I ATTENDED a public meeting at Kendal Town Hall with a room full of people worried about what we can do as individuals and as a community to reverse the inexorable march to our own extinction.

Climate change can no longer be regarded as scare-mongering by a few crank scientists; it is now proven to be happening at a rate which is spiralling towards the mass extinction of species already on the cusp of survival.

Humans are included in that genocide and our own consumerism is the main cause. David Attenborough has been trying to make us think about our actions for years; do you think our most eminent and trustworthy wildlife presenter is lying to us and worrying unnecessarily?

Please wake up. We can no longer sit back and hope this worrying problem will just go away, to leave it to our children to sort out.

It is of no use hoping our politicians will take action as governments worldwide rely too heavily on the tax revenue generated by our mad dash towards car ownership. There are 38.4million vehicles in the UK and the population is 66 million; that is crazy.

There is a pathetic need to have the latest gadget or fly off to over-populated holiday resorts. We are slowly choking our delicately balanced planet.

The next time you are waiting at traffic lights, just open the car window and absorb the pollution which young children are having to breathe as they pass by and wonder why childhood asthma is on the increase. Take notice of the car exhausts pumping out a shimmering haze of poison.

How many gas-guzzling tank-sized vehicles can you see with just one driver; is their journey strictly essential, do they need such a big car, are they within walking distance of their destination? Is there a correlation between car ownership and the increase in obesity across the age ranges?

We will never persuade arrogant or blinkered people to accept responsibility for their own actions, but if the 'Pareto principle’ is adopted then 20 per cent of the population can have the desired effect over the other 80 per cent. It worked with car seatbelts, using mobile phones when driving and smoking in public spaces; it does work. We must be more outspoken and vehement to make everyone think a little, for their own good. Ask drivers politely to switch off engines when stood in traffic queues, for example.

A good start would be for our politicians, those employed within the multi layers of local government, the executives of businesses and their generous firms' car perks to restrict the engine capacity of company vehicles to, say, 1.8 litres. Economically there will be large savings on fuel bills, insurance premiums and road fund tax, but more importantly it will create discussion and have instant impact. They could go electric and bring down the price of vehicles for the rest of us.

Don’t listen to the politicians, we do not have till 2050 to slowly reduce emissions. If we have not taken drastic and meaningful action within the next five years then we are leaving the next generation, our own children, with an unsolvable problem - is that being a responsible person? It is our collective responsibility to change bad habits now, or maybe you are one of the ostriches with their head in the sand?

Roy Wilcock