Important vs urgent

Featured imageClimate change has dropped off the agenda lately. The global agenda, the national agenda, the media’s agenda, the public’s agenda, and to some extent, from The DoNation’s agenda.

Our focus has always been on broader sustainability, but for some reason many people seem to think we’re just about carbon, and nothing but carbon. Carbon is just our currency; it’s the nicely measurable bit of the DoActions, but it’s not the sole reason for the DoActions.

Because climate change is just one of the many consequences of our unsustainable lifestyles; although it just so happens to be the most urgent and dramatic of these, it’s also the least sexy. So our attention tends to focus on broader sustainability issues; those that have a much more direct and immediate impact than climate change. Like local pollution, biodiversity, and resource use, as well as our health, social wellbeing, and our good old bank balances.

These are the things that tend to have the broadest appeal too, that draw more people in and persuade them to ‘do’. But a few things in the last week have reminded me why climate change is just so darn important. First there was Al Gore’s 24 Hours of Reality, and then just days later there was 350’s Moving Planet, two events aimed to inform and mobilise the world on the urgency of the climate crisis.

Although there were tens of millions of people involved, even in my line of work I heard barely a whisper about them – a stark comparison to the energy and passion that used to rage around the topic. Interest in climate issues is so drastically thin nowadays that you’d have thought the issue had died away.

But, today of all days, with October temperatures reaching record highs, it’s clear that that’s not the case (not that I’ve been complaining!).  Climate change is happening, and we need to do something about it fast.  Tackling sustainability is important, but tackling climate change is urgent.

So we better pull our fingers out and get working, and you better get on and get Doing…

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