An open letter …
On the change that is coming
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.
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.