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Everybody is responsible for climate change – we must do more

More independent research is required so businesses, the public and media can hold governments to account

Sea level rise and land erosion are consequences of climate change on this California beach Creative Commons
Sea level rise and land erosion are consequences of climate change on this California beach

I have always been impressed by Israel’s media, especially the ability of specific titles to hold those in power to account.

This week there was one report which stuck out – Haaretz had run an in-depth report on how Israel could lose parts of its coastline by 2050 based on climate change predictions by the country’s Ministry of Environment. 

The reporting was thorough, with possible scenarios explained and maps showing the actual impact of sea rise on the shoreline as well as the impact of rising sea levels on the water table.

The newspaper also took the authorities to task, effectively asking, “Are we doing enough to tackle climate change?” The answer was an emphatic no.

If you looked for a similar report anywhere else in the region, you’d be gone for a long time.

There is little in the way of independent research on climate change. Instead, we are being told that this is being handled by people running grand initiatives, people who obviously know what they are doing.

We have our net zero carbon targets, and there’s announcements on renewable energy projects which are scheduled to be rolled out.

These words are well and good, but look to other regions. In Europe there’s a public movement to pressure governments to do more, to accelerate their decarbonisation plans.

At Cop26, the annual meeting to address climate issues which last year was held in Glasgow, civil society groups were out in force to hold national leaders to account. 

These campaigns are focusing attention on the environment in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago.

Both governments and businesses are looking to see what actions they can take to move faster on the environment and sustainability.

This responsibility also carries over to the public, and we are seeing a slow but determined push to change habits, be it by using more public transport, ditching our petrol fueled cars for electric vehicles, recycling more and more materials or using simple technologies to cut down on energy usage.

Closer to home, have our habits changed because of climate change? Are we being encouraged to become more sustainable? Are we being told of the long-term impact that a rise in sea levels will have on our coastline and how this will affect industries such as tourism or our desalination plants?

If we are to act on the environment, all of society must move in the same direction – this includes governments, industry and the general public.

We need to make hard choices and sacrifices, and those with information need to clearly share it and describe the implications of our choices.

If we continue on our current course of public inaction on sustainability, we will effectively be sleepwalking into a situation few of us can comprehend and even fewer will be prepared for.

It is time to do things differently. The question I have is who will be our Haaretz and start this conversation?