“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”- Charles Darwin
Some will adapt, many will not, because to adapt, you must see the change coming!
I overheard this on the train this morning. “A white Christmas in Australia. That’s funny! (laughter heard)”. My thoughts at the time were “That is bloody hilarious love, but that is climate change for you, and you still have no idea what is coming down the line.”
It was as if climate change was a forgone conclusion, with no action required. Just go for the ride, so to speak. Well, I suppose in a way it is. With 2 degrees of warming already locked in and tipping points rapidly approaching, the train is unequivocally heading towards the end of the tracks at a runaway velocity with no-one at the brake lever to slow it down. Heads up their arses or in the sand.
After a record spell of drought in many parts of Australia, we now have floods and torrential rains, and even snow in the high country only one week before Christmas Day in the south eastern part of the country. Now snow in December may seem normal to those readers in the northern hemisphere, but it is far from a normal climactic pattern here south of the equator in Summer no less. We should be dressing shorts and sandals, having barbecues every weekend! I have never seen it so cold here in summer. To put it in perspective, this time last year we were swimming every day, eating tomatoes, and having fun in the sun. Not so this year. All winter crops have gone a month or two longer than normal, spring planting was delayed due to the colder start to spring. With yesterday being summer solstice here in the south, the climate is anything but normal or summer like.
The seasons have been progressively moving out of kilter by a few months. This article in The Age newspaper titled “Facing the hard local realities of a warming world“, really struck home with me, and confirmed what I have been observing all around me. Adapt or not, that is the question.
In relation to this issue, I feel helpless. I can see the changes and am trying to do something constructive about it, but most around me don’t give a shit, nor look like they have the same sense of urgency about them as I do. Maybe I am either ahead of my time, or just plain wacko? As for the UN climate talks, it looked like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Too little, too late, or in my own words I liken it to pissing into the wind. Do it long enough and some will splash back on your legs! Guess what folks, it is now splashing back and we are having a lot of trouble stopping the flow.
Waiting for governments to act doesn’t work. Waiting for corporations to change doesn’t work and neither does waiting for ‘the market’ to miraculously save us.
What hope do we have, when all I see is hopelessness and inaction?
Well, I will tell you what gives me hope. People who read this unusual blog give me hope because I realise that you are here because you want to learn how to make simple changes to your lives, and of course you put up with my ramblings. If I also make some kind of sense, then I will take that as a bonus!
I gain hope when new members join our local sustainable living group, so that they can learn survival skills and want to help educate others. My children give me hope, because I know that they understand that it will be them who have to continue the work long after I am gone. After all, they are the generation to come that I talk so often about.
Hope comes from people like you and I, who make this issue personal to our friends and family, who then take actions themselves. We are all influential in our own special way. What we do and say matters to them. Making it personal is a powerful motivator.
We just have to influence faster. Spread the message of hope and the message that we can change behaviours for the better before tipping point happen. Tell friends and family about the great personal sustainable living actions that you have taken, even if you don’t think it is important in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, your actions are important to you and to them.
Together we can lower greenhouse gas emissions below 350 part per million, where it should be. This is the challenge I put to you, my readers. Act now, tell others about the solutions, and together we can adapt not to the effects of catastrophic climate change, but to a better way of living.
Where i live we have to stop talking about global warming and start to talk about climate change, after ten years of drought, followed by floods and low temperatures they all say, so this is global warming! Bring it on! I dont know how to get people talking about it, was easier in a drought, but in the meantime keep on keeping on and it may not be enough but people do notice the difference and as I get older I think that is the only difference I can make.
A couple of days ago while in a shop I caught some pillock on talk radio pontificating on the benefits of CO2, how climate had changed in the past and will in the future and it’s all hunky dory. I’ve got to say I scared the hell out of the poor shop assistant when I exploded. Worst of it was I don’t have a mobile phone and the program had finished by the time I got home. I wanted to ask that clown how many humans he thought got through the last major climate change.
I will preface this by saying I do believe in climate change, so don’t shoot me down!
It has snowed at christmas here in the past – I remember being in Jindabyne about 20 years ago & having a white christmas. And locals there said it wasn’t a rare thing.
I am with you, Gavin. I hear you. I know how you feel. We can only do what we can to build resilience in our own communities… to me, it goes beyond the climate changes, there is the transition through post peak-oil, and signs of collapse of the economic paradigm our society is based upon. Crap is going to happen, and maybe it will all work out for the best in the end. But hard times are within our lifetime. Geez, I am all doom & gloom, aren’t I?!
My family is working as much as we can on food security, acquiring equipment, learning skills and gaining knowledge, prepping for more emergency situations, and general austerity! It may seem totally crazy and out there to some, but it could be the difference to my family surviving, so why shouldn’t I do it?
As for the weather, it has always been unpredictable and powerful, yet humans/ society have taken upon ourselves to try to master it, building life based around how we think the weather should be! Let’s see how that works out for us!!
Linda Woodrow says
Hi Gavin, there is the most beautiful, hopeful article by Rebecca Solnit in the Huffington Post today called Iceberg Economies and Shadow Selves: Further Adventures in the Territories of Hope. It changed the really negative post I had drafted for today into something much more in tune with what I really think.
Diane at Patchwork Economics says
I, like Dixibelle, am preparing for a life that is going to be harsher from every angle.
I know that the realities of climactic and economic change are going to bite – bite soon and bite hard.
Trouble is, the corporate world thinks in terms of next quarter profits and the government does whatever the corporate world tells them to do.
So, I do what I can and try to educate friends and family without sounding TOO ‘out there’.
I feel exactly as you do. On one side I am scared and anxious that change is not happening fast enough, that most people don’t “get it” and that the government is being more of a hindrance than a help. On the other side we have no choice but to be optimistic and hopeful that change will come! I have just read through several of your posts about gardening and local eating and I am so inspired! I live in Canada (Alberta) so we have a shorter growing season, but I am going to do my research and get some gardens growing this spring.
Happy new year!