23 June 2017

It Ain't Half Hot Mum

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by Chris Shaw

George Orwell once said that, born in any other time, he would probably have spent his days as the vicar in some sleepy English backwater.

However, he felt he had no option but to write about the evil he saw around him, in the hope of making the world a better place. And that is a bit like how I feel, sitting here writing this; I would love to be just getting on with my normal life, but I feel I have no choice but to try to do something about the threat that climate change poses to my children's future.

Most independent scientists agree that the 10,000 deaths in France from this summer's heatwave are but nothing compared to what climate change has in store for us. Indeed, according to most predictions, the sort of heatwave experienced in Europe this summer wasn't meant to be happening for another 20 or 30 years, which means that things are hotting up much quicker than was expected. As Sir John Houghton, formerly Chief Executive of the Meteorological Office, says "...scenarios emerging from the Met Office's Hadley centre envisage...a degree and speed of global warming the consequences of which are hard to quantify or even imagine."

With 2003 set to be the hottest year on record, and the nine hottest years to date all having occurred in the last eleven years, it is no longer possible to pretend that global warming isn't real, or that it is simply another environmental scare story.

Like it or not, we are now living in a world undergoing profound climatic and ecological change. And that means learning to think afresh about what it means to be a responsible parent, and about what it means to provide for your children's future.

Having seen with my own eyes the world getting hotter year on year, I am no longer able to convince myself that everything is going to be OK. Which is why I now find myself, a father of two with a career in marketing and a semi in the suburbs, putting pen to paper and going public with my worries. You see, I simply don't believe that I am the only parent in Sussex who is deeply concerned about how climate change will affect my children's quality of life. And nor do I believe I am the only parent in Sussex who actually wants to try and do something to protect his children from this threat. In fact, I'm sure many of the people reading this probably are worried and are perhaps doing what they can, either in their day to day lives or through supporting environmental charities.

But I think the parents of young children have a very special stake in the future, and perhaps have something different to say from the other groups and individuals working to address this problem. And I hope that, by writing this for ABC, enough parents who feel as I do will contact me, and maybe by sharing our concerns, ideas, and perhaps a little bit of spare time (a rare commodity for all parents, I realise), we might be able to do something which will contribute to the wider move for change, and as a result know that we did the right thing by our kids.

If, like me, you feel climate change presents a real threat to our children's quality of life then please email me with your email address at christopher_shaw@lineone.net, or write with your details to Chris Shaw c/o ABC Magazine, PO Box 2780, Brighton BN1 5QR. I'll then get in touch with everyone who responds with further details about opportunities for making a real difference to our children's future. I look forward to hearing from you.


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