- Jul 13, 2006
Wow. That's a really interesting comment. And unfortunately bang on the money. You should perhaps think about becoming an MP or influencer of some capacity. What you say is true. None of us are doing enough and what is being done is too little or causing more harm like paving over every front drive and astroturfing the back garden.The problem is it would require collective action taken by many individuals not just on a local scale but on a global scale. The fact of the matter is it requires immediate, drastic multilateral action to change our current course, and it's never going to happen for a number of reasons:
1) Imperial hangover
Bear with me here. But there is a reason countries like India are aligning with China and Russia. They believe it is THEIR time and any climate agreement is just confetti to them. In China no amount of civilian unrest is going to change their course, in fact the only thing that might is a catastrophic economic collapse and then we have other problems. Brazil, among others, have already shown flagrant disregard for the environment and razed most of their natural resources. They may stop when they run out and catastrophe looms, but that is not likely to be in time to help. and then there is Africa. How are we supposed to persuade African countries that having had their growth stymied and their countries ravished by imperial powers could they now stop using quite so many resources thank you very much? That said, Africa has other problems. And I haven't even mentioned the disruptive impact of the various serious conflicts occuring at present. Whilst they dominate the news cycle, anything else isn't. Well apart from the football.
This sounds very left wing, but the truth is this is capitalism's fault. The reason is modern capitalism measures its success in growth of GDP. In other words, if people aren't consuming more, spending more, using more resources, the economy is seen to be failing. You don't need to be a mathematician to see how this is not commesurate with fighting climate change. Let's create an extremely unlikely hypothetical situation where we go all Icelandic and decide a growth based economic model isn't a great idea (I mean it obviously isn't but that's another story). How is a wealthy career politician on a 5 year electoral cycle going to sell that? Yeah we have to stop global warming but you have to stop eating meat more than about once a week, give up your car (And I mean give up, not switch to EV which makes next to no difference), stop buying stuff, etc. There is already an 'alt-right' revolt about the relatively sensible concept of 15 minute cities or whatever it was. And in America, where the attitude of about half the population is very much of the frack everyone and everything ilk and the electoral cycle is ever more fraught, only a major catastrophe is ever going to lead to a radical change. America was literally ON FIRE this year and nothing changes, and that's with a Democrat in charge. Don't hold your breath.
3) Newtonian Physics
The answer is not new technology, clean energy, whatever. You can't just magic energy from nowhere. There will always be consequences - maybe not immediate, maybe they can be put off, but for every action etc etc.. it's the great myth to be honest. We just simply can't go on living as we are, the planet cannot sustain it, there is no magic wand. We need to reduce the population, use less stuff per head, travel less and so forth. We need everybody else in THE WHOLE WORLD to be on board with this as well. On a scale of 1 to 1 million, how likely to we think this really is?
I love the optimism, but sorting your plastics from your paper and driving a Volkswagen UP isn't going to cut it. Fair play to anyone who thinks they are saving the world by doing this but they can't. Not unless they and everyone else in the world stops going to restaurants, buying clothes all the time, having multiple vehicles /tvs/computers in their household, buying random tat, traveling long distances, driving to the supermarket/DIY/garden centre every other day, commuting to work/the school run, going abroad on holiday etcetcetc. Take down your christmas tree, don't wrap any presents or buy any decorations. In fact give simple home-made gifts, don't order anything online (having it shipped halfway across the country - can you imagine the impact that must have every year?). Then explain that to the kids. Along with the reason they can't have that new bike/console/trainers/mobile they are basically told by social media they can't live without. Forget Christmas dinner or do it in a huge group and eat less of everything. You think enough people will be on board with that? Hell no. I'm not sure I am. I'm not sure anyone is, unless they live in a tent. Until things REALLY start going pear-shaped, nothing will happen. And by then it will be too late. And even as the world burns/freeze/floods there will be a significant number of people who attribute it to some kind of climate science conspiracy and it's all down to sun spots or aliens or some other such nonsense because their tiny brains can't accept reality. Yup, briangreen, that's you.
Damn this got dark.