|Submerged footpath at West Hendon Playing Fields last weekend|
Chatting in the crowd we speculated why with Hurricane Sandy, the floods in the UK, harvest failures in the US, more people were not concerned enough to come out. We joked that perhaps we needed the Thames Barrier to fail and Westminster to flood, before MPs took notice. After all it was only when the stench of the Thames got severe enough to penetrate the Palace of Westminster that action was taken to build a proper sewage system.
However, also on Saturday, Anne Karpf's article in the Guardian LINK reviewed the recently published Engaging with Climate Change, Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives LINK .
Confessing to being a 'Climate-Change Ignorer' she says despite not being a sceptic she 'tunes out' when she hears apocalyptic warnings about global warming:
The fuse that trips the while circuit is a sense of helplessness. Whatever steps I take to counter global warming, however well-intentioned my brief bursts of zeal, they invariably end up feeling like like too little, too late. The mismatch between the extremely dangerous state of the earth and my own feeble endeavours seems mockingly large.She goes on to describe some of the coping mechanisms described in the book, including blame-shifting, technoptimism, hedonistic fatalism and dark optimism. It is argued, against the view of my colleague Brian Orr, that apocalyptic warnings are counter productive:
As Ed Miliband has observed, Martin Luther King never inspired millions by saying 'I have a nightmare'.I would argue that the sense of helplessness is caused by the failure of politicians, governments and the UN, to face the crisis head on. It is as if, faced with the Nazi menace in the second war, the government had, rather than mobilise troops and the economy and pour money into production and research, instead asked everyone just to perform the home front task of digging for victory. Of course people would have felt helpless as German troops massed at the channel and bombs fell on our cities. Politicians now are in the equivalent position of those who ignored or down-played the rise of Nazism for fearing of frightening the people.
Here in Brent, in our own small way, following the briefing for councillors and the public, a paper has been produced outlining the extent of the crisis and some ideas for moving forward. A copy is available by clicking the link below:
Another dimension is making a link between the current economic crisis and climate change and on Sunday the following resolution from Green Left was passed by an overwhelming majority at the AGM of the Coalition of Resistance:
This conference notes that the current economic crisis is closely linked to a global ecological crisis particularly involving human caused climate change,. Neither crisis, in so far as they can be separated, is soluble under capitalist socio-economic arrangements. Technological fixes and geo-engineering enacted under capitalism can only be short term at best, since ecologically damaging forms of consumption and production are engendered and maintained by capitalism.We therefore call on the coalition of resistance to recognise this publicly and include combating climate change in its campaigning agendas.