Thursday, July 29, 2021

Despair at climate change, and how (maybe) to deal with it.

Woman despairing at burning forests

I feel so sad for the future of all life on Earth, and for my children's future.

I've been involved in environmental activism, research and the business of testing and spreading solutions to environmental problems for 30 years.

I always thought we had a chance of saving ourselves and nature from the worst that could happen.

But today I am in despair.

Sir David King, a chief British climate scientist, knows that there are already enough greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to warm the planet to dangerous degree.

We've already passed scary tipping points.

We have the solutions

It's not that we don't have the solutions, we do have many of them.

I've got one here. And more here.

It's not even that the politicians and CEOs of corporations, who have the ability to do what's needed, are still in denial.

It is that they pay lip service. They want to have business as usual and fix the problems. This is not possible.

It is possible for people to have a decent quality-of-life and to solve these problems.

But this entails a change in attitude and understanding. Such a culture change must come before the system can change.

Why isn't this happening?

We can learn something from the so-called culture war going on in most developed countries nowadays.

The right wing is winning most of these culture war battles.

They win, not by saying that the so-called woke culture is wrong, i.e. racism does not exist.

They win by saying the woke people threaten your way of life. For example, immigrants threaten your jobs.

Take this approach by analogy to the subject of climate change.

Activists can say: we can create thousands of green jobs in eco-renovation. This is good news!

But it is not good news to mainstream business, or to the unions, upon whom both the Tories and the Labour Party depend in the UK.

Too many business models are threatened by the transition to a green economy. These businesses and unions have big lobbying power.

Extinction Rebellion achieved the goal of getting the government to declare the climate emergency and to have a citizens assembly.

The citizens assembly made its recommendations to the government.

You wouldn't know it, would you?

These have been ignored, because the voices of business are louder in the ears of the Tory government and the voices of the unions are louder in the ears of the Labour opposition.

This is one reason why nothing is done about making existing buildings consume much less energy.

It is why nothing is done about making all new buildings zero carbon.

It is why they still building on greenbelt land, and planning new roads, and tearing up woodlands for HS2.

It is why we have a crazy trade deal with Australia to import sheep when we have plenty of sheep here.

The list of madness is endless.

Only when the fear of the effects of climate change is greater than the fear that their business model will suffer will the main political parties show the kind of leadership that they need to show.

By then it will be too late.

We have already passed the point at which we could make cheap, reasonable changes and still save civilisation from disaster, as suggested by Sir Nicholas Stern in 2006.

This is why Sir David King is proposing drastic geo-engineering.

I can't seriously see this working. Can you?

So what can you do as an individual?

I can only suggest that you do your best to make where you live as resilient as possible, and start learning practical skills, like growing your own food.

When supply lines dry up because of extreme weather and the supermarket shelves are empty you will need all the skills you can master.

Please, if you feel the same way, I'd like to hear from you.

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