An open let­ter …

On the change that is com­ing

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - MEGAN NICOL REED -

Some say it was the sex that drove them away. And I’ll ad­mit it was a ver­i­ta­ble horn of plenty. But there’s bug­ger all sex in sea­son seven of

Game of Thrones. What there is, how­ever, is a nasty lit­tle para­ble for our times. While the Mother of Dragons has been try­ing to make Jon Snow bend the knee, he has been at pains to con­vince her they have a big­ger bat­tle on their hands than her claim to the iron throne. That the White Walkers are real and they are com­ing. That the very fu­ture of the world is at stake. It’s a non­sense, of course, but you don’t need too wild an imag­i­na­tion to swap out Ge­orge R.R. Martin’s un­earthly en­emy for our own equally in­tan­gi­ble, yet po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing foe. For cli­mate change is real and it is com­ing.

His­tory has shown us to be both fre­quently and wil­fully blind to great dan­ger. While we proudly In­sta­gram pic­tures of our valiant meal-prep­ping ef­forts for the week ahead, and politi­cians prom­ise boot camp for youth of­fend­ers and pun­ish­ment for their par­ents, time is run­ning out. And I can but won­der what we will re­gret if we bury our heads too long in the sand.

I spent last week in a state of high anx­i­ety, re­gret­ful, not of voic­ing my sup­port for Me­tiria Turei, but that I had wo­ven my po­si­tion on her into some­thing as tri­fling as my mid-life wardrobe crisis. Given how things so ter­ri­bly im­ploded for the Greens af­ter my words be­came in­deli­ble; I feared I ap­peared flip­pant, fool­ish. How could I be wor­ry­ing whether I was still able to pull off high heels at the same time as both­er­ing my­self with the plight of ben­e­fi­cia­ries? But is this not how our brains work? Un­less life hangs by a thread and, in that mo­ment, adrenalin ban­ishes all but sur­vival from the mind, we rarely con­cern our­selves with one thing to the ex­clu­sion of ev­ery­thing else.

It is this abil­ity to carry on, to sus­tain mul­ti­ple pre­oc­cu­pa­tions, which has both en­sured hu­man­ity’s con­tin­u­ance un­til now and is pre­sum­ably cul­pa­ble for our fail­ure to pri­ori­tise cli­mate change. Whether it’s a strug­gle to send your child to school with food in their belly, or you’re angst­ing over which pri­vate school to send your child to, it’s hard to care about some­thing you can’t see, about some­thing that doesn’t ap­pear to af­fect you directly. Hover­ing in aisle seven at Count­down the other day, my con­science dic­tated I should buy the en­ergy-s sav­ing light bulb, but I knew how ugly it would look in my lamp, and in the end my sense of aest thetic won out. I was dis­ap­pointed in mys self, but then I know, too, that at this po oint the small changes and de­ci­sions wew make as in­di­vid­u­als are not go­ing g to save the world. I al­ways thought en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists didn’t care enough about peo­ple, now I see they were right all along. For if there’s no planet, then there’s no us. Ev­ery­thing is ren­dered in­signif­i­cant when weighted against the world, and the only thing I can see clear to do is vote for the party in­tend­ing to put cli­mate change front and cen­tre. Which has to, ul­ti­mately, be the most re­gret­table thing about the Greens’ plum­met­ing for­tunes of the past few weeks.

Of course, be­tween Trump and Kim Jong-un we might be blown up be­fore the ice all melts and the wa­ter runs dry any­way. It’s al­most com­fort­ing re­ally.

FOL­LOW­ING ON

Last week drew three types off re­sponse. Those in favour of Me­tiria Turei. From John: “I feel for the woman, and am a bit dis­ap­pointed she hasn’t de­cided to ‘tough it out’. Like­wise, I cringe at the plethora of sanc­ti­mo­nious crap em­a­nat­ing from holier-than-tho arm­chair crit­ics.” Those not. From Robt: “She is a bla­tant fraud­ster, de­serv­ing off be­ing ridiculed and sacked from the coun­try’s high­est power. She screwed the coun­try/tax­payer, and you call her hon­est.” And those with their own midlife wardrobe crisis. From Susan: “We were go­ing out to lunch, a Satur­day long lunch, and on Fri­day I pan­icked about what to wear. Raced into New­mar­ket aand tried on two sim­i­lar leather biker jack­ets. I thought they would be mod­ern and edgy but nei­ther suited me. I looked boxy and sort of des­per­ate … my dis­tressed jeans went back into the wardrobe as well!”

Un­less life hangs by a thread and, in that mo­ment, adrenalin ban­ishes all but sur­vival from the mind, we rarely con­cern ourse elves with one thing to the ex­clu­sion of ev­ery­thing else.

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