If you know me, this degree may sound random given that I completed my undergraduate degree in climate change; but there is method to this madness.
My beliefs are firmly in line with the 97% of climate scientists who acknowledge that climate change is happening, caused by humans and that we need to act fast. As an individual, I therefore asked myself what I could do to help bring about the change we need and I have decided to focus on engaging a wider audience about the impacts of climate change, through various forms of creative writing (including the newly emerging ''climate fiction'' or ‘cli-fi’ genre). Various articles have pointed out that this type of writing could reach people who wouldn’t usually choose to read non-fiction books/articles about climate change.
To put this in context, climate change largely became a public issue in 1988, when Dr James Hansen spoke before a US Congressional Committee, confirming that humans were increasing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the intervening 28 years, we have taken very little action to avoid a ‘worst case climate change scenario’ from occuring.
There are many reasons for this. One of which is that climate science is extremely complex and difficult to convey to lay people. Media sensationalism and special interests have also played a role in ‘muddying the waters’ around climate science and as a result, large swathes of the public are unaware of the future impacts we face and the current events taking place around the world which have been exacerbated by climate change.
Yes you read that right, we are already seeing some of the early effects of climate change – it isn’t just a ‘future issue’.
In an auspicious turn of events, it just so happened that the 13th September 2016 was the warmest September day on record for the past 105 years in the UK.
In addition, the date also marked the 100th birthday of Roald Dahl, one of the main authors who inspired my love of reading and writing at an early age. Perhaps it was a sign.
I can’t think of a more appropriate way to sum up what I hope to achieve, than with the following quote from Roald Dahl himself:
I think we can all do well to remember that – now more than ever we need a concerted effort to tackle a plethora of pressing global issues, including the ‘planetary emergency’ that is climate change.