Friday, 30 December 2016

A Grandma's Lament

 One of the most powerful statements I've read in the last few years is one that I can no longer remember the source. The sentiment, however, will stay with me for the rest of my life. It went something along the lines of 'Grandma, when you learnt about climate change, what did you do to help?'

And that simple statement, a question from a child to its grandparent has changed the way I look at the world, my day to day actions and my hopes for the future. I'd like to be able to look straight into the eyes of my grandchildren (and great-grandchildren when they come) and be able to tell them with honesty and demonstrable results how I responded to the changing environment in which we live and what I did to try to reduce climate change and lessen my impact on the world.

I've always believed that we do not own the earth, but that we are its guardians for future generations. I've been cross at my parents' generation and earlier generations for willfully damaging the earth beyond recognition in some places, but also recognise that much of that damage was not understood and so was done without the knowledge of the long-lasting impact of their actions. But we don't have the luxury of those excuses now, we know more, our scientists are discovering more and more about the impact that we, as humans, are having on the planet and surely, we have an obligation to try to preserve this beautiful world for those that come after us.

Or perhaps not, perhaps it doesn't matter whether our children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren and beyond suffer from the results of our actions, perhaps we should just do whatever we like and not worry about how it will impact the planet and in turn, those who inhabit it. Perhaps we, like so many animals that have become extinct by our actions, will also suffer the same the fate and perhaps that doesn't matter. Perhaps.

Maybe all that matters is that we are comfortable here and now, that our bank accounts are filled with money, that our homes are filled with the latest gadgets, that the profit levels of huge conglomerates continue to rise and maybe it's more important to ensure that the richest folks continue to get richer. Maybe.

I don't usually discuss politics on this blog, anyone who follows me on social media or knows me in person will be aware that I do have political views, that I express them quietly and sometimes loudly, but I keep them away from this blog as it is about our life on this little smallholding. But sometimes I become so enraged by the actions of our politicians (of all political parties) that I just need to vent. And usually when that happens I write a long ranting blog and read it through, I sort out my own thoughts and then work out what actions I can take to do what I feel is right for the situation. Then I delete the post before it is published, so that my furious thoughts are not seen by the readers of this blog.

But I fear that the 'no politics' policy that I decided for myself has just ended. I am furious and saddened by the direction that our politicians appear to be taking.

It seems to me, a relatively uninformed and average bod, that on one hand the governments of the world have come together to agree that some things need to be done to protect our planet for future generations and on the other hand, many of those leaders are actively ignoring and denying the very existence of the problems. 

Will denying the issues make them go away? 
Will saying that evidence is questionable make the witnessed patterns of change in the weather stop? 
Will putting profits for the few before the preservation of our planet make the world a richer place for everyone in the long run?

I feel powerless to stop the politicians reversing the sensible albeit small steps that we, as a species, have started to make to stop the damage being done, but I can continue to take action in the little corner of the world of which I am a guardian and hope that enough of us take similar actions.

I hope that enough of us will think about how we will respond to the next generations when they ask us 'What did you do to stop climate change? What did you do to protect this planet? What did you do?'.

My wish for 2017 and beyond is that enough of us will be able to look the future in the eye and say 'I did something'.


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