Climate breakdown in Reeth – an XR response?

My original idea may be too late: a coach load of Leeds XR volunteers to help the farmer devastated by the flood in Reeth on 30th July. The Northern Echo report on 3rd August suggests that help is already on its way. I still think we should offer. I make no bones about it: we need to use this disaster to highlight that this is merely a minor shot across the bows from the forces wreaking climate breakdown on the entire planet. But that message will only have the impact it should if we first get stuck in with the relief operation.

This, and the potential Whaley Bridge dam collapse a day or so later are insignificant as compared with the floods in Kerala and Mozambique. But they are on our doorstep, in places I have visited, and can reach to do something about it. But all are due to the same inescapable fact. Every time a new weather related disaster happens, (New Orleans, New York), the denlalists claim it is only part of Nature’s regular pattern. What denialists cannot deny is that CO2 has risen from less than 300 parts per million in 1900, to 410ppm and rising in June 2018. This rise is almost certainly being aggravated by methane escaping from fracking, and from thawing permafrost.

The Greenhouse effect is not limited to rising temperatures: there is more energy in the atmosphere. With 40% more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, each disaster will be much worse than it would have been.

Would it really be tolerable if there is nothing worse than a repeated pattern of events more severe than in the past? But the same processes are still adding more CO2 (and methane) to the atmosphere. The only sane course is for a fall, possibly steep, in economic activity globally. It will happen anyway on current ‘progress’, but we could still try to manage it.

Can the transition to a sustainable (world) economy be managed? The Green New Deal may well help, but it would have helped more if the transition had become a mainstream topic when Limits to Growth were first made a public issue in 1972. But that is spilt milk.

I must come clean. I have argued in this weblog that the unconditional basic income (UBI), by guaranteeing security, is the only way I can think of to make the necessary reduction in expectations possible. My secret ambition is that I can use Reeth to tell that to a wider audience.

I wish Greta Thunberg took me seriously enough to add this bit to her message.

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