Not alone

By The Inkling

Dear readers,

You may have been disappointed recently by the long time between posts on this blog and I am sorry for that. There has been so much on my plate and on my mind that I have been overwhelmed, but now I am going to try to delight you with a post that covers everything!

There has been lots of bleak news lately and I have found myself sitting at home, despairing and getting angry with all the stupid people out there who aren’t doing anything to save the world. This made me feel very lonely, until I started thinking things through calmly.

When I was a child I remember that I counted a couple of trees near the house as friends. They were Cypress Pines and were easy to climb, but I usually just sat on one of the lower branches. I felt, or just imagined, that I was communicating with the tree as I sat there. I visualized or sensed the life in the tree. Perhaps I was just imagining the sap flowing below the bark, but this calmed me and I felt like we understood each other. By the time I was a teenager both of these trees had been chopped down because it was a bushfire hazard to have such flammable trees so close to the house (so even people who truly love the bush cannot live in it without the bush being worse off), but I still remember the comforting feeling of having something in common with a tree. I could be alone in the bush and never feel lonely.

I have never been someone who was flowing down the mainstream, but I cannot believe that I am so unique that nobody else out there is being scared almost to death by the recent reports on how climate change is already getting out of hand or that nobody else frantically reads through articles, books and blogs looking for answers or stays awake at night trying to find a solution. Even if I were conceited enough to believe that only one in a million people cares as much as I do then, in the seven billion people out there, there must be at least another 7000 who care as much as me. I am not alone, and nor can I be all that rare.

What if some of those people out there who I have been getting angry with for letting the planet be destroyed are also sitting at home despairing and including me in their “stupid people” and wondering why I am not out there saving the planet?

Yes! It is not just me who talks about how ridiculous it is that we are cutting down nature reserves and dredging the Great Barrier Reef so we can export even more coal when coal is already doing a good job of killing the planet. It is not just me who cheers when GDP is down because we know that when the economy is growing our environmental impacts are too. It is not just me who would prefer it if our city/town/country didn’t become busier.

And yet the focus is still on keeping the economy growing, more mines are being approved, governments have no plans for sustainability and nobody in power is racing to stop climate change. People who do care about the future are being kept busy putting out spot fires – saving one piece of forest or coast or farm takes a lot of work and there will always be pressure on these areas if the economy must keep growing. Even creating a new reserve or national park does not mean we have more natural landscape than before, it just means that one piece of what we already had is less accessible to people looking for profits.

I may not be alone, but is it possible that in the midst of all this craziness that the majority of people would prefer the planet not be destroyed? What if it is just that our democracy is not working? In a true democracy how could 1% (or 0.1%) be doing what they like at the expense of everyone else?

And now we see that climate change means that our alternatives are no future or, despite our best possible efforts, a planet that is much less habitable than we were expecting, but I’m trying to get over being scared. Life is relentless. There will always be problems and, to some degree, people are good at adapting. It is scary to think of the radical change necessary to have even just a chance of a livable planet, but imagine how delicious it would be to be one of the people who was putting the brakes on and stopping us from crashing into the wall and compare that to how shocking it would be to be a passenger if we don’t stop in time.

In the end it doesn’t really matter what the problem is, it matters that people who want the problem solved are not being effective enough to solve it.

Have you had your ideas dismissed or ignored by someone who you thought believed in the same things?  Or have you ever found yourself dismissing another person or their ideas because they aren’t exactly aligned with yours? There is something seductive about being able to find THE solution to all our problems (imagine being the hero who saves the world!) but what if there isn’t one solution? And I don’t think there is. How could there be one simple solution to saving this complex world? The solution must be made up of lots of people all doing their own part. It helps me to think of us all being a small part of the same thing. If there is a meaning to life I think it is to keep life going, and at the moment we aren’t doing a very good job of that. I am going to keep going though, and I am sure I will not be alone.

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