In the recent past, I have become increasingly exasperated by our popular Governments. It is not the job of our Governments to be popular – indeed, if they don’t step on some toes, it could be argued that they aren’t doing their jobs properly. Democracy is supposed to be the government of the people, by the people, for the people. Nowadays, it seems summed up by of the political parties, for the special interest groups be they mining, manufacturing or any of a hundred others. Gone are the days of people going into politics for the benefit of their fellow citizens. Nowadays, with poll driven attention spans, if a policy isn’t at least poll neutral, it has difficulty in becoming law. And let’s not even go near being good fellow global citizens.
There appears to be a rise in the righteous right with religion raising its head ever more frequently – unfortunately, many of the tenets of religion seem to be forgotten in the translation; things like: do unto others, love thy neighbour etc. Let us not forget that many of the worst atrocities perpetrated by man on his fellow man have been done in the name of religion.
We are currently, as a species, standing at a turning point. After 200 years of industrialisation, we have discovered that we are profoundly altering the environment of this planet – we are, to coin the colloquial, shitting in our nest. This MUST stop but to do so we need governments the world over to work in concert. Don’t get me wrong, there have been attempts, as can be seen by the annual UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change but getting such a disparate group of people to agree on something that has the potential to affect the financial well-being of their citizens (even though the cost is likely to be greater in the long term if nothing is done now) and hence their own ‘popularity’ seems to be well-nigh impossible. There is also the undeniable moral case to be made that those who have contributed most to the problem should contribute most to the solution. Not to mention the desire for those in the developing world to raise their standard of living to that of the developed world, and who could blame them? For some, even having reliable clean drinking water would be a major improvement.
Our standard of living has improved greatly over the last two centuries and we now have the benefit of technologies that, even 30 years ago, would have been considered science fiction. We understand more of the processes around us and, by virtue of this, realise that there is so much more to know. Science is a marvel; it has given us so much and has the potential for so much more. Why is it then, that when science alerts us to a problem, a problem that has the potential to disrupt life as we know it on this planet, that we decide to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist? The longer we wait, the harder and more expensive the task becomes.
We must know that the problem won’t fix itself – perhaps we hope others will do the right thing and we won’t have to worry; perhaps we think that there will be a technological ‘breakthrough’ that will somehow save the day. Thinking such things may help us sleep at night but unless we actually do something about this, we, as a civilisation, have a very short shelf life. And what if others don’t come to the rescue or there is no technological breakthrough? YOU have the capability to help start making a difference; YOU can say “enough is enough”, YOU can start living your life within the means of this planet to provide.
Simple things that won’t cost the earth.
If not YOU, who? If not now, when?