2016 was quite a year. It was the hottest year on record. Each month of the year smashing all previous temperature records. We also saw record amounts of ice melt in the arctic and antarctic. A quarter of the Great Barrier Reef was destroyed due to coral bleaching, a phenomenon caused by rising ocean temperatures. It ought to leave little doubt that man made climate change is well under way.
Despite this we are about to see a climate change denier take the office of U.S. president, surrounded by a team of climate change deniers. The election of Trump was one of many events of 2016 that has left a growing feeling of uncertainty, fear and in many cases despair.
2016 wasn’t all doom and gloom for the environment however. There has also been much cause for optimism and hope. 2016 saw a huge surge in the investment and production of renewable energy. The price of solar panels has dropped dramatically and is now becoming a genuine competitor to fossil fuels on the energy market. The term “stranded assets” applied to investments in the fossil fuel industry has made its way into the political mainstream, with many politicians, business people and investors starting to view the fossil fuel industry as a dying industry.
2016 has also seen remarkable victories for grassroots campaigning too. The victory at Standing Rock showed how much can be achieved by global solidarity and campaigning in the face of powerful and ruthless opposition.
There is every reason to be hopeful but absolutely no reason to be complacent. There is still a huge amount to do to create a secure and prosperous future for ourselves and our children in harmony with our environment.
Which brings me to a question I have been asking myself. Where do I go from here? I have been enjoying a bit of a hiatus from blogging and being active over the winter holiday period but am now ready to get going again.
I have already had a few thoughts about what to do myself in 2017.
- I would like to get more involved in a local environmental organisation. I have a few in mind including one I am already a member of and will be documenting my experiences of getting involved in this blog.
- There is a really exciting conference coming up in February in Oslo called Systems Change that I will be attending and blogging about. The conference is about the need for system change to prevent climate change and ways to implement new systems.
Another question is where does the blog go from here? I have really appreciated the kind encouragement and feedback many of you have given me privately. If you have enjoyed the blog then it would be great if you could leave a comment on the page about what you have enjoyed and what you would like to see in the future.
Finally, where do we go from here? What are the priorities for environmentalism and social justice going forward? There seems to be a feeling of optimism and momentum in the environmental movement right now that I haven’t experienced before despite the huge setback of the election of Trump. Maintaining this momentum and inspiring hope is the best way to defeat the politics of Trump. We have to build a movement towards a sustainable future that is so powerful that not even the president of the United States will be able to stop it.