As I approached the lectern as the target speaker at the local, homely House Hotel on 7th March 2020, I had a slight sense of foreboding that my speech entitled, “Climate change emergency” might not meet with the full approval of the well-educated, assembled gathering.
Here I was, a rookie speaker, attempting to entertain my audience of minor dignitaries with my speech on a querulous subject, evoking harsh measures of redemption, while mildly mocking acclaimed public figures, eminent public authorities and prevalent practices.
Not in my wildest dreams did I envisage that the radically changed world I was advocating would, within a few weeks, become a reality, precipitated by the very instrument predicted in my speech.
The skies are empty of aircraft, the motorways devoid of traffic, foreign holidays the stuff of fond memories, the majority of the population barely travelling far from home and children no longer accumulating throw-away toys by the day.
Our wayward life-style has been curtailed, not by some powerful foreign enemy, but by a simple, silent killer, a tiny, invisible organism, the coronavirus or COVID-19.
My speech of 7th March 2020, reproduced in full below, came to pass in a whirlwind. The future beckoning on 7th March 2020 transformed into the barely believable present nightmare of April 2020.
If and when COVID-19 is finally defeated, will we continue to embrace our new unplanned world and perhaps set about saving the planet in a meaningful manner?
Or will we again resume the role of parasites in our four-wheeled metal carriages as they return to the highways; and in our thin, long metallic flying tubes as they return to the Skies?
Speech for 7th March 2020 entitled, “Climate Change Emergency”
World War 2. That’s right, I said World War 2.
That was indeed an emergency. And it required extensive emergency measures.
Such as calling up all men between the ages of 18 and 41.
Or removing city-based children from their homes and sending them to live with strangers in the countryside.
Or the introduction of food rationing.
Yes, WW2 was indeed an emergency of its time.
But is climate change an emergency of our time? If it is, we desperately need to GRETA GRIP.
There is no doubt that it is a huge problem. We all know that the explosion in the number of cars, and modern air travel have the potential to kill the planet. The globe is warming, the polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising.
Let’s for the moment, accept that climate change is indeed an emergency of OUR time.
What can we do about it?
Well, we can all recycle our rubbish, switch to an electric vehicle, wash our clothes or should I say NEARLY wash our clothes at 30 degrees centigrade, become vegan, and even encourage everyone else into becoming vegan.
But the truth is that these measures don’t even scratch the surface of the problem.
Nor do the infantile protests of environmental activist movements.
To them, I say, conduct your protests in Beijing or Moscow and let me know how you get on.
To them I say, anyone can protest.
To them I say, what SOLUTIONS do you OFFER?
To them I say, climate emergency measures need to be draconian.
Here are some of MY solutions.
Importing foodstuffs and beverages will be ceased.
The UK shall only consume fruit and vegetables grown at home.
This will rid the country of much of its motorway traffic.
There will be an immediate ban on foreign holidays. Airports will be closed to tourism flights and all persons shall holiday within 50 miles of their home and may do so only once per annum by public transport.
Within a period of one year, all workers are required either to move home or change jobs, as necessary, to ensure that they live within five miles of their workplace.
Use of mobile phones and tablets and similar devices will be immediately banned for personal use.
All citizens will be entitled to a maximum of three sets of clothing.
Children’s toys will be rationed to one new item per child per birthday and winter festival.
This will likely sound anathema to most of you, especially the younger people. The older ones like me may well remember a time when there was virtually no foreign food or drink to be bought, foreign holidays were the preserve of the rich, hardly anyone owned a car, we didn’t defrost our windscreens of a morning, we scraped the ice from the insides of our bedroom windows, phones were kept in red boxes on street corners, only the well-off had three sets of clothing, and children did indeed only get one present on their birthday and one at what was once called Christmas.
If climate change is really an emergency, then perhaps we need to return to such relative poverty.
Let us get a grip before it’s too late.
Sometimes it takes a war or a plague to stir governments into action.
WW2 did this in the 20th century.
Perhaps it will take to coronavirus to do it in the 21st century, to help us save the planet.
At least climate change activists have made some difference to climate change, haven’t they? Every time they appear on the TV approximately 1 million people switch theirs off.
So, Greta grip pompous prime ministers and sanctimonious first ministers.
Greta grip pampered princes and princesses, and the woke generation.
Greta grip, you, you and me.
We ALL have to sacrifice not just some little thing but many things in order to save this planet of ours.
Are YOU up for it?