For those who care about the world and the people and creatures we share it with, the last 6 weeks has offered a barrage of dire news. The new IPCC report called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. We learnt that since the time the Beatles broke up and I was born (I claim no scandalous link between those two events), human activity has caused a 60% decline in mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
We’ve seen the German government, whose ‘Energiewende’ we were all celebrating a few years ago, dragging away protesters trying to prevent the clearing of an ancient woodland in order to create an open cast coal mine. Oh, and Brazil just elected a fascist who has vowed to turn much of the Amazon, that vital global carbon store, into farmland, merging the departments of environment and agriculture so as to ensure maximum cheap beef burger output. My own personal WTF moment was the US Department of Justice arguing last week, in their attempt to overturn a court case brought by 21 young people, that “there is no right to ‘a climate system capable of sustaining human life’”. Er, excuse me? Is anyone actually taking this stuff seriously? Grief and rage feel an entirely appropriate response. As Bill McKibben put it, “we’re running out of options and we’re running out of decades”.
As I work on the book I’m writing about imagination, I find myself intrigued with a thought that doesn’t seem to want to leave my head, namely that the deeper we get into climate change, the harder we seem to be finding it to imagine a way out. It’s an idea that, for me anyway, gets under the skin.
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