What exactly do I believe about climate change? And why do I want to know?
Lately I’ve found myself sometimes getting into a state of near panic when I think about it. Lurking in the background of my life these days is a shadowy threat of disaster, ‘unless I do something’. But what, exactly, would that be? When I do get into that state, I know I have to ‘take the dragon by the balls’, sit down with it, and look it straight in the eye. That is what I’m doing, right here, right now.
So what do I believe about climate change? Well, I believe it is real. I believe we all contribute to it – we in ‘the west’ more than others. I believe climate change is about ‘carbon emissions’, and carbon emissions are about stuff.
Do I even dare to guess how much more stuff we have than our parents had 50 years ago? A half dozen plastic mixing bowls – to ensure we have the right size for everything. A playroom full of plastic toys and games, so Johnny will never be bored – or have less than Billy. And then there is endlessly changing décor, endless renovations, endlessly changing styles, updates; and oh — a backup printer and another plastic lawnchair — just in case….
More and more and more. And so our carbon emissions rise. Carbon emissions are also about laziness, about driving when I could walk. Or about just not thinking at all. Thus, factories steadily increase their production of unnecessary googas, contributinghugely toclimate change.
How? Crude oil ‘by-products’ (1)as the energy to make the products, (2) as the material in the products themselves, and (3) as the fuel to move those products, together are probably the largest element in climate change. So yes, I do think that we must change our ways or we will self-destruct. The question is how urgent is it?
Is it urgent enough that I should drop everything, and spend the rest of my days trying to ‘save the world’? Or should I just trust that eventually everyone will come to their senses — catastrophe will be avoided? What should we think about “Tipping Points”?* Is it all happening slowly enough that we have time to change? Or will it all suddenly drown us in a sea of bobbing plastics?
I’m sometimes afraid we’ll ultimately be defeated by our beliefs and emotional needs. The need to reach for that next adorable thing. The need for visitors to love our new kitchen. Our belief that a recycling bin and a composter will take care of it.
Or “God will take care of it” and worse, “It’s God’s will”. If we just do the right thing, pray to the right god, live the right lifestyle, eat the right food, paint our door the right colour, follow the right leader, somehow everything will be all right.
On my more optimistic days, I imagine that suddenly enough of us will decide to stop reaching for things, and reach for each other instead; stop driving – and start walking together; stop updating our kitchens, and start meeting in them, exploring with each other in mutually supportive ways, how we can change ourselves and the world. For change we must.
and: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7sSHyXNxtU (1 min. only)