Last Thursday night I watched the David Attenborough documentary ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ and then later on BBC Four a docu-report on BBC called ‘The Age Of Stupid’. They made for very sobering and at times very distressing and depressing viewing.
The climate change argument is now long over. Those who deny it’s a fact are either deluded or have a vested interest and don’t want to acknowledge the facts. We are destroying our planet simple as that, and at a frightening rate too!
Is it good enough that this destruction will probably not happen in our generation’s lifetime and does that mean we can ignore what’s happening?
As far as I can see there is very little we can do to stop the inevitable happening. The level of emissions now escaping into the atmosphere means that unless we address it now it will be too late in 10 or 20 years’ time. Our children and especially our grandchildren will be living in a world that will be unsustainable on several levels.
But people have to live, and the way our lives are structured means that we are all guilty. I am no different. I have to travel to work in Tullamore from Roscommon town four days a week. The only way I can get there is by car. There is no suitable public transport to get me there early in the morning. I recently changed my car and sought advice from several people on what to buy. When I told them that I was doing a lot of mileage every single one of them advised me to buy a diesel car. That’s also allowing for an inevitable sharp rise in diesel prices as carbon taxes kick in later in the year. There are hundreds of thousands of people like me here in Ireland never mind in other countries.
Then we have our farming industry which is the backbone of rural Ireland. Climate change activists want people to cut down on red meat and dairy products. What would these people advise farmers to do if they are not working the land? Everyone has to work in order to feed their families.
But the dilemma a lot of us face here in Ireland pales into insignificance with the situation in the three biggest economies in the world. The US economy is built on the use of oil and Donald Trump has pulled his country out of the Paris Accord on climate change. In India the levels of pollution there now are four times what they were ten years ago. In China they are building one new power plant every week to deal with growing energy needs. Just think about that for a minute.
There are very laudable efforts being made here in Ireland with regard to recycling and the use of plastics, and plans to introduce carbon taxes to help with the situation but when the likes of the USA and China are ignoring this crisis the planet is doomed, and that’s not an exaggeration.
If the BBC programmes last Thursday night were even 50% accurate then it is only a matter of decades before the situation spirals out of control.
So what will stop this kamikaze race to the bottom? According to both documentaries the only thing that will work are massive public protests all over the world. It is the only thing that that politicians take any notice of.
Have I got any solutions? I don’t, is the simple answer. I’ll be dead and gone before the real trouble starts. When every country in the world is suffering from extensive flooding, when storms are killing hundreds of thousands of people every year and when society breaks down because wars are being fought over access to clean drinking water. That’s when climate change will affect everyone.
This will be the first generation in the history of time that we will be handing over a world that is a much poorer and more damaged than the generation before. It’s hardly a great legacy to hand on to our children.
At the end of the docu-report ‘The Age Of Stupid’ the narrator Pete Postlethwaite said: “With all our intelligence and sophistication, the incredible thing is that we are committing suicide and we are doing it knowingly too”.