As climate negotiations carry on, Naomi Klein forcefully makes the unwelcome point that everything must change – and very fast.
I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my ‘elite’ frequent flyer status.
A great many of us engage in this kind of climate change denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or we look but then turn it into a joke, which is another way of looking away. Or we look but tell ourselves we are too busy to care about something so distant and abstract – even though we saw the water in the subways in New York City, and the people on their rooftops in New Orleans – and this too is a way of looking away.
We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. And we don’t have to do anything to bring about this future. All we have to do is nothing. Just continue to do what we are doing now, whether it’s counting on a techno-fix or tending to our gardens or telling ourselves we’re unfortunately too busy to deal with it…
*Statistics correct at time of original publication of Ministers Reference Book Commonwealth 2015.
Author of `This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate’