There are two very different outlooks to what our future might look like. There are those who believe everything will stay as it is (perhaps through not really thinking about it too much) and those who predict massive change in how we live on the planet. Until recently I was in the first category. It’s not that I didn’t believe in climate change or understand that the increasing world population must be having some impact on energy supplies, food, etc., it’s because I was focussed on my own life. I had to go to work to pay the bills, I had to do the shopping, mow the lawn, visit family and friends, or whatever else it was. When would I have time to look at the bigger picture? Might it scare me how little I could do anyway?
It’s only since I’ve surrounded myself with people who work in the environmental space that the issues have become more real to me. Every so often I’ll meet someone who believes that global warming has gone too far and we are now entering an age of picking up the pieces. This may seem extreme but there’s part of me that believes it makes sense. Read any environmental website and there are stories of pollution, species dying and politicians focussing on the fight for the remaining fossil fuels. We’re not very good at connecting with the planet!
That’s why I really needed to ask some bigger questions. To find out more about the facts I went to the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford. There I met Dr Brenda Boardman, renowned for her research into fuel poverty in low income households. She helped me address some of the issues.
How do we build houses that alleviate fuel poverty? Should we be working harder to avoid climate change? Or should we be preparing ourselves to live with the consequences?
I think this is most relevant as someone who wants to start a family. I may escape the worst in my lifetime, but my kids will have to face this head on.