Covid-19 is a painful reminder of our common humanity: it does not respect national borders; we are only as healthy as the least healthy person around us; we beat it together or succumb apart.
Social distancing creates oceans of time to think of pints with friends and other pleasures foregone, as well as wrongs to be righted.
In its global sweep and destruction of our way of life, it should not take much imagination to see Covid-19 as a dress rehearsal for our climate emergency.
We have read Chris Goodall’s 10-point plan for transitioning the UK to a zero carbon economy with renewed determination to not fluff our lines.
“1. Move the food system away from meat, due to the impact on emissions of cows and other animals. Shift to forms of agriculture that do not require animal cultivation or artificial fertilisers.”
We will provide vegan/vegetarian options, work with Birmingham Slow Food to reduce food miles and improve food standards, and plant a veg garden on the flat roof above our kitchen.
“2. Make the fashion business more sustainable. Clothes manufacture is one of the most damaging sources of greenhouse gases.”
We have supported Slow Food in Birmingham and would like also to support slow fashion. Creatively reusing clothes creates a new, sustainable cool. If this piques your artistic or entrepreneurial spark, let us know how we might help (e.g. as a hub for collecting used clothes and/or a market for selling reimagined clothes).
“3. Increase renewable electricity generation twenty-fold … Control of the local energy system is handed to municipally owned utilities, who are encouraged to build local generation facilities.”
We buy our electricity from renewable sources, will explore solar panels, and will support local generation facilities in any way we can. We are proud to be a member of Parity and would be delighted if this initiative can evolve to help sustain such facilities.
“4. Prioritise public transport, car-sharing, walking and cycling in order to reduce vehicle ownership.”
If Frederick Street were car free for the next JQ Festival, we promise a street party to remember. This would get us out from behind our steering wheels, dancing to a funky beat, and reconceptualising our city’s possibilities.
“5. Increase the area of woodland, raising its percentage of cover in the UK to typical European levels.”
We will support any initiatives – such as the orchard at New Spring Street Park – that aim to increase tree coverage.
“6. Massively improve the insulation of UK houses.” We will seek this kind of upgrade to our property.
The other parts of the 10-point plan – change technologies for production of steel, cement and fertilisers; collect carbon dioxide directly from the air; introduce a meaningful carbon tax; and research and plan geoengineering techniques – are less directly relevant to 1000 Trades. But if we can help, we will.
The climate crisis is already destroying natural wonders (e.g. the Great Barrier Reef), driving mass migration, and causing more extreme weather. These trends imperil our economic future, encourage divisive politics, and threaten a rapidly uninhabitable world.
It does not have to be this way. But we need to act urgently to salvage a different future.
When 1000 Trades reopens as a pub, we will have a strengthened resolve to play our part and support anyone else in doing so. Get in touch if you want to collaborate.