Whilst this heatwave has been jolly nice, we can’t ignore the links between the hot weather and climate change. One of our members Low Carbon Oxford North have written an excellent blog post on how its important to connect the dots, make sure we keep raising awareness, and actions we can take to stop climate change in the coming days, weeks and months. Original post below.
The Heat Is On….
It’s been hot, hasn’t it? Delightful in the balmy evenings, but many of us have found it difficult to sleep at night, and we have been asked to keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours who may be at risk of heat exhaustion. Plants are struggling and some farmers say they don’t have enough food for their animals.
This heatwave is happening across much of Europe, North America, China and Japan, with many deaths from wildfires and heatstroke. Climate scientists say that heatwaves and other extreme weather – like the recent floods in Japan – are likely to be more frequent and more severe because of climate change.
We need to take action – now. There is still time, just, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
It may feel as individuals that we have little power – but there is plenty that can be done.
What we can do today
- Walk or cycle if you can: it reduces air pollution as well as carbon emissions
- Close curtains during the day to keep rooms cool. Open windows in the evening to get a breeze
- Take your re-usable water bottle when you go out and make sure you stay hydrated
- Put shallow water bowls in your garden or on windowsills, for birds and small animals who may need water badly
What we can do this month
- Switch to a green energy provider. This is easier than you may think. As well as supporting the shift to a clean energy system, you may well save yourself money. Visit bigcleanswitch.org/oxford
- Enjoy a holiday in the UK, there are so many wonderful places to visit. There’s no need to fly overseas
- Our farmers are struggling – help them by eating local food. Meat production uses a huge amount of water and contributes more to climate change – consider ways to eat more veg and less meat
What we can do in the autumn
- Make our voices heard. In December world leaders will meet to discuss next steps on world-wide action on the climate. We need to make sure that the UK goes to that meeting knowing that people all over the country want real change. We must let our MPs, our councils and our news media know that we want action – start by signing a letter like this one: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/groups/oxford/actions/Sign-a-letter-to-your-MP-to-push-for-urgent-action-on-climate-change
- Here in Oxford we are protected from the worst effects of climate change, but the countries that did least to cause the problem are least resourced to cope with it. Look out for the new ‘FairPlay’ Climate Justice campaign (http://www.climatejusticenorthoxford.org.uk) and find out how to make a difference
- Plan for the future. Our public spaces will need more shade for hot summers. Tree planting can help make our city cooler and healthier, as well as reducing flood risk – we want to see a lot more planting and we can start this year. Low Carbon Oxford North will be organising a tree planting event in the autumn: make sure you hear about it by joining our mailing list (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Consider how to make your home more energy efficient. You’ve probably insulated your attic but we can all do a lot more. The Energy Saving Trust can advise
Climate change is a world-wide issue and action is needed everywhere. It is a big problem but we can solve it. We can play our part locally and push for the UK to take a lead. The heat is on, time is running out. We must act together now.