Saturday, 11 January 2020
So, war is over, for now, and much to the distaste of the left everywhere, Trump’s decision to splat the rat turns out to have been rather a good gambit. With the admission of guilt over the downing of the Ukrainian 737, Iran is back in its bad boy kennel and elsewhere it’s smiles all round. So, for the radical, woke, progressive set it’s back to the climate change business with protests and marches popping up all over the place, not least in defiance at the Australian government’s impotence in the face of fires ‘caused by climate change’… and matches.
But here’s the thing. Lobbying governments to spend money for large causes is, A) often rather pointless, and B) not necessarily any way to get useful things done. A) because governments famously ignore protests, unless an election which they might loses is imminent. B) because there are far better ways of being a ‘climate change activist’ if you want to do more than just be bloody annoying. Seriously, you think that going around shouting at people with whom you disagree is a good example to set your kids?
But, you ask, what can I, an individual, do, if everybody else is doing nothing? True, one individual, acting alone, is largely pointless, you might think. But millions of individuals, acting individually, can effect massive change. It’s how economies work, it’s why your food costs less than at any time in history. It’s how you came to have smartphones. And if you used them more smartly you could educate yourselves and communicate with others, not to badger people who really don’t care about you, but to actually do something. You know, be active in your ism.
For a start, instead of leaping into your 4x4 or a train, bus or taxi and travelling to the capital to wander about aimlessly, shouting inane slogans at buildings whose occupants are not listening; thereafter to retire to a massive corporate coffee shop to congratulate yourself on your impotence, why not stay at home and put the time and money you would otherwise have wasted into something which makes sense. Insulate your loft, sort out your draughty doors and windows and consider whether they way you use energy in your home is efficient.
If everybody did that, we would not only create a near-instant change for good collectively, but individually we might even be a bit better off. Do all those lights need to be on? Can you convert to LEDs? Does the heating need to be on when you’re not there? Can you bear to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees? Use that smartphone to google energy efficiency and, as Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world.
Food production is energy intense. Eat less and get fit and better still, don’t waste it. Just as every time you hit the brakes you are throwing away some of the energy you used to drive too fast, every time you throw away uneaten food you are a part of that massive problem. (Of course, some jobs in mass food production may be lost, but if you buy less and of better quality, welfare standards, etc, that might create employment in more ethical methodology.)
Recycling is also energy intense and often ineffective. This is one reason why they charge you for plastic bags; use fewer and pay a penalty when you forget. But why not, instead of chucking stuff away, consider whether you can re-use it? Do you need quite so many clothes, shoes, gadgets… stuff? Your life (my life, all of us) is full of unnecessary stuff. You want to resist global capitalism and save the planet? Stop feeding it then; two birds, one stone.
They say charity begins at home. In this age of corporate charity where your contributions disappear into the gold-lined pockets of despots and CEOs, this maxim could be the one that saves you. All of that effort expended on massive movements which then become proxies – they always do - for political aims with which you may not agree or understand, could be far better expended on yourself. You really want to save the planet? Physician, heal thyself.