Major change needed to head off climate disaster, says Wingate
The only alternative to taking immediate action to fight climate change is “a collapse of human civilisation”, a leading conservationist has warned.
David Wingate delivered the stark message as the public was yesterday asked by the Bermuda Climate Action Network to “reflect on the planet we share”.
They were speaking as world leaders gathered at COP26, a major climate change conference in Scotland, UK.
Mr Wingate outlined a number of potential solutions, including a return of the Railway Trail to its original use as a transport artery to reduce traffic on the roads.
He said: “We could reconsider the use of the Railway Trail to address its original purpose of increasing the efficiency of transportation.
“The right of way and most of its road base already exists so it might be the least expensive to restore for maximum gain.
“Our roads are already facing gridlock with cars trucks and motor bikes so at least some partial alternative must be found.”
He added giant wind turbines and even the encouragement of families to have a maximum of two children could also be considered.
Mr Wingate said: “I cannot stress strongly enough that this is a last chance life or death situation, not only for human civilisation as we know it, but for the biosphere – all life – as a whole.
“We have let this creep up on us without serious consideration for far too long, and even if we do address it seriously now, we are still facing the juggernaut of runaway human population increase combined with still increasing material standards of living in all First World countries at the sacrifice of the environment and quality of life.
“This is going to mean some very painful and politically unpopular belt tightening, meaning a temporary, if not permanent, lowering of the standard of living.”
Mr Wingate said that many solutions would be “painful and complex” to achieve without economic disruption and unpopular political decisions.
He added a rapid phase out of gas and diesel powered vehicles and mandated use of solar panels could help to address the energy crisis.
But he highlighted the potential for wind turbines to threaten bird species.
Mr Wingate said: “We are going to have to stabilise our human population by encouraging two-child families and explaining the economic advantages for parents.
“We will need to expand and diversify our education much further so that top level jobs can be filled by Bermudians as much as possible, limiting the importation of expatriate experts who compete for housing and often marry into the population, become permanent residents and increase the population even more rapidly.”
The news came as a spokesman for the Bermuda Climate Action Network appealed to the public to wear green from tomorrow until next Monday to show their support for environmental action.
He said: “The entire Bermuda community is invited to join in mindful reflections over these next few days on this crisis facing all who share the planet.
“Join millions of people around the world. Start the seeds of action in Bermuda.”
The spokesman added environmental messages could also be posted on social media using the hashtags #GlobalDayofAction, #ClimateJustice, #COP26 and #BermudaCAN.
He said: “It goes without saying that as the alarm bells are ringing and millions across the globe are already suffering from devastating droughts, floods, forest fires and super-hurricanes, the solutions will require fundamental changes.
“There is a solid consensus from science and numerous working examples pointing the way forward towards alternative energy use.
“However, there is significant pushback by vested interests and history has taught that is to be expected.
“In these dire circumstances, we can all be encouraged as we recall Nelson Mandela’s mantra: ‘It always looks impossible until its done’.”
Walter Roban, the Minister for Home Affairs, is at the conference, which started last Sunday and will run to November 12.
Mr Roban will tomorrow lead a discussion designed to examine how the UK’s Overseas Territories have tackled climate change.