Where Do We Go From Here? – Sharon Duggan

Well, the obvious thing to talk about this month is the extreme heat we experienced towards the end of July – it really wasn’t funny, was it?! As somebody who tends to feel warmer rather than colder at the best of times during Spring/Summer/Autumn, I found it exhausting and it took me a couple of days to feel back to normal. I should add that I am not a newcomer to high temperatures. My father was a Captain at sea and as a child, until my early teens, I spent a lot of time at sea in places like the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and up and down the Suez Canal. I remember crew members frying eggs on the deck…

Back to now: seeing all those wild fires and houses burning in our own country was really upsetting and scary, a bit like a scene out of a disaster movie and certainly not something you’d expect to see in the UK – and yet, here we are.

Whilst I despair as to why successive governments worldwide didn’t invest in renewables decades ago (and of course we wouldn’t be in the situation we are regarding energy prices, if they had) and chose to ignore the pleas of many non-governmental organisations like WWF and Friends of the Earth, there’s still plenty that they can do. It has taken the war in Ukraine (which has shone a light on the reliance of Europe etc. on Russian gas supplies), the extreme heat that’s been experienced across Europe and the soaring fuel prices (these will only get worse over time as petrol eventually starts to run out; estimated to happen by about 2050).

I should also mention that I am still struggling financially following on from the pandemic. My business took a body blow during the lockdowns (singing being a super spreader and the cost of living/energy price rises have just compounded that, so I understand only too well what it’s like to struggle). Being green does save you money though. This is partly because I just don’t buy as much in the first place, never buy disposable food, make everything from scratch and only what’s in season and lots more. Have a look in the magazine archives for lots of information on everything from energy saving to food.

Indeed, this is not the time to think that there’s nothing we can do. What we don’t want to do is pump yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The latest guidance says that we shouldn’t be flying long haul more than once every three years and that we should only take a short haul flight once a year. We are as responsible as governments for how we shop, how we eat, how we travel locally, how we take holidays (if we’re lucky enough to be able to afford them at present!), how much waste we create, how much energy we use (and at least we’re all much more aware than prior to the energy price rises about that), how many electrical appliances we actually need and how many we can dispense with. The list goes on.

The bottom line is that we’re in this together and it’s only by changing our ways as well as pressurising government to change theirs too that we can save our planet. It sounds so dramatic and yet that’s where we are. A recent Netflix speech by Sir David Attenborough provided the following statistics:

  • 96% of the mammals on our planet by mass are now human, our pets and livestock. This means that there are only 4% of wild mammals left;
  • 70% of all birds on our planet are now chickens….
  • It’s a stark illustration of the damage that we’ve done, but which we can put right.

The best advice I can give is that for every decision we make, we think about its impact on our environment first, not last or not at all.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Cranleigh Climate Action if you’d like me to come along and talk to your group, or if you just want some advice for yourself. We’re always happy to help.

Sharon Duggan

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cranleigh Magazine