If I hear this again, I’ll scream. “Your blog is all very well, but it’s pointless trying to do anything to save the planet until China and India go green.”
Three people have said this to me, and I’m already sick of it. It’s a cop out. A bloody cop out. We all have to try. All of us. Every day. Of course India and China need to get on board, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to go on polluting. It’s like defending the fact that you poop in your front garden because your neighbours have 100 lodgers who poop in their front garden.
Just roll this thought around your mind. James Anderson, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at Harvard, says that we have five years left. In those five years, we have to transform industry as rapidly as possible – it’s not just a matter of cutting carbon emissions, its a matter of removing it from the atmosphere completely.
Five years. (And we all thought we had the luxury of a decade…!)
Here’s another thought to mull over. Anderson says, “The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero.”
So don’t mull too long, or that five year period of grace will be over and the world we live in will become a very uncomfortable place.
James Lovelock, the eminent scientist and long a hero of mine, originally earned his fame when he came up with the Gaia hypothesis. This posits the theory that the Earth – which he calls Gaia – is a single self-regulating super-organism, and that we are a just part of it, much in the way that the bacteria on our skin is a part of us. That’s a very inadequate little explanation of a great big theory but it will have to do for now.
Lovelock believes that we human beings have multiplied too much and that Gaia is now trying to get rid of us. Catastrophic weather changes, storms, typhoons, desertification etc., and the heating up of vast areas of the world, thus making it uninhabitable are becoming the norm.
So can we do anything personally? He thinks not, and I don’t know if we can, but I passionately believe we should try. We in the West are largely the architects of the Armageddon to come, so we bloody well have to try. Here are some suggestions.
- Fly less
- Drive less
- Eat less meat
- Eat more locally produced food
- Waste less
- Buy less
- Protest more
- Have fewer children
- Heat our homes less
- Write letters – to government and companies and councils and anyone else you feel needs a nudge.
Note that I don’t proscribe anything completely. I believe that to be unrealistic. Changing the habits of a lifetime is hard work.
And gestures towards greenness are often just that – gestures. For instance, I own a diesel car, and I can’t do without the car as I live in a country village with a lousy bus service. I could get rid of it and replace it with an electric car instead. But it would be a pointless gesture, because it would mean that someone else would then own that car while I polished my halo. Much better for me to own that car and drive it as little as possible. If I’m running errands, I try to get them all done in one trip every few days. If I have to go anywhere farther than our local town, I go by train if at all possible. This means I’ve got my mileage down by several thousand miles per year. No, not perfect, but trying hard.
So don’t come to me with the China argument again, because it’s an excuse of the flabbiest kind. An excuse to go on living our indulgent, destructive lives, and that is true Shit You Don’t Need.
Oh, and by the way…
Letters can work. Proper letters, mind you, not emails and armchair clicktivism. A letter is counted as FAR more significant than an email. That’s because it’s a bother to write the letter, find the correct address, buy a stamp and walk to the postbox. It’s estimated that every letter of protest represents up to 10,000 similar opinions. So imagine if 1,000 of us wrote the following to our outgoing Prime Minister…
Dear Mrs. May,
Whilst I welcome the fact that you have committed the UK to a legally binding “net zero” emissions target by 2050, I believe this is not ambitious enough and we should be “net zero” by 2025.
Yours sincerely, A Person.
That would represent ten million opinions. It might make a difference. And at least when Armageddon comes, you can say you tried.
And no, buying a bag-for-life isn’t enough. Try harder.
Here endeth the rant. And here is a picture of Piper who emits a tiny amount of methane, but counters this by eating our leftovers with a will. She is very fond of my cooking and does not tolerate waste.
Unfortunately, she does not tolerate my tapestry cushions either. She believes them to be woefully old-fashioned, and thus they need to be destroyed.
Meanwhile, please keep passing this on!