UK heatwave: It's time governments took the climate crisis seriously before 'collective suicide'

As a ginger with skin that looks like it has been bleached, I often worry about the summer – but this time my concern is far more than skin deep.

A swathe of maxi dresses, sunglasses and flip flops decorated the streets as people bought ice cream and headed to the park to tan.

Was I in Madrid, Paris, Monaco? No, I was in Shawlands on Tuesday off to get my weekly shopping.

It is a rare event when we have the sun beaming down on us in Scotland and, for many, it feels amazing.

The double blow of heat waves and droughts exacerbated by climate change are making wildfires more frequent, destructive and harder to fight. (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

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I love the sun, however, with a complexion akin to Casper the friendly ghost, it does not love me. Nonetheless, I have admired my unrequited lover from a distance.

Yet, now, as I sit in a flat with a cold cloth around my neck and bags under my eyes due to the little sleep I got from the heat, I worry.

Not solely for my health – I have a few pro cooling tips up my vampiric sleeve – but for the concerning change we are seeing in our climate.

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Scottish Government warns people to stay indoors due to high temperatures

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Yesterday, we reached the hottest day on record in the UK as the UN Secretary General warned wildfires and heatwaves wreaking havoc across swathes of the globe show humanity is facing a “collective suicide”.

Grim, yes, but as the secretary general pointed out, we have a choice: either collective action or collective suicide.

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by our burning of fossil fuels like coal and gas are the reason for the temperature rise.

Without big cuts by 2030, we could see temperatures go even higher.

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With one of the world’s most ambitious climate change targets – net zero by 2045 – Scotland must transform itself in just 23 years.

Yet I worry about a culture brushing climate action off as some sort of hippy idealism for the future to worry about.

Boris Johnson did not attend the two Cobra meetings on the heatwave this week and last.

Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s lead minister for resilience, said the extreme weather acts as a “learning experience” to mitigate future impacts.

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However, a breakdown of our climate is not for the future; it is happening now.

The fight against climate change must be strong and collective before it's too late.

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