Carmen Gomez

Climate change is without doubt the hot topic of our times and something I have dedicated time to in previous articles. It has been said that in the last decades, we have done more damage when we have known what we were doing, than we did all these many years ago when we didn’t have a clue. 

Warning signs have been ignored time and time again by governments across the globe whose main aim has been growth at all costs. Spain, unsurprisingly, is yet again facing sanctions from the EU for having ignored directives issued since 2010, to clean up their act; as the contamination in Madrid and Barcelona particularly, continues to be in breach of the limit values set by the ambient Air Quality directive.

This has set alarm bells going. Not because they are sorry that they have not complied with directives from the EU, as this has never bothered them in the past; something which en passant we used to do religiously; but because they know that if they don’t immediately put something in place to help remedy this, they will have to pay the very steep penalty. Money is the trigger which impulses them to act. But this is not the way forward.

However Spain is not alone in this. What is going on out there is a type of global game where everyone participates, each with their own agenda as to how to appear to comply within the limits expected of them, as far as say carbon emissions are concerned, whilst not actually following any environmental criteria as such. Just like children trying to outsmart the teacher by coming up with the expected exam results, but having cheated in the process.


Having done their homework, some have managed to produce low emissions simply because they have outsourced them. This is no longer good enough. The global warming continues and is bringing about such strange phenomena as what has happened of late in Conil, Cadiz; which was explained away by saying that this happens when the earth’s orbit passes through the most remote point from the sun; and indeed alarmingly in Brazil, where this July, the sea first receded to be followed by tsunami like waves which engulfed a beach in Cabo frio, in the state of Janeiro; leaving beachgoers running in panic to escape the strong currents, as it swept them and their beach regalia.


We have become very used to getting campaigns off the ground to create awareness, which at the end of the day has an immediate impact, but then gets lost in the myriad of other hot topics of the day. We have seen how governments play at avoiding the issue and only when set upon by activists or concerned citizens, do they then react.

I am not saying that this is the case in Gibraltar, because I am quite hopeful from action already taken by Government that they believe in the environment project. It’s good to use one’s voice to vent our frustrations and dismay about what we may consider a lack of progress on trying to halt climate change. But my question here is, why do we always have to leave it all to Government to resolve? Should we not, all of us get together and try to do our bit; or as individuals, try to do what we can in our own small way? It’s no good enough to say “what can I achieve on my own?”

This is a type of cop out which engenders apathy. Such people forget that when society as a whole get together to do something they feel passionately about, it can make a huge difference. All heads of family have to recognise that this is no longer our immediate problem, but that of the up and coming generations. Sometimes we are so busy with our immediate routines that we tend to forget that there are things we can do to help. It’s easy to shout and complain and go around carting banners demanding this and that and putting the onus on others. It’s easy to emulate locally, the example of the very young around the world who have taken to do the same as the adults, and demand action from those in charge. But have these children thought of what they can do to help as individuals?

Living in an area surrounded by small restaurants and take away establishments, I see how youngsters end up throwing food wrappers on the floor.

Surely as responsible parents we can tell our child when he next throws a wrapper on the pavement, to pick it up and put it in the dustbin. We can do things like try and make one meal at home where we all sit together and talk about climate change and in this way raise awareness in your own home. We as individuals can decide not to use the car for one day in the week, for example. This would cut emissions down. People need to be encouraged to get out of their cars and walk; people in general are not natural bike riders; but they can use local transport. Once upon a time families in Gibraltar would only eat fish on Fridays as a sign of respect; a tradition of sorts.

Meat free day

Well why not try and have one meat free day? Producing meat creates vastly more carbon dioxide than plants such as vegetables. If you refuse to make a meal at home try and get your children to buy their take away once a week at a vegetarian outlet. Families can make an effort to waste as little food as possible or use left over’s to concoct a fun meal.

Make a pledge to make a change in your life and join others of your friends to help protect our planet. This is no longer about governments alone; it’s about all of us. Together we can make a difference and we can start to make the change today!