I know its not exactly what one might call a ringing endorsement of Boris Johnson’s election as the new Conservative Party leader – and by dint of that, our next Prime Minister – the notion that because we’ll all be dead soon, it has only a relative importance. But I will be, and therefore it isRelative to not only how long I’m going to remain alive, relative to my potential to effect any meaningful change on whatever decisions he or other world leaders may make, but most of all, relative the lack of any effective action by humanity to reverse catastrophic climate change.
It literally dawned on me at 04.58 this morning as I watched the sun come up, that ultimately, nothing we say or do matters from here on in. I’m at the seaside at Cromer and enduring the heatwave, one that may or may not set records for the hottest UK temperature, but will be one of the hottest years globally on record. Most of these have occurred in the recent past and we not only know this but in trying to combat the heats effects we only make the problem worse. I am as guilty as the next man of this, unless of course, the next man happens to the President of China or America.
To cool off in the sun, my partner made some delicious homemade ice pops, using only watermelon juice and star fruit juice, whatever that is. Oh yes and the energy needed to freeze it, the petrol needed to drive to the supermarket and back to get the juice, the energy needed to keep it chilled until purchase. Oh, and then there’s the energy needed to transport it here, probably a combination of freight and air –freight, given that neither of these two fruits are grown in the UK. Then there’s the energy need to grow them, the sheer amount of water needed, the low wages producers need to pay their workers, so my partner, when she’s in Cromer Co-Op won’t think ‘How much?’ and choose something else. And I nearly forgot the packaging! I thought of all this as the ice-pop was melting, reflecting on if the sun could do that, what in Darwin’s name is it doing to the polar ice-sheets. Lots, I know, and none of it good.
Whilst we might imbue our own concerns with importance, that importance is only important to ourselves and is no of consequence not to the universe. This truism was borne out to me last week I visited the Turner Gallery in Margate, where there was an exhibition of seaside ‘photos, some of which were taken at the start of the last century. I was struck by the thought that all the people in those ‘photo’s, they were dead now, and all their hopes and dreams, which had seemed so important to them, had died with them.
This blog has always had a rather somewhat cynical view of humanity’s continued existence as beneficial for the planet, so therefore it would be a tad hypocritical to exempt myself from my own belief. And even if we ultimately pollute ourselves out of existence, what will the universe care? Regardless of whatever deal or no deal we leave Europe with, the sun will still rise. How much longer humans will be around to witness it is another matter.