The beginning of a New Year seems a good day for a blog, the first year of the 2020s even
more so. One reason for this is that the headlines of at least some of the newspapers this
morning feature the prize which Prince William is instituting to encourage people to find
solutions to the climate crisis.
Having not heard or read much more than the outline of this competition so far, I anticipate
that I may want to comment on it more on another occasion, but there is one aspect of the
it is being presented in the media on which I do want to make an observation. The
newspapers I have seen have used Prince William’s message that part of the aim of the
competition is to concentrate our minds on the urgency of this task of combating climate
change. They have said that he is pointing out that we have ten years to save the planet.
This perhaps chimes with the desire which some of the parties fielding candidates in the
recent British election felt to bring forward targets for a zero carbon society to 2030 or
Although I can understand the logic of giving ourselves a deadline and also value the
need for urgency, I think we need to do more than this. My view is that we need to find
as quickly as possible as many changes as we can, which have the potential to have a
positive effect on some aspect of the climate or the environment. I imagine that the
changes that are likely to come out of the competition will be more long-term. Those
are certainly needed because many of our structures and technologies have
contributed to the growth in greenhouse gases. However, we can all do something
about the things we personally do, such as driving a car less either by walking, cycling
or using public transport or eating less meat in our diet. Given the link between New
Year and resolutions, the first day of the year seems a good day to think about this.
Changing aspects of our society takes time. Changing our own attitudes and even
behaviour can happen immediately.
The other feature of today that I want to highlight is that is the first day of 2020.
I’m not sure that everyone would see it this way, but I think that 2020 is going to be
a year of vision. Although I sometimes think of this as a fairly poor pun, I have been
wondering if there is a sense in which this year is a challenge to all of us to identify
what changes we want to make in our lives and in our society. That links with what
I have just said about New Year resolutions. The time to start the process is now!