11 October 2009

56 Days to Copenhagen - We've Got to Feel the Pain

We shared dinner the other night with favourite friends we hardly ever see and their beautiful, smiling baby boy. And the topic of conversation finally came round to climate change. (We talked about everything else first — the kids, my job, his job, her job, but when it came round to my husband's work, well, he spends 18 hours per day on climate change!)

We admire these people a lot. We think they're lovely. They are very "with it" intelligent people. We love their kids.

But (and "but" is a dangerous word, I know) they don't get that hope is not an action verb. They're still convinced that knowing the truth will shut people down. "Action is our only hope," I try to explain to people (meme alert!).

They think that people "with hope" are more likely to do something. But what's happening in the world is not bearing this out. Hope gives people a false sense of security. And then they change their lightbulbs and go back to watching TV!

Besides, there is no hope. The climate crisis is currently hopeless. For most life on Earth. And that includes us, though you wouldn't know it by our blasé reaction.

We MUST get our greenhouse gas emissions falling within a year if there is to be any hope of safeguarding the future for our friend's wonderful, smiling little son. And that is going to take a whole lot of people — voters, consumers, citizens, young people, parents! — thinking the painful thought that their children might not have a future worth living, and then demanding leadership from our leaders. This means allowing themselves to feel the pain, feel the fear, feel the despair and hopelessness and impotence, and THEN getting angry enough and agitated enough and empowered enough to do what needs to be done for the sake of their children.

At that point, it will be clear what they need to do.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?