Our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay

Our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay

Future generations will look back on the climate events of 2021 and say: “That was the year they ran out of excuses.”

Heatwaves and flooding here in the UK, temperatures topping 50C in Pakistan, hundreds killed by a heatwave in British Columbia, deadly floods in Germany and China. All within a single month. Add to that the recent dire warning from the Met Office that the age of extreme weather has just begun.

The wake-up call that this offers is not just the obvious one: that climate breakdown is already here. It also illustrates that we, in this generation, are in a unique position in the history of this crisis. Climate breakdown can no longer be plausibly denied as a threat etched only in the future. And all too soon, avoiding it may be a luxury lost to the past. The window to avoid catastrophe is closing with every passing day. We’re in the decisive decade in this fight, and we must treat the climate crisis as an issue that stands alone in the combination of its urgency and the shadow it casts over future generations.

The actions we take defy the normal rhythm of political cycles. What we do in the next few years will have effects for hundreds of years to come. Unless the world cuts emissions in half in this decade, we will probably lose the chance to avoid warming of significantly more than the 1.5C set out in the 2015 Paris accord. We have seen the catastrophic effects of a world warmed by just 1.2C. What happens if we get to 2.5 or 3C? By then, we’ll look back at recent summers as not the hottest we’ve ever had but, in all likelihood, the coolest we will ever have again.

The accompanying truth is that our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay. The most dangerous opponents of change are no longer the shrinking minority who deny the need for action, but the supposed supporters of change who refuse to act at the pace the science demands. As Bill McKibben, environmentalist and climate scholar, says on climate: “Winning slowly is the same as losing.”

The UK government is a case in point. There is a chasm between the boosterish rhetoric of the Johnson government and the reality. We are way off meeting our climate targets, which are themselves insufficiently ambitious, graded “somewhere below4 out of 10 for delivery by the Climate Change Committee. Nothing is more dangerous than the mirage of action shrouding the truth of inaction, because it breeds either false confidence that we will be OK or cynicism and despair about meaningless political promises.

But why are they failing? Above all, because of a dogged refusal to put government investment at scale behind a green recovery. The more government refuses to provide that proper plan and finance, the harder the decisions on boilers, cars and industrial transition become. A government that absents its responsibility for making these transitions is a government that will fail to make them happen.


This is not simply failing to protect us from the biggest long-term threat we face; it’s economically illiterate too.

The case for investing now is not just clear as a question of intergenerational equity, it’s also the only conclusion to draw from a hard-headed fiscal analysis of the costs and benefits. The Office for Budget Responsibility tells us that the costs of acting early are surprisingly small relative to our national income – in the central scenario, an average annual investment in net terms of just 0.4% of GDP between now and 2050.

Meanwhile, we know that inaction is entirely unaffordable, leaving massive costs of climate damage racked up and left for future generations. The OBR also tells us that delay will significantly raise the cost of action, in part because we are baking high carbon into our infrastructure. We will have to make the transition at some point; failing to act now will betray our children and grandchildren and will just end up costing more.

We should act now not just because we must avoid future generations living in a disaster movie but because rewriting the script can produce a better world. Rapid decarbonisation is the imperative, but we can do so in a way that fixes the inequalities that exist in our current economic system. This is the promise of the Green New Deal – that this transformative programme of investment can also generate good jobs, help existing industries transition and create new ones, ensure warmer homes, cleaner air, and a lasting shift in wealth and power across our country. This is the vision we must fight for.

Particularly, in this year of all years, what we do here at home has real impacts around the world. If other governments believe that a country that has led the way on climate is full of hot air, it simply undermines trust and lets the big polluters off the hook. In the less than 30 days left to COP26, the prime minister must finally wake up to the fact that this is not a glorified international photo opportunity but a complex and fragile negotiation where he must deliver at home and engage in the hard yards of diplomacy.

Just over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King said of the fight for racial and economic justice: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In the unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.” As the generation that stands astride the causes and consequences of this climate emergency, we must take heed of those words.

  • Nothing is more dangerous than the illusion of action


This piece was originally published by The Guardian and is reposted here with permission.


Anyone impeding climate action now has blood on their hands

Anyone impeding climate action now has blood on their hands



The wildfires currently unleashing a trail of death and destruction on Mediterranean shores are just an indication of what is to come if we do not act with far greater speed and ambition to combat global heating. Yet some still wring their hands and talk of the cost of climate action, relying on false accounting and failing to recognise that action now will be the biggest cost-saving in human history.

If our leaders make these same judgements and fail to step up at the Glasgow climate talks, they will be consigning future generations to a world that is in large parts uninhabitable, condemning them to wage war over food and water.

Wildfires in Algeria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and now France in the last few weeks and days have seen lives lost, homes gutted, and wildlife burned alive. The ‘Lucifer’ weather system of oppressive heat reached its apex in Sicily ­at an unbearable 48.8 C – what could be Europe’s highest ever recorded temperature. This comes hot on the heels of deadly floods across Austria, Belgium and Germany.

None of this is happening in isolation. Before the extreme heat, fires and floods in Europe, there were record-breaking fires in the US, Australia and Canada. And long before the climate crisis came knocking on the doors of rich developed nations, it greatest impacts have been, and are being, felt by the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, those who have done the least to contribute to the heating of our planet.

For decades, and with a fraction of the attention and media headlines, countries in the global south have suffered the greatest impacts of climate breakdown, in a pattern of gross injustice. 99% of all deaths from weather-related disasters occur in the world’s 50 least developed countries — countries that have contributed less than 1% of global carbon emissions.

