Thursday, 30 August 2012

The end of the world as we know it?

I feel like I'm in uncharted waters here but I felt I had to write something about the very big and scary issue that is climate change - specifically, the Arctic ice melt.

It can be so hard to move beyond our immediate lives to give thought and energy to something which can feel so distant and abstract. I know that in my mothering life so far I have found it almost impossible to give away my precious energy to anything outside of keeping us four people alive and happy. It was not always this way. When I was responsible for only myself I managed to be generally more involved in the business of the world. I protested, I donated, and I had many passionate discussions about all manner of urgent and pressing issues. When I had children, however, my urgent and pressing issues became about what we were going to have for dinner and how I'd manage to get through the day on a couple of hours of sleep. The world shrank to a handful of important people and this was how I preserved my sanity.

Slowly but surely I feel I have been returning to society and with the discovery of Twitter, the world has suddenly burst through my door and stands clamouring in my living room. This sounds overwhelming but it's also been invigorating and has pulled me back to a place where I want to engage again. I want to know what's going on and I want to know if there's anything I can do about it.

I've been working towards living a lighter life, curbing my ingrained consumerist instincts and trying to live in a conscious and connected way. I believe that in the long run this is how we will need to exist if we are to reverse some of the damage we have done; sometimes however we need to do a little bit more.

Our planet is changing, irreversibly. Some recent predictions have the Arctic sea ice completely non-existent in the late summer within the next twenty years. That's massive, unexpected change. It's what we were warned was a possibility years ago but never really thought would happen. No one can know what the overall effect will be, but we do know that ecosystems will be hugely disrupted, species will be threatened, weather systems already altered will change further. It's here, it's happening and I'm alarmed that we aren't all running about shouting 'THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS ENDING!' Why are we burying our heads?

So here I am writing a post that makes me feel out of my depth and a little bit naive. I'm trying to find ways I can reach people, spread the word, light a fire. Governments aren't interested, they want the oil under the ice, and it seems that the media are looking the other way. Which leaves us. Those of us that are starting to worry need to do a little more than we usually would, we need to gather our bravery and step outside of where we feel most comfortable.

The first step for me was to sign up to the Greenpeace campaign:

I'd love to know what you think...


mike said...

It is genuinely scary stuff and like you say people just don't seem to get how serious it is and how big an impact it is going to have.

No idea how we affect things quickly enough on a massive scale to slow things down...

Selina Gough said...

I guess it's got to start with this. People going 'shit - what do we do now?' signing up to campaigns, then signing others up. I know people are saying it's too late for the Arctic but then what? Reckon we've got to start banging on about it. I'm thinking about having a campaign day or night or something - local press, doing some of the crazier stuff on the Greenpeace website...they've got lots of ideas.