Climate changing the headlines…

Let’s be honest – the issue of climate change very rarely tops the news agenda. But recent days have seen somewhat of a turnaround in the mainstream press, both in the UK and overseas.

warning Climate change CO2 emissions sign illustration

Climate change issues are being raised

Perhaps it’s because Barack Obama has become the first US president to visit the Arctic – and promised to save remote communities from the ravages of climate change.

Or maybe it’s down to Oscar-winning British actress Emma Thompson reading a self-penned Ode to Climate Change live on television in the centre of London.

Of course, it could be a report from the Institute for Policy Studies which points to a distinctly economic cause: greed. According to the report, dramatically rising CEO pay at major fossil fuel companies in the United States is also contributing to climate change, because it gives these leaders huge monetary incentives to increase their fossil fuel reserves at any cost.

Whatever the reason – we’re glad to see the issue being raised. All too often, climate change is seen as a soft issue compared to the state of the economy, the war on crime and even the marital disputes of whatever celebrity is flavour of the month.

Climate change will affect us all, our children and our grandchildren, and if we don’t look at the problem now and work to find solutions now, it will be too late.

Too late for the town of Kotzebue, where Mr Obama visited, a community of 3,000 people which is battling coastal erosion caused by melting ice and rising sea levels.

Too late for what will be a mass extinction of some of the world’s most threatened species as their habitat is forever changed by the warming of the Earth.

And too late for the Arctic sea ice, which is disappearing. That summer ice is vitally important to a whole range of animals from tiny shrimp to vast bowhead whales, and to local people.

Scary, isn’t it? Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor thinks so too. His four horsemen of the apocalypse, close to Houses of Parliament, are a political comment on the impact of climate change.

When the water level is high, you can see almost nothing. But as the tide turns, and the water level of the Thames rises and drops twice a day, the four horses and riders emerge.

The sculpture, entitled The Rising Tide, has been installed near the bankside of Vauxhall bridge. For the past decade, Taylor’s work has been motivated by conservation and redressing climate change. For him, it’s about using art to tackle the issue, for Emma Thompson it’s using her talent as an outstanding actress (and budding poet!), and for Obama, the power of his office.

But there are things that we all can do to help.

For more information on climate change, and what action is being taken, visit www.climateactionprogramme.org

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