I change my mind about not getting on the soapbox: I have more to say! This whole bushfire-climate change thing has got me thinking. Most people I know believe climate change is real, that it is potentially devastating, and that something needs to be done about it. Yet most people I know (with a few notable exceptions) go on living exactly as they did before: using the dryer every bit as much, eating meat with every meal, driving their car to excess.
If we believe the consequences are real, why aren’t we willing to make sacrifices now?
I suppose there are any number of reasons, including the belief that only collective action can achieve anything (which is true, but collective action REQUIRES individual action). I think, however, that we are unwilling to change our behaviour because the consequences are deferred. Making sacrifices to prevent someone else’s suffering is contrary to human nature. We think the effects of global warming will be felt my our descendants, and maybe those in the third world now. It doesn’t effect our daily life, except when the weather does odd things.
Surely, now, enough has happened to prove that the consquences of climate change are real, immediate and catastrophic. Will the events of this weekend in Victoria inspire us to actually act? Or will we just blame the government for not devoting enough money to firefighting equipment?
It takes a lot to show people how tenuous many claims of “need” and “impossibility”. When stripped back to neccessities, many of our needs are proven to just be wants dressed up in justification, and “impossibly” sacrifices are merely unpleasant. Will this be enough?
But, to be honest, I’m starting to think we’re doomed beyond any hope of change.