The historic events of the past weeks have divided the nation and left many feeling anxious about the changes which lie ahead. But change is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps, rather than focus on the negatives, it is time to seize the opportunities that the next few years will bring and place the environment firmly back on the political agenda.
People are rightly worried about their jobs and their financial futures at this time. Economics are undoubtedly important but underneath everything, we need a planet to live on. Without a healthy planet to sustain life, there is nothing else. The environment underpins everything, it is the source of all life and if it fails, we all fail. Yet, so far politics has largely failed our planet. Politicians have paid lip service to environmentalism but largely dealt with it as a side issue. Now our leaders have a gilt-edged opportunity to step back and consider the real issues that will impact on generations to come.
The EU certainly provided some strong environmental policies. We now have the opportunity to go even further and work with governments around the world to push a global green plan. Brexit, and the change in political landscape it will bring, will provide the best chance in a generation for us to reset the agenda and prioritise the natural world and its protection. We are entering a historic time when politicians and people have a real opportunity to make a difference.
Over the past decade we have seen a gradual erosion of polices and measures designed to protect the planet and reverse some of the damage man has done to the environment. The climate change agreement made in Paris in December 2015 was commendable but there is still far to go. Sadly, the clock is now ticking ever louder and time is running out. The simple fact is that there are too many of us and in the last 100 years we have taken too much and given nothing back. The planet is saying enough is enough and you can find the evidence at all levels; local as well as global.
Today, however, in the turmoil, we have a chance. All bets are off. No one knows what will happen, which is why people who care about the planet, wildlife, the robustness of the food chain and climate change need to make their voices heard in the coming weeks and months and call for the environment to be placed at the top of the list.
We have the opportunity to call for the creation of a body or organisation that sits above politics that looks at every environmental situation and coordinates it internationally, from trophy hunting to solar power distribution – much like the UN. Every piece of legislation should be assessed for its environmental impact and a new movement of environmental internationalism should be developed. The opportunities are huge and we stand to gain hugely.
If we lose the planet we lose the very basis of our existence and nothing else will matter. There is no plan B and, indeed, no planet B. Now is the time to act positively and use the changes that are coming for the good of the world.