Through the NOW Lens: Climate Activism and the Rise of Eco-Anxiety With so many climate movements happening right now which ones should you support? Where does travel come into play within the narratives coming out of these movements? 

Through the NOW Lens: Climate Activism and the Rise of Eco-Anxiety
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This has been a huge year for climate change activism, people are finally waking up to the science that has been telling us for years about the degradation of our planet, and consequently they are feeling helpless and angry. Eco-anxiety is gripping the world right now as people fear for theirs and their children’s futures, this is clearly demonstrated through the schools strikes that were happening all over the world and the Global Climate Strike which had 7.8 million protesters. The most prominent of these has been the Extinction Rebellion movement. There has never been a more poignant time to join in with the many climate change movements occurring all over the world right now.

With the October Extinction Rebellion just gone there have been mixed feelings. Their tactics are certainly effective but are extreme and not for everyone. Many people have felt they want to support the cause but might not feel that Extinction Rebellion is for them, however there are many other organisations and movements working alongside Extinction Rebellion that you could also get involved with.

For example the Stop Ecocide movement set up by the late Polly Higgins, a British barrister who led a decade-long campaign for “ecocide” to be recognised as a crime against humanity. Is a fantastic movement that is trying to criminalize ecocide.

They say that:

Serious harm to the Earth IS preventable
When government ministers can no longer issue permits for it,
when insurers can no longer underwrite it,
when investors can no longer back it,
when CEOs can be held criminally responsible for it,
the harm will stop.

Stop Ecocide NOW

ECOCIDE is recognised as a serious loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems, and includes climate and cultural damage. They therefore believe ECOCIDE should be recognised as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court – alongside Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. You can sign up to become an Earth protector here!

Other organisations that are doing incredible environmental work for both people and planet are Tree Sisters; a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care.

350.org is another amazing organisation tackling climate change. Started by a small group of university students in Philadelphia, “350” became a global grassroots climate movement that focused on holding leaders in various positions accountable to the real­ities of science and the principles of justice. Their argument was simple and twofold, supplementing a moral incentive with an economic one: it is not only wrong to profit from climate change, but it also is no longer a good investment as fossil fuel assets are losing value fast. The campaign inspired institutions to divest around 5.4 trillion from fossil fuels; another 5.2 billion was divested by individuals as of January 2017.

Where does travel come into this?
Travel is a huge issue that is being grappled over within the climate change rhetoric. There is no getting around the fact that the carbon output of flying is unrivalled, however the importance of travel and exposure to other people and parts of the world is also imperative to our ability as humans to appreciate our earth and be driven to protect it. Waking up to climate change does not mean the end of travel and our need as humans to experience the entirety of the world in all its beauty.

Austin Neill

Hypocrisy and flight shame are popular narratives within the wave of the climate movement, and it’s true – we simply cannot continue to travel in the way we have been doing and travelling sustainably isn’t easy. However, starting with making informed choices as a consumer and traveller about how you spend your money and where you spend it – like; choosing to give to establishments that are actually giving back to the community and the earth – is a great place to start. Calculating and offsetting your carbon isn’t going to eradicate the emissions caused by travel, but it’s certainly better than doing nothing and is contributing to a greener future.

Holidays used to be much more infrequent and people would plan their often annual trips away well in advance – these days we travel very last minute and very often, however planning your trips away with more time and care means that choosing to take often lengthier and more expensive train journeys where possible rather than a cheap budget air flight becomes an easier option. Check out our amazing tools available to find out how you can become a more conscious and sustainable traveller.

Do you care about sustainability? Please leave a reply here.