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Cutting through the climate change debate

The discussion of climate change seems to be going the same way as the discussion of sustainability. The arguments are cherry-picked to provide answers of confusion, because as a society, we wish to be confused about the environment issue so we can procrastinate and hang on to the lifestyle we have always known.

We did not want to notice that for sustainability to occur in Western societies it was necessary that the economic was not as heavily subscribed to as the environmental and social. Society-wide, this is still not accepted in that it is not practised.

Climate change, though an important part of the environment debate, has been examined separately from the rest of the environment crisis. If it was examined in whole or holistically it would have been noticed even without the aid of science, that there are major threats to both soil and water so why wouldn’t there be potential for air to be affected also, especially as India and China with almost half the world’s population industrialise, and each person wants a car?

Whether the planet is warming or freezing, or whether climate change is anthropomorphically caused is not the point. The point is there are obvious threats to all three bases of life, and what are we going to do about it, other than change the tap washers and desperately lunge toward renewable energy. With renewable energy, we don’t want to know that the apparatus for collecting the ‘free’ energy is not renewable, is not free!

The suggested path for humanity is not to set itself up with a lifestyle beyond nature; beyond the other animals, but to merge with nature by endeavouring to require minimal support from it for one’s living. In other words, to move toward autonomy of resourcing rather than remaining helplessly dependent on it. It is in immersing oneself completely in nature that there is potential for transcending it. The journey of autonomy also requires looking more clearly at one’s own nature and noticing how many abilities that are of aid to the whole have been covered by a superficial civilized dross that only enables superficial relationship with other people displaying the same dross.

Civilization, the organising facility by which technologies are maximised, has been the pretence that nature is imperfect and requires human help to perfect. It has been a 10,000 year journey to remember one does not transcend nature by attempting to directly live apart from it. May the children be barefoot in their Environmental Science classes!

If the issues of sustainability and climate change are to drop out of discussion, they could do so because discussion has focused on the major issue of the environment crisis; the elephant in the room that everyone can see but is unwilling to look at: how to organise nationally to be content with the simpler living that accompanies steady but unrelenting movement away from technology dependence.

Geoff Dawe, Uki


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