Opinion: There’s no Planet B

PUBLISHED: 07:25 11 March 2016

Email your letters to sidmouth.herald@archant.co.uk

Email your letters to sidmouth.herald@archant.co.uk

Archant

Year nine student at The King’s School argues ‘you cannot turn your back on climate change’

Hugo Swire (Sidmouth Herald, January 29) defends the Government’s reluctance to rely entirely on renewable energy. Perhaps the UK is not best-suited to solar power, but Cameron cannot turn his back on the issue of climate change any longer. I often wonder, can anyone else see this problem – or is it just me?

Firstly, Swire does not seem to have considered tidal energy. Expensive it may appear, but the UK is an island with around 19,491 miles of coastline...so what are we waiting for? At such a crossroads in the history of our planet, it is only sensible to make the most of what green energy we already have. As for relying on the Government’s funding, if we cannot afford to make the step now, when will we? It is never going to be easy, but it is essential. The planet must take priority.

The biggest issue that Swire does not seem to have acknowledged is that, however intelligent we humans believe we are, we are incapable of preventing the havoc that climate change has created and will continue to cause. Instead of the Environment Agency attempting to drown useless flood defences in money (and spend £1.1bn per year mopping up their failure), we ought to think about preventing such traumatic storms in the first place. Isn’t it just logic? Even Mr Cameron himself has made the link between climate change and the flooding that hit the Somerset Levels in winter 2013/14.

Ironically, it’s not us living in a first–world country and large producer of CO2, who will feel the full force of climate change. It is in fact those in low-lying locations such as Bangladesh and Kiribati who risk being swallowed-up by melting ice caps and starved by merciless famine. By 2050, it is estimated that 120million people will be homeless worldwide because of climate change, and the Syrian refugee crisis we continue to face demonstrates that we cannot cope with such a situation. Europe has indeed reached its Malthusian capacity, yet if we do not take action our species could become extinct.

As Swire states: “Throwing money at a problem does not solve it.”

Budget cuts are no more of an issue than the attitude Britain as a whole has towards climate change. Although 88 per cent of Britons are aware of climate change, less than 18 per cent describe themselves as ‘very concerned’ (says the Telegraph). So is it really just me? Cameron can devote the entirety of the UK budget to renewables, but the consumerist culture pressed upon us by endless TV adverts and the promise of ‘extra low’ lost leader prices is anything but green. We have lost our sense of value, addicted to a vicious cycle of earning and spending - at the cost of our own ethics, and the environment we should be trying to save. How many of us really check the air miles on our bananas? Or would we rather the cheapest prices? Food for thought. And then there are those who deny that we ever had anything to do with climate change. Watch An Inconvenient Truth, and honestly tell me that it is not our fault.

In my opinion, we must stare climate change in the eye and confront it with an open mind rather than leaving it as an inherited curse for future generations. Idle procrastination won’t get us anywhere and despite popular belief, we desperately need to switch to a more resourceful, intelligent attitude. The question I ask is: how long will it take for the global government to realise that there is no Planet B?

Naomi Gammon

Year nine student, The King’s School


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