Is CO2 distracting us from solving ‘real’ problems?
Responding to a Guardian article (US cult of greed is now a global environmental threat, report warns), a poster in the CiF forum said this:
It’s sad the whole CO2 debate has distracted so many from all the other dilemmas we are facing…You can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink.
It’s also true that you can lead a horse to data but you can’t make it think.
I do not believe we are being ‘distracted’ by the CO2 debate. It is, in my view, the over-arching dilemma, of which all the others have now become a subset. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to make this the priority because those people having a hard time now are also predicted to be those who bear the brunt of climate change. If we are to help the disadvantaged, should we not address first those issues that will affect them most profoundly? And this is not to say that other initiatives are stalled, ignored or marginalised, but perhaps they just receive less coverage now?
But there is something more profound going on here that I think may lead you to the conclusion reached. In my view, there are many diverse and problematic issues coming to a head all at once: population growth, peak oil and gas, the historic residue of colonial exploitation, climate change, the profound imbalance in education and democratic values between the developed and developing worlds, a growing resentment in the latter that the riches they were promised if only they did what they were told by the World Bank, the IMF and the west, will now be denied them, the constancy and predictability of economic collapse, the failure of pensions and savings, the demonisation of the disaffected who dare to complain or object, the growing hysteria and irresponsibility of the media…all this and more is both sign and signal that the paradigm of consumerism, of capitalism itself, is failing.
Change is inevitable. It is the only constant in a universe driven by unending chaos. We humans have tried for our entire history to oppose change, but that’s one battle we always lose and always will. Right now, we have collectively an opportunity to embrace change for the good – and how we go about it is the discussion we should be having now – but we remained mired in faux-democratic nonsense in which so many of us appear to believe we can carry on the way we do now, and advocates of this fundamental revisionism will resort to any means to foist their agenda on us.
I don’t think mankind will extinguish itself. I do think we have made great, if uneven, progress – as badly distributed as those benefits are – but as things come to a head and we waste the opportunity to manage change, it will inevitably be forced on us. If we wait until the shit hits the fan, it will be testament to nothing more than our perpetual hubris and stupidity, and we’ll get exactly what we deserve.