I guess in light of the recent Copanhagen fiasco, it might be time for my first Roddus Rant.
I am a cynic. I don't want to be, but I find it extremely difficult not to be in light of the behaviours of humanity that are filtered through to me via the media. Of course it is almost exclusively from the media, that I get almost all my information about world events, be that be by TV, Internet, newspapers, movies, books and even music. this means that it is all mostly 2nd or 3rd hand information filtered to me through others beliefs, perceptions and agendas.
The "Global Warming" issue is perhaps the biggest issue facing us today, and it comes as no surprise to me of the inability of the Governments of the world to come to any sort of binding agreement to reduce the impact we are having on our environment.
Democratic governments, seem to me, to be pretty short sighted with their policies in relation to the long term well being of the people and their environment. I believe that this is partly due to the short terms available to elected governments before the next election, where they may be removed. This state of affairs results in elected governments looking at mainly short term fixes to keep the votes happy so they will hopefully be re-elected next time. It can certainly looks that way to me here in my country. This, of course, is only my perception, driven by my beliefs and the 3rd hand information I receive from the media, as I am not actively involved in politics and therefor not at the front line, so to speak.
Another problem, I believe, about getting politicians to actually look at long term solutions, is to who their real paymasters are. To run a political party and stand in a democratic election is a very costly exercise and the money needed to do this mainly comes from donations from people/businesses and corporations, supporting their preferred party/candidate. Of course the biggest donations usually come from the richest people/businesses and corporations. I believe that very early on in the democratic process, the rich learnt very quickly that by donating these funds to help get the politician of their choice, who was willing to support legislation to help keep making them more money, elected, was a very beneficial process for them.
So when you think about that and look to Barak Obama as the new saviour of the World, remember who helped pay his way to the presidency and ultimately has a big influence on important issues, such as global warming.
Don't get me wrong, I was as pleased as the next liberal, to see an African-American elected President and I believe he is far Superior and will have a much better impact on history than the last one. Don't expect him to change the world overnight, but it is a small step forward.
My perceptions of a lot of these big corporations, is that they have very little interest in climate change and global warming if it impacts too much on their VERY LARGE PROFITS. Money appears to be God on this planet, more valuable and desirable that human life, which is of course, ludicrous. I believe a lot of the so called experts who deny global warming, are probably in the employ of these corporations.
Now this brings me to US. The little people, the individuals that make up humanity today. Really, in the long run, it all comes down to US. What are WE going to do about it? Are WE prepared to actively change the way we impact the environment? Remember, at the end of the day, it is US, who drive those cars, who use the electricity generated in those coal fueled power stations, who fly all over the world in those big jet planes, who buy all those fancy appliances, whose manufacture and later disposal, create such waste? And these are just a part of our impact on this world. Are we willing to seriously look at the size of the cars we use and how and when we use them. How we use the energy supplied to our houses, the products we buy, the packaging of the stuff we buy, the Quality of the products we buy.
Are WE willing to be the Grass Roots of reducing our terrible impact on this planet, because at the end of the day it is ME and YOU who are polluting OUR world and making it,possibly, into a not very nice place for our children and their children.
This is where I get pretty cynical, I fail to see many of us actively reducing our impact. I hear people say they don't beleive in "Global Warming" and the continue to buy large SUV's and burn all their plastic waste in fire pits and drums, just to give two examples. Another problem I believe, is that people on lower incomes cannot afford the technologies we have now to reduce our environmental impact, they will still buy the cheap incandescent lamp, instead of the more energy efficient CLF, which also lasts longer and so actually saves them money. And the cost of some of these more advanced technologies are just so expensive, that it just takes far too long to make any financial savings, after the initial outlay cost.(i,e solar water heating, can take 8-10 years to get your money back before you start saving and by then you will Probably have maintenance costs to cancel out the benefits). Things like double glazing and better insulation are not an option to low income people, buy the time they pay their living expenses and energy bills(energy bills are morgage interest, fuel, heating costs(wood burner), insurances and Taxes, among other things. I would love to double glaze my windows, re-insulate my house and install solar hot water( I will do all these eventually). Last year I was lucky enough to buy a more economical work vehicle, but ideally, I would have preferred something that was totally clean(but my options are so limited and the purchase costs so high). I am growing my own vegetables, trying to use the cars less(which is very difficult in the country side) and use energy efficient lighting in our house, and recycle all our plastic and cardboard, just as a few examples of what I am doing.
But the truth is I am still leaving a pretty large carbon footprint because of my lifestyle, I live here in my well heated comfortable house, with my Huge CD collection(that I believe I have to have), my pretty big DVD collection, my book collection(although books are really good, they help keep me sort of knowledgeable. The most ignorant comments I hear are quite often from people who don't read very much) and the whole "Global Warming" thing can seen just too overwhelming. Do I have to give up my whole way of living to save the planet? I guess a big part of me believes this and a part of me is defiantly unwilling to do so. This is something I will seriously look at over the next year.
My cynical side believes that humanity as a whole is too stupid to actually deal with the "Global Warming" issue, and many people are in denial about it and many others are just as unwilling to even be bothered to adjust their life styles. The truth, as I see it, is that with our current level of living in the West alone will be too much for the environment to take for too much longer, but with huge populations like China and India also quickly bringing their populations up to our level of comfort, things will deteriorate much quicker. We are cutting our own throat.
I believe that in the past, the earths climate has experienced many major climate shifts (i.e Ice ages for instance) and some form of global warming has happened before as part of natural cycles, and there is still much that is unknown about what will happen with this current situation. but to deny that the uncontrolled pumping of trillions of tons of additional substances into our well balanced atmosphere won't have some sort of adverse affect on the climate is just pure insanity. It doesn't take a PHD to see the logic that pumping that much extra stuff into our atmosphere will make a difference to our climate that is unavoidable, what the results will really be only the future will tell.
Sometimes people need a really huge lifeshock to wake them up to the destruction and misery they are causing in their own lives, and even then some don't get it. Maybe Humanity as a whole, also needs a very BIG lifeshock to wake up and really step forward in our evolution to a better way of existing on this earth. Maybe it is gonna take the death of billions of people and the total destruction of civilisation as we know it to wake us up. I am sure humanity would survive this, but will they learn?