‘What’s your argument, that we shouldn’t bother?’
This was the response of the UK's Green Party leader, Sian Berry, to a recent question from political journalist Andrew Neil: since China continues to pump carbon into the atmosphere, what is the point of people in the UK making changes to mitigate their impact on the climate?
Berry’s interview comes at the end of a year that has seen increasing amounts of noise about the issue of climate change. Protests by Extinction Rebellion, the skyrocketing profile of climate activist Greta Thunberg and increasingly dire headlines about melting polar ice and rising sea levels – we are hearing, louder and louder, a message of imminent catastrophe.
But at OBP we have been galvanised into action by something else. Next year we have the privilege of publishing a number of books about climate change, its impact on our world and the importance of sustainability – these include Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet (ed. Philippe D. Tortell); Living Earth Community: Multiple Ways of Being and Knowing (eds. Sam Mickey, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim) and What Works in Conservation 2020 (eds. William J. Sutherland, Lynn V. Dicks, Nancy Ockendon, Silviu O. Petrovan and Rebecca K. Smith). (These will, of course, all be freely available in Open Access editions.) Calm, measured and full of expert knowledge, they lay out very starkly the impact that humans are currently having on the world around us – but also the things we can do to avert disaster.
Climate change is happening. The data is only going in one direction. So what should we do?
Since we are a small company, it’s easy to think that we can’t make much difference – but this has never been OBP’s philosophy. Because we are small, we can be nimble, inventive and responsive to the circumstances around us: we can be an example by experimenting with different methods and showing others what can be achieved.
This has been our approach to Open Access publishing and this will be our approach to our environmental impact. Inspired by the work of our authors, in 2020 we will be taking steps to shrink our carbon footprint and we will be blogging about it along the way – sharing the difficulties we encounter and the solutions we discover to change our effect on the world around us.
It’s time to make a start. Watch this space.