The price to pay for climate change?

29 June 2020

A New World of Learning

One positive that may come from Covid-19 is the dramatic effect it has had on reducing CO2 emissions. Greta Thunberg and her fellow climate change activists have been very quiet since February as satellite imagery showing the effects of Covid-19 on emissions has done their job for them. Lockdown and social distancing have meant a rethink of supply chains and working practices; companies are already extending homeworking and reducing industrial output to meet demand.

We have been inspired to bake our own bread, grow our own vegetables, and seek the simpler pleasures in life such as a walk in the local park. The subsequent reduction in travelling by road, rail, sea or air will further benefit the climate change cause.

However, there is knock on effect. The dramatic loss of jobs. Setting aside the damaging affect Covid-19 has had on business and employment, a simpler more ‘local life’ could also cause mass unemployment. It is estimated that in excess of 1 million employees globally in the airline and automotive industries alone have been furloughed with many of those at risk of redundancy the longer the pandemic continues.

Are we happy to accept that mass unemployment in the travel and automotive sectors is a fair price to pay for preserving the planet? Add to that less imports from overseas, more self-sufficiency and more 'making-do' and a few million more could lose their jobs.

While we must do everything possible to save the planet, what if it was your job, your partner’s job or someone from your family’s job on the line?

Rather than compromising between jobs and climate change, shouldn’t we visualise new industries, new ways of working and new ‘ways of life’ that will both save the planet and create jobs such as investing in alternative energy, green transport, green manufacturing, intelligent materials or exploring the world through virtual reality with virtual travel guides. Let’s stop managing our world and instead re-imagining our world and this could start by re-imagining learning.

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