You wanted to know more about Climate Change
As part of TSR Goes Green month this September, we asked the UK Student Climate Network to tell us a little bit more about the work they are doing, and how Climate Change is going to affect our planet. In the wake of the Global Strike for Climate on the 20th September, you had lots of questions to ask them and Jake from UKSNC was ready and waiting to respond. Let's get going!
euphrosynay asked: "What is the '18 month deadline' for and do we need to be worried about it?"
Jake answered: "Climate action of the scale needed to tackle the crisis is tied to the speed at which change needs to happen. We need to drastically eliminate greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible to stand a chance of limiting warming above 1.5 degrees, with countries in the global north baring the most responsibility for doing so at a much faster rate than elsewhere. Wealthier nations such as the UK have benefitted immensely from the extractive industries at the expense of others, and have a historic burden to account for. Every day, week and month that goes by without doing what's necessary reduces our chances of limiting warming and preventing irreversible climate breakdown."
Obolinda wondered: "What do you/hope to do besides strikes?"
Jake said: "Aside from the YouthStrike4Climate campaign, the UK Student Climate Network is undertaking in depth work in many areas including to push for a Green New Deal in the UK alongside other campaigns and movements. We see a Green New Deal as the solution to tackle the climate crisis as well as changing our society to work in the interests of everyone. We're also pushing for reform of the education system to centre the climate and ecological crisis, working to incorporate youth views in policy making and building a mass movement of young people to pressure those in power to act with the urgency the climate crisis requires."
steamed-hams wanted to know: "Can you tell us about climate change prevention and its impact economic growth?"
Jake responded: "As a solution to the climate crisis, we're explicit in our calls for a Green New Deal. As part of this call, it's recognised that we need to move beyond orthodox ways of thinking about the economy that purely focus on growth. We need to leverage finance and political will to massively invest in a just transition, the required renewable infrastructure for a green economy, and in our communities, especially those that have suffered from historic underinvestment. However, this doesn't just apply to the UK, but has a necessary pillar of internationalism to support others around the world to transition their economies through the transfer of resource and technology."
nexttime was interested in finding out: "If you were given £100m straight up, let’s say by the UN somehow, to fight climate change, what would you spend it on?"
Jake replied: "One of the best ways of utilising resources is investing in the communities and movements that are pressuring governments to take action. Over the previous year we've seen the potential of what can happen, and with proper financing to allow ambitious ideas and people power to flourish, we will be able to continue ensuring politicians are being made to listen to those pushing for the necessary changes, and empowering our communities at the same time."
They also asked: "What do you recommend students do as individuals to fight climate change? Does that change once a young person starts work, and has more disposable income?"
Jake recommended: "We believe that tackling the climate crisis is a collective cause, and requires wholesale and systemic change. Individual actions, usually through consumer choices or lifestyle changes are definitely welcome and we all need to do our bit to change the way in which we live to ensure we're as sustainable as we can be, but this can also be limited by your own personal circumstances. We don't think everyday people should be shamed for not being able to take the changes that others may be able to do with a greater freedom to do so."
Finally, nexttime wanted to know: "Do you think Extinction Rebellion has been helpful, or harmful?"
Jake responded: "Alongside UKSCNs youth strike movement, there's no doubt Extinction Rebellion have played a massive role in ensuring that public awareness about the climate crisis has skyrocketted. We need increasingly large amounts of people to build a movement calling for urgent and ambitious climate action rooted in climate justice to pressure those in power to act."
Labrador99 wondered: "What's been the biggest challenge in getting heard/taking part in campaigning?"
Jake replied: "One of the biggest challenges in getting heard is ensuring that the need for climate action comes through undiluted in the media. Climate reporting is getting better, but the sense of urgency is still lacking in many sections of the media, with vested interests from polluters and emitters responsible for the crisis being catered to. One of the most effective ways of getting heard is continuing to organise and mobilise within our communities and building a movement, and increasing the level of education around climate change among as many people as possible."
04MR17 asked: "How much do you engage with politicians and which ones are most supportive to your cause (besides the obvious Green Party)?"
Jake answered: "Over the course of the year, we have been undertaking political meetings with individual MPs, and convening roundtables on climate change with the leaders of all the opposition parties - unfortunately the Converative party are yet to send even a representative which we're hoping will change in the future. We're pushing all parties equally to increase their climate ambition and commit to tackling the climate crisis with the urgency and scale that the challenge requires. The Labour Party have recently adopted Green New Deal policy at it's September conference which calls for a net-zero target of 2030 which is among the most ambitious climate policies of a mainstream political party."