Firstly, an admission of failure. I tried really hard to write some kind of blog every day, but the last few days have been even more manic than usual, and I’ve failed. But, some good news – new volunteers ahoy! So I’m sure with their help I’ll catch up.
Back to the subject in hand – climate change. Yesterday, along with other Lib Dem PPCs, I went along to Oxfam London and South East in Victoria and learnt about how they’re dealing with the problem. We focused particularly on their work in Pakistan, and heard from Arhab Shakar who’s been Oxfam’s Programme Officer there for nearly three years. He told us about the effects of floods, cyclones and drought in different areas of the country and how Oxfam are working with local women and men as well as the government and other agencies to reduce risk and mitigate the future impact of such disasters.
I found Shakar’s most powerful example of the scale of the problem to be his figures for the depth of the water table in the drought region of Khuzdar in Balochistan. A few years ago, inhabitants had to drill 20-30 feet to reach the water table. Now they have to drill 100-120 feet. Practical measures Oxfam are taking to remedy this problem includes the provision of water pumps.
The cynic might ask what’s this got to do with canvassing in the residential streets of north west London? Obviously, climate change is a global issue which affects us all, but in our voter surveys more and more people are listing it among their concerns along with the usual very local problems. Linking stories they can identify with, like heavy local flooding and spring coming “eleven days early”, with the life-changing events happening in places like Pakistan, make climate change a universal issue you can talk about on the doorstep.
Getting into arguments about whether climate change is man-made or not is now just a distraction – the fact is that it’s there and we’re the only ones who can do something about it.