‘There is enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed’
When we think about positive solutions to climate change we have to think about its root causes. We have to face up to the fact that climate change is about resource use and is largely the result of consumerist values and lifestyles in the developed North. True solutions therefore don’t allow for the continuation of high-consumption lifestyles, but relate to profound changes in what we consume and in how we organise our daily lives. No one is saying that this will be easy. We can start by accepting that change must come from us. It's no good waiting for governments to enforce radical change - they simply won't do it. By taking the initiative, we actually reclaim power as inhabitants of our planet and can then begin to create a new world in the here and now.
And why isn't it going to be easy? We live in a system where we are repeatedly told from the day we're born that buying things will make us happy. We're told that we 'need' things which are in reality not needs but wants (and in a time of climate crisis many are actually luxuries). Corporations spend billions upon billions reiterating the message that we will be happy if we just find the right product. And all the time industry continues to exploit and destroy the planet (and its people) to keep churning out the plastic trash that we do not need. And when we buy the advertised entertainment goods, or clothes or even food, so much of which is made and grown on the other side of the world, rather than creating and growing these things ourselves (which is possible), we use a huge amount of resources in transportation. Not to mention losing the joy of creating and providing for ourselves! Instead, we buy, we use, we throw away - forgetting that there is no "away". And while recycling and composting are good and necessary, they are in no way enough as solutions to climate chaos.
So how do we go about changing our high consumption lifestyles? Obviously it would be great if society en masse decided to re-localise agriculture, seriously invest in public transport or pull the plug on the advertising industry - but that's not currently looking too likely, is it? And therefore, as well as struggling to bring about these systemic changes as we do in our campaigning work, we also need to look to our own lifestyles. Look around and see how you live, how you can reduce your resource use in your home, slowly expanding your new ways of living into your local neighbourhoods, communities and places of work. Yes, we've all become attached to things that are not sustainable, and some changes will take grit and determination but on our side is the fact that we can work collectively to create and embrace new lifestyles, and in so doing re-create the hugely valuable sense of community that is being lost from our modern lives.
Below we have created a list of links to various websites that relate to positive solutions. Some will suit you down to the ground, others will not. There is no one answer and all we hope is, given that most of our website is given over to facing up to and confronting corporate climate criminals (something we highly recommend), that some of these sites will help you to think about how you want to start changing your lifestyle too.
There is a global climate justice movement rising up, and it's not just about confronting the root causes of climate change, it's also about creating a new world in the ruins of the old.
If there has ever been a time to do that, that time is now.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
One thing you could do to start with is calculate your carbon footprint. That way you can find out where you create more carbon than you really need to. For a good analysis of which carbon calculators are most accurate, visit COIN.
Other websites which may then be of interest (in alphabetical order):
Agroforestry Research Trust. The Trust is a non-profit making charity, registered in England, which researches into temperate agroforestry and into all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops.
Centre for Alternative Technology. We offer solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing our planet and the human race, such as climate change, pollution and the waste of precious resources. e demonstrate practical ways of addressing these problems. Leading by example, we aim to show that living more sustainably is not only easy to attain but can provide a better quality of life.
Community Composting Network. The Community Composting Network supports and promotes the community management and use of waste bio-degradable resources. It is a member's organisation, self-managed by an elected committee of members.
Earth Activist Training. So much more than a permaculture design certification course, Earth Activist Training (EAT) weaves the principles of permaculture, earth-based spirituality, and regenerative activism into a captivating curriculum that blends classroom lecture and experiential exercises with practical, hands-on learning opportunities.
Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI). A non-profit organisation whose mission is to help people reduce their impact on the environment, improve their quality of life, gain new skills, live in a healthier and more satisfying way, have fun and save money.
Low Impact Life Onboard (LILO). The LILO website is where you'll find information about the eco-boating community in Britain, as well as the LILO Handbook. The Handbook is a guide and resource manual to low impact life on board. It's co-written by anyone who has something to contribute - whether it's personal experience, a tip on where to find eco-products or designs for a new biodiesel reactor.
Naturewise. Our work focuses on raising environmental awareness and enabling people to move towards living more sustainably.. We do this primarily through running permaculture courses, creating and promoting forest garden, and giving advice and consultations. We are based within the inner city of London and more recently in west Wales.
Network for Climate Actions. The 'Positive Alternatives' pages are full of amazing resources, from how to install micro-generation renewable energy sources to bike maintenance, rainwater harvesting to growing your own food, it's all here - www.networkforclimateaction.org.uk.
The Permaculture Association. Permaculture is about creating sustainable human habitats by following nature's patterns. An ecological design system that inspires and empowers us to create our own solutions to local and global problems. It provides ways to design and create healthy productive places to work, rest and play.
Radical Routes. Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change. The network is made up mainly of housing co-ops of various sizes (but none have more than 15 members), a few workers co-ops and a couple of social centres.
Transition Towns. A Transition Initiative is a community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question: "for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"
(For a thought provoking analysis of the Transition Towns Initiative, visit - http://sparror.cubecinema.com/stuffit/trapese).
Vegan Society. Promoting a vegan lifestyles - that is, ways of living that seek to exclude, as far as is possible, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. This is one personal step that can achieve a lot for the planet and the rest of its inhabitants.