibly frustrating. Global warming is the biggest problem of our generation, and as individuals we can’t do anything to stop it. If I pack up everything right now, cycle to the forest and live an eco-friendly life, all I will do is give myself a front row seat to nature’s decline.

We can only force change together. It’s a well-laboured point, but it’s true.

We need to educate ourselves on the issue, to talk with one voice. Only collectively can we force decision makers to appreciate the immensity of the problem and – more importantly – to do something about it.

Climate change is a global issue, which makes it seem impossible to fight. It’s not. We can start small; make Edinburgh more environmentally friendly, stop our universities investing in fossil fuel companies, inform our colleagues, friends and relatives. At the same time we can support nationwide change, pressing the Scottish Government to invest more in renewables and less in subsidies for the oil industry. Collectively we can help push the UK, Europe and the world to come together and create a comprehensive and binding plan to preserve the planet for generations to come.

The Climate Rally tomorrow is a great place to start. There will be stalls from businesses and organisations that are coming up with innovative, and socially responsible, ways to tackle the problem. A strong line-up of speakers on a range of climate issues, and the opportunity to meet and engage with those leading the fight against global warming.

Climate change will affect us all. Just because we live in Edinburgh and not in Haiti doesn’t mean that we are somehow isolated from its far-reaching and devastating effects. However much we want to ignore the issue because we feel powerless, we must resist that urge. The problem is too serious, the timeline too short. Separately we will not be heard.

Come along tomorrow, and together we can speak with one voice.

David Johnstone is a third-year economics student at the University of Edinburgh