Global citizens need to immediately create a virtual revolution to create the level of action that will prevent climate change tipping points. We need to act to modify the structures that will irrevocably destroy our ecosystem and continue global warming.
Invisible, peaceful and effective, a virtual revolution requires action by all of us. For those of us who identify as global citizens, our task is now to educate ourselves about who we are, the cyber ethics we support, and the actions we can take to create immediate changes within our tattered global political system. We need a flag. An oath of citizenship. A strategy. And more than anything, as cyber citizens, we need to develop and exploit technology and leverage the cyber ethical potential of the internet to the max.
We should now:
Recognise the limitations of national governments and international governance bodies in creating an integrated climate change action strategy, post COP26. We must be sure that promises made there, are kept, and that pressure for more continues.
Exploit the potential of artificial intelligence to inform and coordinate us, and to measure our progress in real time.
Develop new eco ethical blockchain and smart contract technology to make transactions we choose a transparent, worthy contribution to climate change action.
Develop an open public sphere of discussion about climate change that is free of unauthenticated information and greenwashing, and makes science-based climate reports and recommendations available to all, using a sort of anti-Facebook model that directs us to action. Google should transform itself into a genuinely cyber ethical entity in respect to climate change.
Support the climate justice movement with funds and political protection.
Invest in renewables technology.
Eco audit and discriminate between ethical and unethical commercial interests, and throw our support behind ethical entrepreneurs. Individuals, organisations, ethical commerce, states, even countries can join in, as this global political movement operates in a different sphere to traditional governments.
The strategy needs to be: do everything. Take every opportunity. Political, practical, personal. Big global organisations such as the United Nations cannot realistically be expected to have the global leverage to turn around the situation where carbon emissions need to fall 50 per cent or more by 2030, and reach net zero shortly after. COP26 shows that real progress is happening, for example in ending deforestation, but this is a time when carbon emissions are expected to keep rising as national governments talk about climate change. Many nations continue to approve coal, oil and gas exploration and development. Traditional political governance has largely failed us, and many politicians have been compromised by their perceived need for continual fossil-fuels powered economic growth and the power structures that support it.
We need a global citizen-led reset of our planetary priorities.
Greta Thunberg and other young leaders are demanding climate change action. Their popular global movements are showing what is possible once people are mobilised, and their initiative should be followed up with structure and strategy, so that actions are coordinated and gaps are filled.
In truth, we need first to look at ourselves, to let guilt be overtaken by anger. Big coal, oil and gas should not have greenwashed us into submission and lobbied their way into the heart of decision making by national governments. The Murdoch media and toxic rightwing commentators should not have facilitated brainwashing sectors of the population until they are little more than droves of killer ants, devouring everything. We should have learned more. We should have committed. We should have trusted each other, and not have let our differences divide us. My doctoral dissertation, written 23 years ago, was titled Cyber Ethics. I believed then that the internet, with proper governance, would facilitate global citizenship and global change on climate, war, hunger, and natural disasters. Since then, despite technological developments and a multitude of climate change action initiatives around the world, change has been too slow, and now there is no more time.
If there is one thing we should understand, it is that it is possible to stop the plunge into irrevocable climate change due to global warming. It is our responsibility as global citizens to rise up and make it happen. It is a responsibility that will unite us when we face failures, or some of us are corrupted, or our technology is unsuccessful in some way.
Reversing a complex, fragmented global system wth entrenched powers working against the long term survival of every species on the planet is not a straightforward project. It will be messy, piecemeal, and action will range across personal lives, communities, and nations in widening circles of influence. Every tree planted, every unit of currency used for renewables development, every unit of currency withdrawn from high emissions industries and every change in lifestyle aimed towards transforming agriculture, every question asked and action taken, will make a difference. Africa, the Pacific Islands and multitudes of others are being hammered by climate change they did not cause, and it is time to deliver justice to them, to climate change refugees, and to those who will follow us. The G20 nations finally need to deal with their own legacy of global warming.
We need to educate and organise ourselves.
It will be like scrambling up a huge hill, grabbing at branches, slipping on stones, picking up a stick to fight off a terrifying bully. Finally making it to the top, to a cool breeze, a host of trees, birdsong, a blue sky free of smoke.
It is time for a transformation in global politics that reflects who we are now, and the immediacy of the climate change threat to all of us.