Michael McDonald, Echo editor, 1995–2010
While Mother Nature writes across the sky in letters of flame ‘I told you so’, many of our so-called leaders remain in denial about the reality of the climate crisis.
It’s been a long time coming, but the wake-up call about the threat of global warming and rising sea levels was even on Richard Nixon’s desk in the form of a memo as far back as 1969. ‘Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter,’ wrote Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the memo.
Yet many of our leaders prefer to say goodbye to the facts. In some cases the denial is about a rigid mindset; in others, a pandering to vested interests in the fossil-fuel industries, which is worthy of becoming a criminal act.
The wrong mindset will not make the crisis go away. It’s as inevitable as death, and we must all adapt to that.
It’s time to find some coping strategies. These include doing our bit to reduce and re-use, taking to the streets to make a point (hopefully in an amusing way such as that of the Knitting Nannas or XR’s performance of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive in Melbourne) and seeking support among like-minded people if needed. I suppose one good thing about the climate crisis is that it gives everybody a worthy cause to work towards.
Wishful thinking and resignation are also coping strategies but little will come of them I’m afraid, much like Donald Trump’s hopes and prayers following any outbreak of gun violence.
Wild Open (facebook.com/wildopen.net) is one locally based project that takes its inspiration from the natural world. It presents pathways into understanding our vital connection to the Earth – despite our hubris, we are not creatures apart from the animals.
The nature that threatens is also the nature that could save us. ‘Rewilding’ our lives helps us to understand where our psychological wellbeing – and our hope for a livable future – must spring from.
As a certified codger (noun: an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric) I have had decades of our leaders’ political follies and repeatedly thrown up my hands in despair. However, there is a seed of hope in the younger generation, inspired by the likes of Greta Thunberg, and their own understanding of the urgency of climate action.
Before I die I’d be happy to see them overthrow the old ways of doing business. To see with Thunberg the end of the ‘fairytales of eternal economic growth’ and a return to valuing our lifeboat Planet Earth above all else.