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Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

For better or worse, money is powerful. Whether a company, a movement or an initiative survives often comes down to cold hard cash. This isn’t great for lots of reasons — it’s rarely the most upstanding people that end up with lots of money, after all — but it does provide a strong avenue for influence.

Financially speaking, I’ve been one of the lucky ones during this pandemic. Despite upended holiday plans and seeing far less of friends and family than I would like, I have kept a stable income and a stable living situation. As a result, my bank…

The coronavirus outbreak is changing the world at a scale and pace not seen since the Second World War. Billions of people in lockdown. Governments taking measures never before implemented. It’s a crazy, unprecedented time, and millions on the frontlines are doing their utmost to save lives and livelihoods. But, for many of us, it is a time of sitting at home, of living quietly, and perhaps of careful thinking.

Many have been reconsidering things that before may have seemed as permanent as the stars in the sky. The roles of community, interdependence and international cooperation are all up for…

I don’t like to brag, but life dealt me a pretty good hand. I can pay my rent and my grocery bills. I have the means to travel, to see friends, to eat out, to have a Netflix subscription. I have good health. I have a supportive family. I am only ever hungry or thirsty due to my own poor forward planning. Even writing these things makes me feel a tad uncomfortable, but it is important to see such things clearly — especially when it comes to the climate crisis.

Almost everyone I interact with is in a broadly relatable…

I recently learnt that a friend from university is now working in oil exploration. I did not take the news well. After my initial judgmental gut reaction, my next thought was along the lines of, “Well, surely this sort of thing shouldn’t affect friendships?” And yet, it kept on troubling me. Every time I saw him, it felt like there was an oily elephant in the room, a petroleum pachyderm that was impossible to ignore.

There are several reasons why I couldn’t just shrug it off. The first was that, since I work in environmental policy and communications, it felt…

Climate change has rocketed up the public agenda. Many citizens around the world now believe climate change to be the greatest threat to their country. People are worried not just about their children’s futures, but also their own, as the effects start to show themselves: heatwaves, hurricanes and floods are becoming ever more common, and can no longer be dismissed as natural trends. The age of denial is over; now the struggle between apathy and action is in full swing.

All of which raises the question of what we, the little people, can do about it. Most of us are…

I tried going fully vegan. It was obviously the ‘right’ thing to do, for so many reasons. It started off well enough — I’d been veggie my whole life, so it wasn’t a huge step — but there were one or two downsides. For starters, I wasn’t fully comfortable with the whole ‘meat is murder’ entitled stereotype that seems to hang around like a bad smell. Expecting friends or relatives to cater specially to my choices when they had invited me for dinner seemed a tad rude. …

“Yeah, but it won’t affect us.”

“Yeah, but we’ll adapt.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be that bad.”

For many people, climate change just doesn’t feel like a big issue. Unless you happen to have experienced a wildfire, a drought or a flood, it still seems quite far off. We can spend a lot of time talking through chains of cause and effect but if someone — be they a member of a public, a businessperson or a political figure — has decided for themselves that climate change isn’t a big deal, it can be pretty difficult to convince them otherwise.

Climate change is in the news. The fact that this is notable in itself is a travesty, but it’s promising that we seem to be there at last. People are on the streets, demanding not some abstract ‘peace and goodwill’ but rather their own future survival. Anyone from across the political spectrum can surely get behind that. Without exaggeration it is a matter of life and death, and now that is being shouted from the rooftops. We have reached a crunch point, a decade or two too late perhaps, but we’re here now. There’s momentum and it must be maintained.

It’s not often talked about, but there is a shameful secret amongst the environmentally enlightened. The very same people that conscientiously recycle, that cut meat from their diet, that put on a jumper instead of turning up the heating, often remain unwilling to change one significant part of their lives: flying. I myself am as guiltily as anybody. But there’s good reason.

The truth is, the world is more accessible than ever before and — let’s face it — we love it. Never has it been easier (or cheaper) to hop on a plane and find yourself somewhere exotic within…

I think about the state of the world a lot. From the moment I wake up the changing climate is on my mind; by the time I’m in the shower it’s the impending global water crisis; once I’m munching on muesli (with soy milk, I hasten to add), I’m mulling over the rampant destruction of biodiversity. This might sound like an exaggeration. It’s not.

A little while ago, it struck me that this pattern of thinking probably wasn’t doing wonders for my own mental wellbeing. This hadn’t occurred to me before. It seemed silly, even selfish, to spare a thought…

Jacob Ashton

Having studied zoology at university, I have now turned to scientific communication. I write a bit of everything, but climate change features most strongly.

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