Sea change

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

A good decade ago, I edited an ex­tended “green” fea­ture. It in­volved a lot of im­ages of the type we’ve be­come al­most im­mune to now. Sad po­lar bears on bro­ken pieces of ice. Dead sea birds, the plas­tic con­tents of their stom­achs be­side them in a hor­ri­ble lit­tle heap.

My bosses at the time were con­cerned – “too neg­a­tive!” they said and they re­quested a short tip next to each im­age out­lin­ing “What You Can Do”.

We know most of that stuff now: take the bus, dodge the sin­gle-use plas­tic, eat less meat, switch off the light in the hall. Most of us have even started do­ing these things, some­times. But I think we’re also los­ing faith in some of that ad­vice. It can be hard to see that trusty hes­sian su­per­mar­ket bag as the so­lu­tion to melt­ing ice­caps, hur­ri­canes and toxic oceans lap­ping at our wa­ter­front prop­erty doorsteps.

It’s gov­ern­ments and big busi­ness who can save the world now. Our vote prob­a­bly mat­ters more than our re­cy­cling habits. (But please re­cy­cle any­way!)

I know this is grim sub­ject mat­ter of a Sun­day morn. And I don’t want it to take the shine off the Shoe of the Week or Jor­dan’s de­li­cious Fei­joa and Mo­lasses cake. Be­cause this is life in the West as we know it in 2018. It’s the best of times with the un­der­ly­ing threat of the worst of times. An all-you­can-eat buf­fet of plea­sures and con­ve­niences, with na­ture’s im­pend­ing re­venge. What can we do but roll with it?

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