F1 and climate change; an old part of my life and a new part of my life coming together. This is interesting.
Five-time (and let’s be honest, soon to be six-time) world champion, Lewis Hamilton hit the headlines after sharing his thoughts (in a since deleted Instagram story) on climate change, the meat industry, and urged his followers to do some research. Formula One is a polluting sport, you cannot deny that. And, of course, angry people on the internet were there to remind him that he doesn’t have an opinion because he takes part in such a polluting sport.
The idea that you don’t have a valid opinion, and can’t ask for change, unless you are perfect needs to get in the plastic polluted sea. Those of you who have tried to reduce your carbon footprint understand how hard it is to be perfect. It is incredibly hard just to remove all of the unnecessary plastic packaging from your food shop, and that’s just one area of your life.
We already know what steps will reduce our impacts on the planet; significantly reduce our meat intake and preferably adopt a vegan diet (noting that it isn’t possible everywhere in the world), put more money into renewable energy and stop funding oil and gas, get rid of single use packaging, reuse things, stop buying fast fashion, take less flights, use public transport as much as we can, and demand our governments and manufacturers pull their finger out. (This list is not exhaustive.)
Knowing all of this doesn’t make it easy or simple to do. We face significant hurdles because we are accustomed to living such carbon-rich lifestyles. It’s ingrained into our way of life, and adverts constantly reinforce it. But we have to change – some of that has to come from us, some of it needs to come from manufacturers, and some of it has to come from governments. It’s better that we try and are imperfect than wait around until we can do it perfectly, because we do not have time for that.
When Hamilton said “Honestly, I feel like giving up on everything. Shut down completely. Why bother when the world is such a mess and people don’t seem to care,” I felt that. I know a lot of people who feel that.
It is hard and heart-breaking when you deal with people who don’t even believe in climate change. It’s frustrating when people are told they aren’t even allowed an opinion because they don’t live perfect, carbon-free lives. We need to be open to the idea of change. Change is hard. I get that. When you learn about how polluting the meat industry is, after it being such a normal part of your life, it is so hard to get your head around.
Unlike most people, Hamilton has a massive platform where he has the opportunity to inspire change. And if you don't like what he's saying, and cannot be convinced climate change is worth doing anything about, then carry on business as usual if you must. He isn't stood in your kitchen, emptying it of all meat and slapping your beloved bacon sarnies out of your hand. He's just asking people to think about their impact and reflect on whether they can change.
This isn’t a discussion about something hypothetical. Climate change is real and it’s already impacting people, wildlife, and the planet. This bizarre gate-keeping needs to stop. I would rather have millions of people imperfectly trying to change their lives and encourage others to change, than a handful of people who are able to live ‘perfectly’.
8 things you need to know about the IPCC 1.5C report – if you’re completely new to the IPCC’s climate change report, this is a good introduction.
IPCC summary for policy makers – if you want more detail about the IPCC reports, this is summarised quite well.
IPCC fifth assessment report – this is the full on science, all of it.
35 easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint – if you don’t know where to start, or want to know what else you could be doing, this is worth a read.
Climate strikes on Fridays for Future – I don’t think this includes all strikes but it’s probably a good place to start looking for one near you. If you don’t see one in your area, do a search because they just might not be listed on Fridays for Future