On September 20th, people in more than 150 cities worldwide will walk out of their workplaces and homes to join a global movement begun by young people, and strike for the climate.
Since 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg left school on a Friday to sit alone on the steps of the Swedish Parliament, striking schoolchildren have captured public attention and sympathy in a way that no other action on climate change has managed.
The passion and leadership shown by young people over the last year is inspiring; but their anxiety and outrage about living in a world which is less stable, less just, and less biodiverse than the one their parents enjoyed is also a sobering reminder of the immediacy of climate breakdown, and the failure of the global community to act.
In the same year that has seen Extinction Rebellion shut down areas of central London for almost two weeks in protest against climate breakdown and the destruction of biodiversity, it is also a reminder of the role of protest in holding all of us – governments, businesses, and individuals – to account.
In light of this, it is only right that in many cases businesses are showing their support for the first global climate strike by encouraging their employees to leave the office and take part.
At ClimateCare, several of us will be attending the climate strike in Oxford, supported by management. While striking for climate from an organisation focused on delivering emission reductions might seem counter-intuitive, it is an important part of showing our support for the school strike movement and for the young people who are pushing climate breakdown up the political agenda.
It is also part of upholding our right to protest; without which we would not have the vote, a decent working week, or the right of access to open country. Exercising this right to draw attention to an issue which is so core to the motivation behind the work we do at ClimateCare is, quite simply, the rational thing to do.
But striking for climate from any organisation is first and foremost a vital statement of what has been made inescapably clear by scientists – and by communities on the frontline of climate change – that business as usual is no longer an option. Supporting school strikers is important, but what really matters is whether we listen to them; and whether we act.
Rachael Treharne – Portfolio Management Executive
The management team at ClimateCare is supporting our staff to attend global climate strike events because governments, businesses and civil society alike will be required to achieve the changes the world needs to avert catastrophic climate change.
Governments globally need to enact policy in line with science – such as an economy-wide mandatory price on carbon that both reflects the true societal cost of carbon as well as the cost of an equivalent reduction.
An effective carbon pricing regime would drive useage towards the most climate-efficient activity in all sectors and effectively price out unsustainable business models by accurately reflecting the true societal cost of such operations.
It is clear that business itself has now reached a point where it is open to and accepting of this need to take full responsibility for its environmental impacts, with widespread calls for a global price of carbon even from large emitters.
This needs to happen right now. Environmental and climate responsibilities are immediate, and strategies for how to become climate-neutral by 2030 or even 2050 are not enough
As customers, stakeholders and citizens, we have a voice and we must ensure that it is heard, both by our representatives in Government and the businesses that provide the goods and services we consume.
Edward Hanrahan – Director