Tackling issue of climate change centres on efforts of individuals

Campaigner Al Gore
Campaigner Al Gore
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If ever there was a problem that could be said to be global, it is climate change.

Unfortunately, I have never been wholly persuaded by the maxim ‘global problems need global solutions’. Climate change summits and agreements, targets and treaties, have become part of regular business of international politics. They can perhaps be best characterised by being rather better at producing resolutions than actual solutions.

Al Gore, perhaps now the most famous climate change campaigner, made the film An Inconvenient Truth, won a Nobel Prize and got headlines around the world.

He is just one man, but he has made a difference. Recently, I have been working with the Green Alliance on a pamphlet, launched this week, discussing what we can do to unlock local leadership to tackle climate change. What I found so appealing about the project was seeing how a collective problem could begin to yield to the power of the individual.

This particular global problem does require a personal solution from all of us. In the UK, two of the three biggest contributors to C02 emissions are our transportation and our homes. Making a difference is going to mean real changes to our everyday lives.

But this particular global problem needs countless different local solutions. This isn’t going to happen spontaneously, we need leadership.

East Hampshire is home to several organisations like the Greening Campaign and people who have become local leaders, inspiring others to act and making green choices easier.

To scale our solution to meet the size of our problem, we need leadership and support at all levels, from peers, public-spirited neighbours, local voluntary groups and local authorities.

Government also has a part to play. But it is striking how often a real leap forward on tackling climate change centres on individuals, from Al Gore to a committed local volunteer in East Meon or Petersfield.