By Paula Bowden
In a year where climate crisis was named the official Oxford English Dictionary word of 2019, a solution to the environmental emergency is needed more than ever. But with phrases like single-use plastic and carbon emissions now entering mainstream conversation, it can be difficult to know exactly what steps to take and what advice to follow when it comes to saving the planet.
Enter Luke Eastwood.
In his latest book How To Save The Planet, author and environmental activist Luke Eastwood attempts to outline how we’ve gotten to the current environmental state we are in and how we can attempt to control the effect our lifestyle has on the planet, all in 10 simple steps.
“The earth is in a lot of danger at the moment from humanity and you know everyone kind of knows that but it doesn’t seem to stop people just getting on with their lives,” said Eastwood. “It’s like everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move and do something.
“You know when you go to a dance and nobody dances, and then eventually someone is brave enough to get up and go and dance, and then everybody else gets up. It’s kind of like that,” said Eastwood. “I think humanity is standing around a dance floor and waiting for someone to actually get up and start doing it. In the meantime, the place is on fire and it’s just getting worse.”
In his new book, Eastwood sets out 10 simple steps to be followed in order to live a more environmentally friendly life, some of which include: stop buying stuff you don’t need; become flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan, and have zero, one or two children. Sounds simple, right? In reality, a fear of failure holds many people back from even attempting to change their ways when it comes to being more sustainable.
“It’s really not that hard,” said Eastwood. “All these things are things that we can change straight away, we could all change them tomorrow if we wanted to. It’s just a matter of saying that’s a good idea I’ll do that.
“I first got involved with Greenpeace when I was 19 or 20 and I was going out and volunteering for things and people sort of knew a bit about stuff then, but when Greenpeace started we were all perceived as weirdos and now it’s a lot more respected. But I still don’t think it has changed what people actually do in their everyday lives.
“People think ‘aren’t Greenpeace great’ but then when it comes to their own actual lives it may not have changed anything that they actually do. And my argument is that sitting there waiting for the Government or Greenpeace or whoever else to fix everything is not going to work. We all have to actually do stuff ourselves.”
Following on from their week of rebellion in October, climate action/agitation group, Extinction Rebellion have been garnering more and more support in Ireland and around the globe. Their brash style of protest and use of non-violent civil disobedience certainly makes headlines, but some critics worry that their disruptive approach risks alienating the average climate concerned citizen.
Eastwood is the regional coordinator for Extinction Rebellion Kerry. As well as taking part in last month’s week of rebellion, the Kerry-based group are also focused on protesting the government’s support of a proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal to be based in Kerry. Eastwood says the group is now focused on moving away from disruption and inconvenience, in favour of education.
“Some people are very violently opposed to Extinction Rebellion’s type of protest and then some people seem to be a bit more sympathetic. I think the danger is that if you inconvenience people too much they will turn against it. I think there are maybe better ways of protesting that don’t have to involve huge levels of inconvenience,” he said.
“Having now established itself, I think a less adversarial approach would be something that would get people on-side rather than alienate them.
“It was necessary at the beginning to put Extinction Rebellion on the map, to get people to wake up and listen and to notice because people have been talking about this since the 80s when I was a kid,” he continued. “They were saying ‘oh the Amazon is going to get destroyed’ and ‘if we don’t do something about emissions then it’s all going to be a disaster’, but here we are 40 years later and it’s still the bloody same, nobody listens and nobody cares.”
Half of all the proceeds from Eastwood’s book will go to Greenpeace, an organisation which he champions for tackling climate issues head-on.
“Extinction Rebellion is, from what I can see, quite well-funded, and what Greenpeace are doing all over the world is actually specifically targeting world problems, rather than the actual idea of it,” said Eastwood. “Greenpeace will target whaling or pollution in China, the actual causes that are happening right this minute.
“I think they’re fantastic because they do achieve results with the pressure they apply. So I’m very happy to give them some money towards that and I think it’s important for me. I don’t want to feel like this hypocrite that’s done this wordy book and then keeps all the money for himself.”
How To Save The Planet is also printed on 100% Recycled paper.
“The printing industry is so polluting and so wasteful, people would be shocked at how wasteful it is,” said Eastwood. “If I want to stick to my principles then it has to be done the right way and not just a quick fix. It actually cost a lot more but I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”
Eastwood hopes that people who buy the book will share it or give their copy to others when they’re finished to continue spreading his message of sustainability.
“My main thing is to encourage people to do something,” said Eastwood. “I‘ve said in the book that if you finish this book and then just put it down and carry on the same, then I’ve failed my mission.
“What I’m trying to do is to convince people, even if it’s just a small bit, to improve the way they live, to be more mindful of the planet and the effects we’re having. What we do now will probably affect the next millennium. So I’d just like people to be more mindful about their choices because we can’t really afford to get this wrong.
“If we mess this up there might not be another century after this one with people in it.”
How To Save The Planet is available to purchase in both paperback and eBook. For more information head to http://www.lukeeastwood.com/