Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Monbiot



On this, the third day of mourning over Saturday's farrago (sorry to link to yet another report on the game, but I believe closure is partly achieved by talking through a trauma) the observant among you will have noticed the subtle changes to the blog layout - black links, etc, etc. Tomorrow, this period of sackcloth and ashes will end, and I will revert to the usual lazer blue motifs. But for today I will post on an appropriately dark subject.

Every time I read one of George Monbiot's articles, I feel a sudden terror that the world will end (in any meaningful human sense) within my own lifetime. I have felt for some time that Armageddon was likely to happen in a generation or two, but the way things are going, that is looking frighteningly optimistic. As a father of two young children, this is a sobering thought indeed, and more and more evidence appears before us every day. And yet there is no action from those who purport to lead us. Worse than that, there is action in the wrong direction. This precious jewel of the desert that is the Western Spiral Arm of the galaxy, this mind-blowing Original Ball on which we live, might as well be a piece of shit we flush down the toilet.

I have friends who argue against me with feeling, who maintain that the resilience of the human race will out, that we will muddle through. Friends who say that love is the answer, and will guide us out of the gloaming. I have family members who believe that the threat of climate change is exaggerated. My own feeling is that we are approaching the end game, or the end time, and that we will end up convulsing in a death by a thousand cuts, some deeper than others. Barring Bushco (and I include Mrs Clinton in that cabal) and a further catastrophic sortie into war, a meteorite thudding into us, or a Super Crash sending seismic waves through the global economy, I don't foresee a single event as finally pulling the plug. We will bleed slowly. But bleed we will.

The question is, what do I do? What do we all do? Can we really change anything? A starting point, perhaps, is what do I do already? Well, here goes:
  • Low energy lightbulbs throughout the home
  • Cycle about 75% of the time, use public transport about 20% and the rest is car use
  • Recycle all my shopping bags
  • Take one plane journey (on average) every two years
  • Maintain the thermostat at 21C (despite a campaign to change it - it's a daily battle)
  • Conserve water and don't buy it bottled
  • Try not to be a rampant consumer of everything except alcohol
  • At work, energy is a large part of my job. I analyse the energy consumption of the buildings, find ways of reducing it and implement programmes for that when this is viable
  • Contribute to online forums (as well as this blog) about the issues and talk about them to anyone who will listen

What I don't do (there is a whole host of relatively easy other things I could be doing, I know, and I am trying hard) is anything in the area of direct action. I used to participate in Reclaim the Streets demos and was reasonably active (though not politically affiliated) during my student days. I was on the Poll Tax march and have been to a few anti-nazi demos, including the one in Plumstead which marched past the BNP HQ. I have stopped in recent years, preferring sponsored cycle rides instead. Age, and the demands and responsibilities of parenthood have restrained me, but I still believe that direct action is the best way to protest, and, ultimately, to bring about change.

Today, after reading George's latest column and the CiF comments in response to it, I visited monbiot.com to see what options were available. I found a few interesting ideas, and clicked on to the War On Want page - once a great campaigning group, whose efficacy was underlined by the fact that they were pursued so hard by the establishment, and those reds at the Daily Mirror, during the George Galloway years. Now, apart from joining and donating, their main modus operandi seems to be - send an email to this or that MP or minister, send an e-card to Coca-Cola. As a member of AI, I can't wholly decry this method of action, but I do feel it is somewhat limited in its effect. If it worked, then we would surely not be living in a world where Guantánamo bay existed. How many emails did Tony Blair receive before the boys went into Basra? Quite a few, would be my guess.

I would love to believe that love was the answer, I really would. But, Bob Marley (the song was called Survival, so, maybe...) said it: "every time I look around, the people suferring, suffering, in every way. In every way"

2 comments:

marie said...

i think décroissance is the only way, even if it's a drastic way. we know what we have to do:stop consummind industrial goods, ban cars,beef and peculation. if we don't do it, it's because we want to die... some still believe they will take their riches with them in the tomb and we're dying for them, no one is stopping them. we're feeding the parasites, the arctic ice cap is dangerously melting everybody knows it, you can see nice reports on tv on friday night about it.. nicely filmed, nice music, relaxing.. la forme plus importante que le fond...
survival... the Maldives will disappear under water very soon.. and here, in the Pyrenees, the local skiing resort dried out a mountain lake last winter to provide the resort with artificial snow..to satisfy the tourists- mainly English- ...

Myeral said...

I hear you. I'm not a big 'user' by any means, but I don't want to give up what I've got. While I can pop to Waitrose for the shopping, I don't mind - even if bread prices are thru the roof. What about those (sad fucks) who have so much more to lose?