Fortnight

A Different Direction

May 6, 2019 Comments Off on Reality Bites journal

Reality Bites

“Many of the worst effects can be prevented by changing the way we grow food, produce energy, deal with climate change and dispose of waste, the report said. That involves concerted action by governments, companies and people… That doesn’t mean becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but balancing meat, vegetables and fruit, and walking and biking more.”

There’s a new report out about climate, extinction and the pace of environmental destruction. It’s a sobering read (at 1000 pages, perhaps the abstract will do for now), and it describes how we are present for the sixth great extinction event in the planet’s history. Not just present, actually; we are the primary cause of climate changes that are affecting all life on Earth.

It’s all over the media this morning, as if just being a Monday isn’t enough to bum us out. I am suspicious, however, of the reporter’s sugar coating in a few of the summaries I’ve read, as if we just need to roll up our sleeves, to get to work on fixing the issues involved and all will be well. It feels hollow now, this assertion that we will change somehow, change everything, when we have shown very little societal inclination to go in that direction to this point.

And, with the news that a million species are in danger of extinction because of human activity and the unintended consequences of our short-sighted actions, you would think that truly meaningful steps would be taken immediately to save what we can. You might expect this to be the only story on national and international news today, as it affects every single one of us. We are part of nature, not separate from it. It surrounds us like water surrounds a fish and there is no way to remove ourselves from it.

Instead of bold leadership, however, we are told to balance our diets better (thank God we can still eat meat though, amirite?), and to ride our bikes more. There is massive cognitive dissonance here, right out in the open, I think. Once in a while, and this seems to be one of those times, it is good to reexamine not only our goals but our motivations as well.

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