What greater sign do we need to prove climate change is real, asks Saira Khan

Bare ­bottoms squashed up against a window in the House of Commons was my introduction to ­Extinction Rebellion. Their pants are back on now but these climate change protesters are definitely getting their message out there.

“System change not climate change,” their banners say, while they sprawl all over the capital, bringing roads to a standstill.

When I visited London, I saw plenty of beards and long hair and peaceful protests, singing and dancing. The atmosphere was not threatening. But the threat to our planet was clear.

And traffic jams and getting to work 20 minutes late is just a small price to pay for highlighting the issue, I thought.

I understand the frustrations of these eco warriors.

For years, our ­politicians have been paying lip service to our planet and we all end up slipping into a false sense of security.

Convenience wins over ­sustainability in this world of instant gratification.

The UK is on track to miss its carbon targets for the late 2020s, targets based on a goal to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

David Attenborough says if we don’t take dramatic action in the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world – the end of our societies.

But then Sir David is drowned out by the likes of Donald Trump, who believe climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.

But it is a fool who denies it.

We had people out in T-shirts in February – what greater sign do we need?

The politicians have got to go beyond talking about recycling, which most of us can’t even get right anyway.

We need to be changing our whole society – the way we eat, shop, produce, travel. The way we live and think. It might sound overwhelming and unreasonable, but 20 years ago the concept of crushing up a cola can to recycle it seemed a bit crazy.

We do need to be flying less, not jumping on a flight for stag parties and city breaks.

And, yes, it’s very nice to be enjoying hot weather in April. But while you’re grilling your sausages on the barbecue, take a moment to think why you are managing to do that.

We are moving in the right direction and tech is helping, allowing people to work from home, rather than travel.

Sustainable fashion is hitting the high street, electric cars are quietly taking over the roads.

But it is not happening fast enough.

Michael Gove made my blood boil when he said, “wrap up the demos, politicians get the message”.

He doesn’t. Our MPs get more fired up about the plastic in their wallet than the plastic in the sea.

So I’m glad there are people prepared to flash bums and stop traffic.

If it gets MPs moving a little faster, it’s worth it. Because if we carry on like this, we’ll be praying for a rainy bank holiday.

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