The world has spo­ken on cli­mate change, now we need to em­power our politi­cians to act.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENTS - Found­ing Ed­i­tor, An­drew Creagh


How de­press­ing is it to end 2018 with Jair Bol­sonaro be­ing elected Pres­i­dent of Brazil?

Jair is from the hard hard right of pol­i­tics. He ad­mires Brazil’s former dic­ta­tor­ships, he wants to re­move land rights from Indige­nous peo­ples, he doesn’t believe that hu­man ac­tiv­ity af­fects cli­mate change and wants to chop down the rain­for­est. And, of course, he hates the gays.

He thinks a dead son is bet­ter than a gay son, says that if sees LGBT peo­ple on the street hold­ing hands he’ll punch them, and that if gays move into your neigh­bour­hood the value of your house will go down. Read more of his anti-gay rants in our Nuts spe­cial this month on page 70. Or find his in­ter­view with Stephen Fry on YouTube in which his ho­mo­pho­bia is up-front and un­cen­sored. It’s chill­ing.

Life for Brazil’s LGBTIQ cit­i­zens is about to get bad. Bol­sonaro has em­bolden ho­mo­phobes. In­creased hate at­tacks have al­ready been re­ported in Rio and Sao Paulo.

We can only sup­port our LGBTIQ fam­ily in Brazil from afar but, there is an is­sue that’s even more press­ing; it ef­fects ev­ery­one on the planet and some­thing I feel strongly about: cli­mate change.

If, like Jair Bol­sonaro, you don’t believe cli­mate change is im­pacted and ac­cel­er­ated by hu­man ac­tiv­ity, stop read­ing now. I’m not go­ing to at­tempt to con­vince you that you are wrong. If the world­wide sci­en­tific com­mu­nity can’t do it, what hope do I have? You are a lost cause.

To ev­ery­one else, I have a sug­ges­tion and a re­quest. No mat­ter what coun­try you are in, and DNA’s read­ers are all over the world, please con­sider writ­ing to your mem­ber of par­lia­ment or po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive to tell them that you want to see real ac­tion on cli­mate change.

Sir David At­ten­bor­ough told lead­ers at the COP24 sum­mit in Poland in early De­cem­ber that fail­ure to ad­dress cli­mate change would see the col­lapse of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion. I don’t think that’s over­stat­ing the si­t­u­a­tion. We are al­ready see­ing com­mu­ni­ties be­ing de­stroyed by ris­ing sea lev­els, drought, floods and hur­ri­canes. At­ten­bor­ough also said cli­mate change is “a man-made dis­as­ter of a global scale, our great­est threat in thou­sands of years”.

“The world’s peo­ple have spo­ken,” he said. “Time is run­ning out. Lead­ers of the world, you must lead.”

The peo­ple have spo­ken, and we need to keep speak­ing to make sure our politi­cians take ac­tion. Sign­ing an on­line pe­ti­tion is great when you want to add your voice to a hot topic, but politi­cians (the good ones) ac­tu­ally take no­tice of the emails they re­ceive. It’s one way they stay in touch with the is­sues that mat­ter to their elec­torate and those con­cerns are dis­cussed in party rooms and pol­icy meet­ings.

From ex­pe­ri­ence, I know there are a few ways to get your email no­ticed when it lands in a politi­cian’s in-box. Firstly, tell them who you are. In my case, I’m an An­glo, mid­dle-class, mid­dle-aged man with a pub­lish­ing busi­ness. They want my vote! They want yours, too, so re­mind them gen­tly that you are an ac­tive voter. Don’t abuse them or use neg­a­tive lan­guage. “Why aren’t you do­ing more to save the planet !!!! ” won’t work. In­stead, tell them calmly, plainly and di­rectly why you want to see ac­tion on cli­mate.

You may be able to an­tic­i­pate your rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s re­sponse. Of­ten, job losses, power prices, emis­sions taxes and ex­cuses about other coun­tries not do­ing their share are of­fered up. Don’t let them. Tell them these ar­gu­ments are no longer ac­cept­able ex­cuses. Yes, it’s dif­fi­cult, but re­mind them that that’s what they’ve been elected to do – find ways to solve the dif­fi­cult chal­lenges.

Fi­nally, tell them you will be dis­ap­pointed if you only re­ceived a stan­dard auto-gen­er­ated re­ply to your email. Ask them to re­ply per­son­ally. Ask them to ex­plain their party’s pol­icy or what they’re do­ing per­son­ally on this is­sue. Hold them to ac­count.

Pres­sure from pow­er­ful lobby groups, po­lit­i­cal in­er­tia and fear stops politi­cians tak­ing the ac­tion on cli­mate change we all want (ex­cept for those peo­ple who stopped read­ing a few para­graphs back). We can em­power them to take ac­tion by say­ing we will only vote for politi­cians who sup­port strong, im­me­di­ate ac­tion. This is a bi­par­ti­san is­sue. Left or right, ev­ery­one wants a live­able planet. Wher­ever you are on the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, find your rep or MP and write. Don’t be a by­stander as the Earth goes up in smoke.

Thank you!

We need more David At­ten­bor­oughs and less Jair Bol­sonaros. Be an At­ten­bor­ough.

We need more David At­ten­bor­oughs and less Jair Bol­sonaros. Be an At­ten­bor­ough.

Sir David At­ten­bor­ough: the Peo­ple’s Voice at the COP24 cli­mate con­fer­ence.

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