OPINION: Let’s tackle climate change head on - Stephen Scales, Zero Carbon Harrogate

I wonder if you have ever been confronted by a situation where you are expected to do something but feel you don’t have the knowledge, skill or desire to actually do it?
Calderdale floods Feb 2020Calderdale floods Feb 2020
Calderdale floods Feb 2020

This might be in the form of public speaking, perhaps at a wedding, anniversary or business presentation; stage fright in that first nativity play; or something as simple as climbing a ladder, for those with a fear of heights.

For many when confronted with such a challenge the urge is to decline, wherever possible, or to find the nearest sofa behind which to hide.

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If the challenge is fleeting and unlikely to be repeated, avoidance may be an acceptable course of action but if it becomes a regular occurrence, it is surely better to tackle it head on, gain experience and defeat the anxiety that it causes.

Our approach to climate action is no different.

We are faced with a situation where the effects of global warming will permanently impact our lives, making them at best uncomfortable and at worst unliveable.

We must do something - we must tackle it head on.

Hiding behind a sofa or finding excuses why actions can’t be taken won’t make the challenge go away.

Knowing what actions to take is the first step but having the commitment to actually follow through on them is the real key.

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We each have our own lives to live and have become very protective of the freedoms and choices we enjoy but doing nothing will surely see those liberties constrained in the not-too-distant future.

We also have a responsibility for those around us, not just ourselves.

Our actions or lack of them can have far reaching effects on many people.

In a few weeks’ time the Climate Action Festival (CAFé), organised by the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition, will provide an opportunity for everyone in the district to find out more about the actions that need to be taken to confront the climate challenge that lies ahead.

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The festival has two main events, one open to the public on Saturday, October 2 and the second, aimed at the business community, on Friday, October 15.

At both of these events experts in their field will give talks and presentations about the problems we face, the solutions required to overcome them and the benefits to be gained by their implementation.

There will also be a range of fringe events taking place during the festival, over the first three weeks of October.

These include the next ‘Walk to School Day’ and the launch of the ‘Car Free Fridays’ initiative, both on October 8, organised by Zero Carbon Harrogate.

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We have it in our power to drastically reduce the carbon emissions that we are personally responsible for.

Undoubtedly, we will need the help of technology and incentives from government, if we are to reach net zero carbon emissions in the district but we must all make a start ourselves, with our own personal climate action plans, which take us forward step by step.

It may be tempting to find the nearest sofa to hide behind or look the other way when someone challenges you to take positive actions to stop climate change but the benefits to the district of doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone are immeasurable.

To find out more about the Climate Action Festival visit www.hdccc.info.