THE article about Greta Thunberg (“I’ve always been a shy, invisible girl at the back that no one listens to,” M.EN. 16 April) was very welcome. The teenager, who has been advised by Professor Kevin Anderson of University of Manchester, said “when we think of the climate crisis [we think of] polar bears and so on. But to actually see that it has human implications is very important.”This is key. Heatwaves and flooding are triggers for increased domestic violence and mental health problems. Old people are especially vulnerable to increased heat.
Meanwhile, jobs are going to be destroyed as some industries shrink (as per your report – the same day – about the Airport). Young people who are paying attention know their adulthoods will be blighted by escalating and unstopping environmental crises How will we cope? By preparing, while tackling barriers of class, race and gender. By working and thinking together.
Manchester City Council’s six scrutiny committees could – if pressed and encouraged – perform a vital role in convening groups to study and think about what the Council and its partners could do to help residents of the city take action. All that is required is real courage, vision and leadership, and a willingness to stop treating climate change as one more issue to be spun and blustered through.
Dr Marc Hudson
editor of Manchester Climate Monthly
Our elected representatives have failed us, but so have the mainstream news-media.
I’ll never forget reading the unsigned editorial that a local B.C. community newspaper printed just before Earth Day 2017, titled “Earth Day in need of a facelift”. Varied lengths of the same editorial was also run by other community newspapers, all owned by the same news-media mogul, who’s also an aspiring oil refiner. It opined that “some people would argue that [the day of environmental action] … is an anachronism”, that it should instead be a day of recognizing what we’ve societally accomplished. “And while it [has] served us well, in 2017, do we really need Earth Day anymore?”
I’ve never heard anyone, let alone a mainstream news outlet, suggest we’re doing so well as to render Earth Day an unnecessary “anachronism”. Considering the sorry state of the planet’s natural environment, I found it one of the most irresponsible acts of editorial journalism I’d witnessed in my 33 years of news-media consumption.
Thus, the aspect I like about social media in general is that it enables far greater non-gate-kept information freedom — particularly in regards to corporate environmental degradation — than that offered by what had been a virtual news/information monopoly held by the mainstream news-media, including that of print.
Although I don’t know his opinion of social media, Noam Chomsky has noted that while there are stories published about man-made global warming, “It’s as if … there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying ‘look, this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular [non-environmental pro-fossil fuel] coverage simply disregards it.”
Although it’s a couple decades late, I believe that progressive movements are far more effective with the unprecedented informative and organizational abilities made widely available by social media.