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Introduction to the Green Recovery Campaign

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win” - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

What is the problem?

The problems associated with the lifestyles of the elite in high-income countries need no introduction. The current trend towards at least 3°C of global heating threatens billions of people. No one will escape, however the people set to suffer most are those whose lifestyles are the least responsible for our predicament. From the destruction of nature, rampant deforestation, intensive farming, and air travel, it is clear that something has to change.

For decades, the response of governments around the world has been delayed and sluggish, a long-term issue neglected in favour of immediate economic concerns. Experts have said that we have just six months to avert a climate crisis (IEA, 2020). Now, in the face of sweeping global change, we hope to drive a new approach to transport, energy and jobs.

It is no longer an issue that can be ignored.

The coronavirus pandemic

Though devastating in many ways, the global pandemic has given us a glimpse into a brighter future. Planes have been grounded, cars are parked motionless in driveways, factories have stopped filling the air with industrial gases. People are working from home, have swapped cars for bicycles, and are travelling less.

In recent months, the UK public has demonstrated its capacity to respond positively and responsibly when facing an invisible threat that demands collective action. Our campaign aims to channel this engagement into driving a green recovery, to tackle the challenges which come from both the climate crisis and the global recession.

There are already clear indications of how our altered behaviour can bring about positive change:

  • Daily global CO2 emissions have decreased by 17% (Nature, 2020)
  • The UK has gone without coal for two months, for the first time since the 19th century
  • There have been 11,000 fewer deaths in Europe caused by poor air quality (Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, 2020)

The environmental destruction which fuels our modern lifestyle has been paused.

We cannot continue without risking everything. It’s time to push the reset button.

What is a green recovery?

We are advocating an approach to economic recovery which prioritises and addresses the climate emergency. Science tells us that climate change is irrefutable, but it is not too late to stem the tide. Doing so will require fundamental transformations in our society, changes that will create a better future for us all.

There is a pressing need to integrate environmental and economic goals. Major priorities will include green transport, rethinking and redesigning infrastructure and buildings, implementing clean power systems, supporting low carbon industries, and working towards a circular economy.

Communities across the UK will benefit from these investments and policy changes on many levels. A sustainable food system will improve our diets. Better-insulated houses will be warmer and reduce energy bills. Investments in public transport will ease congestion and cleaner air will make us healthier.

A hopeful future

To help tackle the climate emergency, many people would be prepared to continue with some of the recent lifestyle changes enforced by the government, even after emerging from lockdown (Climate Assembly UK, 2020).

Empowered by modern technology, people working from home have reaped the benefits. The lack of a commute has given workers more time with their families and, for the first time, people are questioning the need to travel for hours into work every day. 87% of companies feel that they now have the technology and resources in place to work productively and remotely for an extended period (The Flexible Future of Work, 2020).

We need to turn to innovative solutions like these to secure a sustainable future.

Nature-based methods such as improved farming practices and land restoration allow us to mitigate part of our carbon footprint while addressing the decarbonization of the economy and supporting biodiversity in ecosystems.

Technological solutions already exist for 70% of today’s emissions. Renewable energy is now the cheapest energy source in many places. Electric cars are on the brink of becoming mainstream. The growth of these solutions in a post-coronavirus society will help us to reduce our emissions and leapfrog to a cleaner, more resilient world.

Things are dire and the stakes have never been higher, but it is not too late.

What you can do

These issues may seem vast and impersonal, matters to be decided by the leaders of the world. But you can make your voice heard.

“Believe in the power of your own voice. The more noise you make, the more accountability you demand from your leaders, the more our world will change for the better." Al Gore, Former US Vice President.

The UK government has promised to “build back better” and we need to make sure it follows this commitment with action. Far-reaching decisions are being made right now and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our planet and everyone on it.

Our campaign will first invite you to learn more about the benefits of a green recovery in the UK, and how this can be made a reality.

Through our app you will then be able to take easy, quick actions to support a green recovery and make a difference. This might be signing a petition for policy change, lobbying businesses to adopt a green recovery plan, improving the energy efficiency of your home, engaging in volunteering opportunities and so much more. Working with our campaign partner, Environmentally Conscious, we will focus on actions which drive structural change.

Download the now-u app to join a community of people fighting for change. We’re doing our bit, now-u.

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Matthew Harris

A recent chemical engineering graduate from the University of Cambridge. Blogger and copywriter for now-u. Big fan of Jaffa Cakes and road trips. Based near Rugby with two siblings.

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