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Why the Climate Crisis is a Personal Crisis

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

This is a speech delivered by Lucia Guzy-Kirkden to members of the public.


A few days ago, I was in town, distributing leaflets to passers-by around the City Centre. I, along with students across the globe, was trying to raise awareness of the growing crisis which is climate change. I was met with…varying responses. Some stopped to let me speak to them, others took a leaflet. Some walked straight past, staunchly avoiding eye contact with the irritating young crank who was trying to stop them from going about their business.


Yet, it was not these individuals who concerned me. Yes, it is worrying that 13% of British citizens do not accept that global warming is a, very immediate, reality. But it is the 70% who accept it who really frighten me. Because, of that 70%, how many are actually doing anything about it?


What frightened me was the people who stopped, who smiled at me, told me they supported what we were doing, but told me that it was pointless. Why fight the inevitable? We have no power. We cannot change laws, we cannot influence big business, or enforce caps on our emissions. And, therefore, we will just go on with our lives, as usual, knowing that we are driving our planet to extinction, but doing nothing to prevent it.


We will do nothing to prevent the effects of climate change.

How draughts and extreme storms will cause millions to flee their homes. How by 2050, 200 million people will be refugees.


How more than 1 million species worldwide face extinction.


How the polar ice caps will continue to melt, and the sea levels will rise and rise, until whole countries are underwater.


How thousands will die in severe weather events across the globe.


And if, perhaps, we need something more close to home, then think of the thousands of families who lost their homes to flooding, and the 13 UK citizens who died in a recent heatwave. And how we are set to have so many more.


Alone, as individuals, we cannot stop this. But, together, we can. Together, we can speak out and lobby the government to pass meaningful environmental policies to cap our greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.


If we are to do this, to come together to fix a problem we caused together, then we must overcome our apathy and our pessimism. The apathy that makes so many of us just walk by, and the pessimism which makes us scoff at even the possibility of making a difference.


And if people don’t care for their futures, then what about the futures of their children, their grandchildren? Of us?


If we cannot sting ourselves to life with hope for a better future, for any kind of future, then we must do it with fear. Fear for ourselves and fear for our children. It is our duty to spread the message of the real-world effects of climate change and awaken ourselves from our sluggish apathy. Because climate change will affect us all. None of us are safe.


We are a world in crisis. According to the UN, in order to overcome climate change, we need global mobilisation on the scale of WW2. We need governments to come to their senses. Britain is a democracy, so we have the power to snap our government awake.

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