The will to act

The reality of us human beings destroying our world on a terrifying speed and scale is escaping me.

I don’t talk about it much or if I do it is like I would of a good TV series, with passion but somewhat detached. Like anything on TV, it is removed from me and so has nothing to do with me. I just don’t get it.

Oh! I get it intellectually, yes, but it doesn’t make any difference.

I am not willing to make radical changes to the way I live, changes that I fear might make me less than what I am, or make me have less than what I have…I fill my home with things, some useful, some that might be useful at some point in the future, some that were useful in the past, and then I can’t move in my home, let alone clean it…but no thanks, don’t ask me to change my life!

When I first started writing this I was saying “we”, but it didn’t work. I was again far too removed from any responsibilities and it was useless. Then I chose to use “I” instead and  I started seeing things differently. And what I see right now isn’t very pretty: I don’t really care about others, about what happens to others, as long as I am OK.

Is this the same to some extent for all of us? Could it be that this is what is present for all of us such that we can’t get that we’re doomed if we, with our governments don’t act committedly on a planet scale?

You see, right now, I am listening to some jazz on you tube as I am writing this, the pale winter sun shines through the window and floods my room gently, life is sweet. But how long for?

All has been said already. Scientists have said it, common sense has been saying it, the voice in my head is saying  it too….and yet I am not moving, our governments are not moving either, or not moving at the necessary speed. With velocity.

I compost my kitchen waste, separate my rubbish in various bins, I have solar panels for our hot water, I don’t use pesticides or any other chemicals on our land, but is it enough?

It was the same when my dad died of cancer. He had been smoking His “gauloises” all his life and his end was dreadful. But it didn’t make me stop smoking. Not then.

What is the trigger that is going to make me, us, wake up, get up, and be counted to turn around the course of destruction of our planet? Where do I start?

Last night I was talking to one of my students, a plumber and family man, about the “yellow jackets”. He was furious with them for protesting about the taxes. His opinion was that  there are jobs out there for everyone but people don’t want “those” jobs. He was also saying that 35 hours/week aren’t enough and we should work 40 to shift the load and take home more money.

Two other students had been taking part in the protests and were glad they did. One of them, an entrepreneur, single dad with two teenagers, was delighted to have met some of the people who live in his area, people from all walks of life, who he had no idea about because he leaves home at 6am every day and is not home until 7pm. At the weekend he is too knackered to do anything. During the lesson he was sharing that he had had enough of his working life. He is making some money but he has no time for his family and friends, and the responsibilities and worries are wearing him down.

What transpired from talking to these 3 students are two things: the first one is that getting together to make things happen works! « The yellow jackets » have made the government listen and Macron’s speech was impressive.

The second thing is that while we keep busy with our personal lives  trying to make ends meet, the world out there is being destroyed and going to be no more!

« Le Monde » newspaper writes « Si on accepte vraiment que le changement climatique représente une menace existentielle pour notre monde, on doit agir, quelle que soit la pression des lobbyistes. »

Which translates : If we really get/accept that this climate change represents an existential threat for our world, we must act, whatever the lobbyists’ pressure.

« La Tribune » newspaper writes. « Du 2 au 14 décembre, les dirigeants du monde entier se retrouvent à Katowice en Pologne pour assister à la conférence des Nations unies sur le changement climatique, la COP24. Ils doivent discuter de l’avancement de l’Accord de Paris et achever d’adopter les directives d’application de sa mise en œuvre. Les preuves scientifiques démontrant la réalité du changement climatique ne manquent pas, pas plus que le savoir, les compétences, et les ressources pour surmonter cette menace existentielle. Il n’y a qu’une chose qui nous ralentit : la volonté d’agir. »

Which translate :From December 2nd to 14th, world leaders gather in Katowice, Poland, to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the COP24. They must discuss the progress of the Paris Agreement and complete the implementation guidelines in order to start implementing it. The scientific evidence for the reality of climate change is not lacking, nor is the knowledge, skills, and resources to overcome this existential threat. There is only one thing that slows us down: the will to act.  »

And this is true for all of us…..for how long?

2 réflexions sur “The will to act

  1. Nick

    My daily commute across Waterloo Bridge has been graced for the last few days by many people who found the will to act through Extinction Rebellion. Twice a day I walked through the encampment, with its trees, skateboard ramp, sound stage, food tent etc. and got a very powerful sense of how it has provided a really accessible focus for people of all ages to switch from being passive and resigned to active and ‘doing something about it’. On Thursday evening when I passed through, there was a couple of plucky older women of our mum’s war child generation at the PA leading a sing-along to people of all ages sitting in the road. There is very sophisticated, but simple method behind this – here the co-founders explain the power of non-violent direct action in an absolute masterclass of inspiring recruitment/enrolment. and which not a huge amount of people have actually seen, but the peaceful-but-powerful ethos was clearly present on the street, and none of the thousands of other commuters walking through had a bad thing to say either.


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