I’ve just started on a course run by the Green Foundation at Eden. It’s run over a few weeks and is aimed at local businesses in an effort to make them more aware of climate issues and sustainability. It was quite a change to go back into a more formal business environment and reminded me why I was quite glad to leave it all behind me in the first place. I’m not good with strangers and quite happy to disagree with people so not the best start. In fact when I went into the room two tables were filling up with people chatting to each other and getting to know one and other. I went and sat on the empty table. Gradually my table also began to fill up but funnily enough, it began to fill up with other people who were quite happy to keep their own company. One quiet, polite table two bubbly tables. I think the course organisers must have looked at us with concern. Embarrassment inducing “get to know” you exercises continued and more and more people got into the spirit of things. My table seemed to retreat into itself but we were beginning to share a few raised eyebrows and grimaces with each other. Progress of a sort. Gradually and at our own speed we got to know each other and soon we were as likely to be told off for talking as any other table.
Eden makes for such a wonderful venue to host a course, we were often wandering off into the gardens either to discuss things or just have a coffee. Lectures were varied and interesting and the team work – yes I cringed – wasn’t so dreadful and as I got to scribble loads of doodles I was happy. The structure of the course was to discuss the wider climate change picture and then we began to narrow it down to our own businesses to see if and how we could improve practices. I’m only half way through, a few more sessions at Eden and some site visits to other delegates businesses to compare and contrast but so far it’s proving interesting. The start of the course was a bit shocking, all the facts and figures, the rise of costs, the change in climate, the damage to the environment all of these things were alarming but they’re not new. We know that the world has been getting hotter, that worldwide there has been a greater frequency of extreme weather events, that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere and that there is a finite supply of fuel. All this we know and yet it still seems to be a remote issue. Maybe because the problem is the next step; we don’t scientifically, categorically know what is going to happen next and we don’t know therefore how to fix it.
The Green Foundation makes the point that even if we don’t know what comes next we can make a pretty good guess that globally it’s going to get hotter which isn’t good news for billions of people. Even if things got no worse than today, Bangladesh would still suffer country wide flooding, Australia would still be on a permanent drought footing, America would be more prone to massive tornados to name but three very large countries. Maybe we will cool down again but the link between CO2 emissions and global temperature rises is pretty clear for the last few millennia. So if we want to cool down we have to reduce CO2 emissions. Which are amongst other things fossil fuels. Hard to imagine a world without fossil fuels though.