I am a second year Politics and International Relations student at the University of York, the President of the University Gardening Society. I have been involved in left wing politics since successfully campaigning in the 2015 election to oust Esther McVey (who was responsible for slashing benefits for the disabled during her time as the Minister for Work and Pensions) from my old constituency of Wirral West.
It took until my second year of university to truly make the link between the social values that I was so passionate about, and the overwhelming threat of climate breakdown. It is the world’s poorest and most vulnerable who will be systemically killed by rising sea levels, heat waves, drought, extreme weather events, food shortages and the collapse of global infrastructure.
But it is not only those worldwide who will suffer. Rising sea levels will make catastrophic flooding in York much more frequent, with devastating consequences for local residents and businesses. Our much beloved local wildlife is also under unprecedented threat, and habitat loss has decimated many species – especially of insects, who play a vital role in supporting healthy ecosystems. Once these species are lost, they will never return. Our children might never see hedgehogs, red squirrels, or even butterflies. Personally, I find this devastating, as I’m sure you do too.