We’re all a bit Saint Augustine
by Pseud O'Nym
Remember those halcyon days a couple of months ago when parliament was on its Easter recess? And because there was a void in the news agenda that needed to be filled, the media descended upon climate change to fill that gap. So that’s what climate change became; newsfill, this until normal service could be resumed and the media could instead focus on something less urgent, something less complex to understand, less impactful on every single aspect of life, returned. Something that could be endlessly discussed, with no opinion being as wrong as anyone else’s, and be constantly changing.
Something known, something almost reassuringly unpredictable.
Whilst the media presumes we are all transfixed by the current political turmoil and are discussing the merits or otherwise of various candidates for the conservative party leadership and what this will mean for the country’s relationship with Europe and itself, I can’t be alone in thinking that this isn’t the most pressing problem facing us today. That unless effective action is taken, and taken very soon, who becomes the next Prime Minister will be the political equivalent of re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Catastrophic climate change is presents us with such an overwhelmingly far more complicated set of interrelated circumstances, – and largely circumstances of our own making – perhaps it is no surprise that we find it far easier, more comforting to speculate on what is happening in terms of our narrow parochial interests. Because catastrophic climate change requires a degree of insight and forward thinking that doesn’t come easily to most people. By that I mean that most people can only contemplate something thirty or sixty years into the future, anything beyond that is more existential. So it was with no surprise that the news that Extinction Rebellion are planning drone protests today to disrupt the workings of Heathrow airport was greeted with wholly predictable fulminations by those who both want the changes needed to halt catastrophic climate change, but want others to make the change. So airline flights are bad because aviation fuel is dispersed high in the atmosphere and thus causes more damage, but cheap flights, well we want those!
It reminds me of Saint Augustine’s plea “Please God, make me good, but not just yet”