Now, the latest IPCC climate report, published just this month, warns that Earth will cross the critical the 1.5 C temperature threshold by 2030, 10 years before previously estimated. And looking at the Mediterranean now, we can see what 1C already looks like.


So, the science is unequivocal and we all have the evidence before our own eyes. Now is the time to act. Glasgow COP26 is our chance.

There are some who call for hesitancy, who talk of the cost of action. But their numbers do not add up, and this false accounting speaks of nothing but short-term interests that destabilise and endanger the wider economy.

The initial investments we need to make undoubtably involve large sums. In the UK, for instance, the Committee on Climate Change states that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 would cost just under 1% of GDP every year through to 2050. Yet, to put that into perspective, the UK’s military defence budget is currently about 2% of GDP every year.

We must not fall for the scare tactics of citing large sums of money without telling the rest of the story. Because the benefits of investment in climate action are many.

First, investing now means we avoid vast costs, not just of the damage and destruction from extreme weather, but also the need to adapt to a drastically altered climate. The money we spend today will return many times its value, but the “Bank of Nature” will charge a wholly unsustainable rate of interest if we do not pay off our debts now.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for instance, suggests if the climate crisis is tackled as part of structural transition, and the economic benefits of avoiding climate damages, such as increased flooding, droughts and extreme weather events are taken into account, it could add almost 5% to GDP in G20 countries by 2050.

Second, a green transition will bring a reinvigorated, revitalised jobs market. In the UK, if the government follows the advice of the Committee on Climate Change, it will generate 1.7 million green jobs this decade. Investing in clean energy alone can create 2-3 times the number of jobs gained from investing the same amount in fossil fuels, the science shows.

Med Fires 2021


I have deliberately tackled economic arguments head-on here, since they are the newest weapon to be employed by those who seek to muddy the waters, so that they can focus on their own short-term gains. But it is also vital to remember that the benefits of a transition to sustainability do not end with the economic boost it will bring.

Action now will save countless lives and prevent untold misery, it will provide a safe and prosperous world for our grandchildren, and reinvigorate our relationship with the natural world, making us happier and healthier.

We must take a whole of government, whole of economy, system-wide approach, setting clear goals for disadvantaged communities to receive their fair share of the benefits that our transformation to sustainability will bring.

It is shameful that, as industrialised nations, we have waited until our own streets are flooded, our own houses burnt down, to take the climate crisis seriously, but if we put in place ambitious policies today, we still have a chance for a just, sustainable world.

As our elected representatives prepare for climate talks in Glasgow, they should know that they have a chance to take their place in history – as heroes or villains ­– as humanity’s future hangs in the balance. The time is now.

This piece was originally published by Ecohustler and is reposted here with permission.

Fuelled by firepot – outdoor food review (plus shop links!)

Fuelled by firepot – outdoor food review (plus shop links!)

Made in a Dorset barn, Firepot Food is healthy, nutritious, lightweight and delicious – James and I approve it for any adventure, big or small! Having tested it on an arctic training expedition in Norway we are now using Firepot food for all our adventures, and they’ll be the fuel we use to power us across Greenland too. We’ll be brief, but below are the 2 things we love the most – aside from the delicious taste of course…

Made with the environment in mind
With no palm oil and vegan/veggie options available (like the posh baked beans which are my favourite – see links below) Firepot are by far the best zero impact option we’ve found in this space. What’s more you can order your meals in compostable bags too!

Just look at the ingredients:
Firepot is made from 100 percent natural products and the flavour really shows as a result. 

In short we at ZIA are proud to be #fuelledbyfirepot !!

#fuelledbyfirepot - and running up those hills in Norway!

How to clean your tent and sleeping bag

How to clean your tent and sleeping bag

Ok so even worse than dirty climbing gear (see one of our other posts) has to be a smelly tent or smelly sleeping bag – it’s literally where you sleep for heaven’s sake!

Anyhow I’ve let mine get far too smelly time and again because how to wash them has remained a mystery and the last thing you want to do is damage your kit by washing it.

Putting these things in the wash has always remained a bit of a mystery but this video below lays out as clearly as possible how to put both in the washing machine without causing any harm.

Remember: NO DETERGENT!!!!

If you’ve got any cleaning tips of your own please let us know!

Extinction: Time to Rebel!

Extinction: Time to Rebel!

” Real change will require a depth of imagination, ambition and sheer determination which humans have historically struggled to muster. “

For those of you who don’t know much about Extinction Rebellion here is a great article in the Guardian about why we all need to take the time now to stand up and “rebel” – ie push back against the structures and politicians that are failing us all.

ZIA are proud supportes of XR as well as school strikes for climate and we believe you should be too – have a read of the editorial here and see what you think.

Read the full Guardian Article

Ecological Footprint Calculator

Ecological Footprint Calculator

At ZIA we champion the need for social activism as a crucial tool in the fight against climate change. Take 5 minutes to fill out this footprint calculator and hopefully you’ll see why.

Even if each of us lived in a cave and ate only home grown veggies (the dream) each of us as member’s of our own societies still emit far too much for our planet to sustain itself – our governments emit huge amounts on our behalf.

Anyhow, the calculator is fun and really easy to use and gives you your ‘earth overshoot day’ which is a cool way of illustrating the problem – have a look and let us know what you think and when your overshoot day is…