I write about climate change every day, and today I actually started laughing when I was making this post. Laughing like a deranged maniac. Because we are so doomed. Reality hit hard for me today, and it was just stone cold numbers that paint a vivid picture of where we are headed.
We are a culture that has grown weary of sky-is-falling, doomsday, Nostradamus, rapture end-of-the-world predictions that haven’t come true, and climate scientists have been warning us about global warming since we can remember and yet we are still here and we are (mostly) fine, maybe a little sick from eating terrible food and Twitter.
After a full year researching alternatives and things individuals can do to lessen their footprint as fulltime employment, writing about silly things like “individual responsibility”, you realize how necessary government intervention is, and how impossible the situation is, and how bad things are about to get for us. High emissions and climate change is as fully a full blown example of tragedy of the commons as you can get.
I have completely offset my own footprint for 2012 and 2013, and will continue to do so. Whenever people talk to me about my job, offsetting in general or my personal stance on it, I frequently hear that offsetting is a “license to emit” – which is a pretty weird way to think about it (because NOT offsetting and doing nothing is NOT a “license to emit” somehow?). The sky is, in fact, falling and at least offsetting is something, especially when it is tied to local social programs and institutions. There is more than one benefactor.
But so much is wrong it is hard to know where to start. Like how people on the left want to point the finger at the people on the right to mock these “climate deniers” when more required of them than “liking” something on Facebook or doing an ok job of sorting the recycling. There has to be more than belief in a particular ideology if we ever wanted to move forward. Now, more than ever, I believe that it is within our grasp to make the planet better. We have the tools. We are smarter, and even as I’m saying this I know it is pointless.
Which is of course is me pointing the finger at myself. Knowing what I know, I still take a little longer in the shower than I should. I still prefer the old light bulbs because my eyes think the newer bulbs are too harsh. I drove a van between Halifax and Vancouver and back (and do so more frequently than is sane really). I am wasteful. I am no saint.
Perhaps a youth spent in church taught me that it is worse for sinners who are aware of their sinning but commit the sin anyway. Instead of going to hell, we are turning the earth into a hellscape.