Storms (it’s not just autumn)

September 30th, 2019

Frustration

There is never enough time – I have so many ideas about who to contact, who to get ‘on board’ in this struggle against climate change. 

The Church seems a good place to appeal to – however divisive religion can be, there are so many ‘good works’ done, for homeless people, refugees, Fair-trade projects etc. Could the Archbishop of Canterbury please plead for Ecocide to become a crime….?

And how about Ben Elton writing a television play, to get more media engagement with the crisis? (my husband’s idea, actually) A comedy?  How is that possible about this subject? Do you remember Blackadder in the First World War trenches, though; and when Shakespeare’s son Hamnet died in Upstart Crow…? Mr Elton can ‘do’ moving, as well as funny. And there’s the small aside that I’d forgotten about – a long time ago (the ‘80s), I crossed paths with him in ‘alternative’ stand-up venues in London….! Maybe Victoria Coren-Mitchell could get involved too – I remember her rage against ‘not yet recycled’ plastic…

Whatever we do, also, seems ‘never enough’, as my sister put it recently….

When I started this campaign, climate change seemed such an abstract concept (even though you know it’s big, most people aren’t aware of it in everyday life..) – I thought that was why people seemed blinkered. Now my concern seems to have ‘morphed’ into 

Anger

At the cynical oil companies particularly, BP especially (our local garage, local shop even…with a smiling ad of a child with angelic ginger curly hair promoting its BPme rewards. ‘We’ve been listening to our customers’…..etc etc. oh, they’re such caring family people….). They’re doing more ‘greenwashing’ at the moment, launching a new advertising campaign aimed at hoodwinking us all – stressing the green biofuel initiatives etc they’re funding (they can afford whatever they feel like doing), while shamelessly continuing to drill for unsustainable, destructive oil. I’ve written to the Advertising Standards Authority today (and the Guardian!) asking for investigation into such campaigns. 

E-on has a ‘It’s Time to Clear the Air’ ad at the moment – on the face of it, it seems to ‘tick all the boxes’ for green electricity. They’ve managed to find a loophole, however, whereby they’ve been buying certification of green energy sources to supplement a shortfall.

Proof that ‘money talks’, as the saying goes, but that can apply for us as consumers too, as well as for businesses. Shop around, everyone, and switch to the genuinely 100% renewable companies to supply your electricity – there are many; and they’re getting more and more affordable.

Fear

Well, yes, for my grandson and future grandchildren (though I don’t focus on that emotion at all – we will sort a better world for them, definitely – we activists are all determined!) but they will actually be among ‘the lucky ones’, as Greta Thunberg has described herself. Tropical countries, which tend to be poorer and to have contributed less to climate change, are set to disproportionately suffer the more severe major swings in temperature. I am afraid for these people, I must admit, some of whom have left their uninhabitable countries as climate migrants – how will they be received in the rest of the world? And typhoons, tsunamis, floods and hurricanes have already killed many.

Obligation

I do feel obliged to do this campaigning work – I can’t ‘stand by’…. possibly, I’m having no impact whatsoever, but I have to believe there is a point to it all, of course. Protesting is the start of many changes – no smoking public areas, lead-free petrol (the irony?!), to name a few small examples.

Compassion

Mainly for the striking schoolchildren who are so wonderful, in their knowledge, articulacy, organising skills, passion, determination and optimism. Those in Gloucester who led the Global Climate Strike action I was on impressed me so much – and I must admit I was also relieved that they were ‘normal’ children, as well, making time for their hurried packed lunches, wondering how to spell their slogans properly and even forgetting a rucksack at one of the rally points (I picked it up for them)! I noticed one of the girls with tears in her eyes – how do you keep up enthusiasm for a cause when it is so huge and potentially overwhelming?….

Hope

On an international level, that OPEC (the oil industries organisation) has referred to Greta Thunberg and her schoolchildren followers as a big threat – the eyes of the world are on those dirty giants, like never before – and other governments are being forced to listen to/watch thousands of their citizens march for the future. Even though the UN conference in New York addressed by Greta (so movingly) predictably failed to make any major new commitments, the French president Emmanuel Macron did say ‘we cannot stand by while our children strike for their future every Friday’…. And our own Boris Johnson actually announced the UK has set up a global alliance to help protect the world’s oceans – a crumb of comfort I read in an email from Greenpeace. I don’t think it’s enough to restore his bullying reputation, though…

Elsewhere, I’ve loved Saturday’s news about organised hitchhiking being launched for commuters in Brussels, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions in the city.

And on a very immediate level, you can download a free app on your phone, Giki – Jo and James Hand, its founders, said: “However concerned about climate change, people still buy unsustainable food, fly frequently and don’t take meaningful daily actions that help to reduce their environmental impact. Barriers such as ease, availability and current lifestyle trends mean sustainable living has been more of an aspiration than reality for most of us. There is even a term for this postponing attitude – ‘virtue signalling’”.

But if not now, when? If not us, who?

Love

For all children and grandchildren everywhere (especially my immediate family of course – it’s so tricky, climate change being the backdrop to my everyday thoughts and actions while not wanting to burden them with unhelpful ‘vibes’…..).

Guilt

Not personally, but collectively – our generation and the one before (post-war) has seriously messed up. Of course I don’t want to return to any fictional ‘good old days’, but there is now too much choice (how can you decide which bread to buy in Sainsbury’s, as my hairdresser said?!) , too much convenience, too much packaging, too much driving & flying, which has ultimately led to too many carbon emissions… 

I do remember working in children’s theatre, in a play called ‘The Rainbow Warrior’ (a Greenpeace ship), promoting recycling & looking after the earth; and also doing projects about pollution while teacher training. Why didn’t we make all that ‘mainstream’, acting on the findings of environmental scientist Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) way back in 1962 too?

We’ve waited until our house is on fire…..

Duty

see entry for ‘obligation’

Grief

For the orangutans (remember not to buy palm-oil products), passenger pigeons, clouded leopards, black rhinos, monk seals that have gone extinct, or are in serious trouble, in the past decade. And this week, for the oh so English horse chestnut/conker tree – it is succumbing to disease, brought on by global warming.

I’ve been a bit more personal today (thinking of National Poetry Day on Thursday, perhaps…) – I’ve borrowed the emotion categories from Extinction Rebellion, who start a fortnight of civil disobedience on Monday (October 7th). Good luck to them. We all need each other in this fight.

2 thoughts on “Storms (it’s not just autumn)

  1. Take heart, I hope we are starting to see change, here in Australia I took heart from the comments of a highly respected figure in journalism, Kery O’Brian saying that he believed the kids will have a significant impact if they just keep it up and we keep supporting them here is the link to the video in case you might be interested; https://www.facebook.com/abcinbrisbane/videos/335347573906854/?v=335347573906854
    My husband saying he would make a point of supporting the kids every time they call on us to do so, also gave me hope, he also even pulled our daughter up for not dealing with the recyclables in the kitchen properly, things are changing, small things but they give me hope.
    Just, on the first point, perhaps since the archbishop of Canterbury is a former oil industry employee he has even more reason to atone for that, by doing something about ecocide.
    Like always I enjoy your posts.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s