Real Voices interview: Geoff Hill
Meet Geoff, who gives his perspective on climate change from the West Midlands
What do you do?
I believe I was the first student to begin a ‘Climate Change’ degree course at Coventry University, starting in 2007. I also work in a local independent cinema (The Electric).
How personally concerned are you about climate change?
Very. As it is not a human threat but a human-induced threat, climate change presents a peculiar challenge. No one country or human can be blamed for our collective ignorance in the past yet suddenly we have a universal mirror (ideal) that can be held up to all peoples, regardless of their location on the map. Therefore the challenge is not just one of scientific understanding and response, but also for humanity at large to come together.
What do you think will be the biggest impact locally?
In the UK it is difficult to tell – whilst global patterns see a rise in average temperatures, local weather systems won’t necessarily reflect this. A likely scenario seems to be fluctuations in extreme weather conditions and loss of seasonality.
What do you think will be the biggest impact on human health locally?
In the short term extreme weather patterns, e.g. flooding, storms and perhaps some unusually hot spells and their associated implications (spread of water-borne disease, structural damage, heat exhaustion, etc.) may cause death and injury. In the worst-case scenario, Britain might well see a terrible loss of life in the old, the infirm and the young.
What do you think are the most important steps to take now?
To understand climate we must think holistically; similarly our actions must be holistic.
The first step should be a global energy network, linking up national power grids worldwide. It is only the politics of corporate and national short-term interests that prevent it.
There are scores of other good ideas – we have all been told to cut our carbon footprint. However, I worry that by partitioning the responsibility on individuals, people will either feel there is no hope or that it is all just a big scam to make us buy green technology.