27 July 2011
Christina Tey writes:
We are all programmed to take account of ‘now’. We have enough money now, we have enough to eat now, and the sun is shining now. We will worry about tomorrow when tomorrow arrives.
Apply that thinking to climate change. Everybody, including those who make a living out of denial, knows that climate change is going to screw up the world. Some believe it could possibly put an end to man as a viable species, but it doesn’t affect our ‘now’.
Climate change might be affecting the livelihood of the Inuit in the Arctic, or people dying of thirst in Ethiopia, but their plight matters little to us in real terms. Our altruism only goes as far as the collection bucket outside the local supermarket. Our supermarkets are full to capacity, water flows from our taps and petrol has come out of pumps for longer than most people can remember. That is now our ‘normality’. Climate change is a problem for the future – anybody’s future but our own of course.
In the meantime there is a succession of conferences, organized to set internationally agreed targets and ambitions, all aimed at rescuing humanity from the ravages of climate change. But all too often the only the only point of agreement at the conference table is the date of the next meeting. A cynic might suggest that climate change conferences have become part of the leisure industry in their own right.
The human mind dismisses danger that does not present itself in raw reality, so until climate change dumps reality on our collective doorstep, either in the form of a 365 day snowstorm or heatwave that cuts off our food and fuel supplies altogether, there will never be any serious action on climate change. But of course it will be too late by then