08 November 2017

Many years ago - and this is important because even back then we thought things were bad but little did we know - a friend said to me, I give up. I don't believe we are able to handle climate change. We are too stupid, to selfish, too comfortable.
Some days I know that this must be true.  That we are programmed for destruction of our habitat. It fits my general mood. Like the next best climate change denier, I bury my head in the sand. But instead of rubbish arguments based on wishful thinking and outright lies I moan about our failures and impending losses. I have run out of ideas and for a moment while watching the young and healthy masses at last Saturday's climate march (25,000), all those eager people with their dreadlocks and vegan snacks, their inventive signs and colourful flags, the salsa drummers and the pretty young women shaking their long shiny curls, I had to swallow the derisive comments waiting to fly out of my cynical heart.  And then I felt ashamed.
Meanwhile, R feels far more confident. Humans adapt, he tells me, the always have. You are just scared of change. Humans will tolerate a lot and then reach a tipping point and start acting.
I am not so sure.

Anyway, our city is currently hosting COP23, the UN climate change conference and there is a low humming buzz. But people hold back, we are cool. Next week, Leonardo is due to come, we shall see how the masses react. For a few hours each day, we follow a session of two, online. Everybody is very polite.

I met her on Saturday, the Marshall Islands poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, she stood right in front of me and I could see how tired she was. I was just one of too many who shook her hand. I am glad we did not have a chance to speak. What should I say, sorry your islands are disappearing because we burn massive amounts of fossil fuel and love our cars and cheap flights? So sad your baby daughter won't have a homeland?


  1. And what will we say to our grandchildren?

  2. I'm with you. I have no confidence that we will act in time, it's already too late. for all our big brains and the things we build we are, sadly, pretty stupid. even dogs don't shit where they eat. we have poisoned our air, our water, our food all for money. and the current administration is undoing all the regulations that helped clean up the mess we made, getting rid of all the scientists and learned folks. one idiot even claimed that the air is too clean for good health. I've been convinced for a couple of decades now that human beings will be one of the least successful life forms this planet has produced in terms of how long we exist.

  3. I believe we won't take any necessary action, and it's already getting to the tipping point of being too late. We humans have over-populated the planet, and the things being done to make life doable for all is endlessly destructive. Did I learn from your blog about "Predatory Delay"-- It's a interesting concept that no matter how much we know about our destructive behaviors, there will always be postponement of any real action.

  4. Sometimes I think - there is hope. When trump is gone and the good majority is in, we, and that means especially those young that you speak of, will come out fighting hard and influence, inspire the rest of the world. And grasp hands and learn from what others are doing right now, who don't have to labor under the shadow of a maniac. And then other times....I think it is too late and I wonder why people keep having babies. That's bad. So I recycle even the tiniest bit of plastic and hope. It's nowhere near enough.

  5. It's all right for us - but we leave a disintegrating world for our grandchildren. They shouldn't forgive us for that.

  6. Unfortunately I share your cynicism on this issue, but hopefully we'll be proved wrong!

  7. Don't know where I am coming from exactly, but I agree with R. It must have something to do with a movie I just saw, "The Man Who Knew Infinity" and the young people like Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (I may not have known of her without your introduction some time ago and may not have felt her loving and fierce presence, and her tiredness and vulnerability, as seen in your encounter with her) and those young people at the climate march who carry the hope for the future and the people I know who are in the 90s and have seen it all, alternating darkness and light. Then there's the vision of Robinson Jeffers who died in 1962:

    “Nature knows that people are a tide that swells and in time will ebb, and all their works dissolve ... As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves. We must unhumanize our views a little and become confident as the rock and ocean that we are made from.”

    For some reason, this song comes to mind:


    "... Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel
    Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies ..."

    "Dear Matafele Peinem,

    You are eyes heavy with drowsy weight

    So just close those eyes, baby

    And sleep in peace because

    We won't let you down

    You'll see" (Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner)

  8. I love this video so much. Sometimes I despair, and think it is too late. My hope is that it is a matter of degree, and if we fight, fight, fight for the earth she will still support our lives in the future. Even if she might be worse for wear. What else can we do, but fight for a future for our grandchildren and beyond? What is the alternative?

  9. This is the link to the lifestream from the counter-trump US delegation - representing the climate change priorities of several thousand US cities, states, tribes and businesses: https://www.wearestillin.com/COP23

    1. Thanks so much for the link, Sabine.

  10. I persist in believing we must continue our efforts to counter the destructive actions currently occurring with this U.S. Administration. Our Calif. Gov. Brown meeting along with all those others at least are demonstrating some officials are doing what they can to address these concerns. Perhaps science in the future will find some saving actions that can be taken which are not known today.

  11. Trying to stay hopeful and persist --

  12. My hunch lies in your camp (we're effed). I'm not big on kids, and definitely don't plan on having any of my own, but I can't shake the fear and anguish, (like Ms. Moon said), of facing the children when there are no elephants, or o-rangs, or polar bears, or wild salmon, or black rhinos, or tigers, or clean water, or fresh air, or wild, open spaces, and having to explain why we couldn't/wouldn't do enough to save them.

  13. I share your roller-coaster emotions, Sabine. But the last year (since 45's election) has been particularly brutal, here in the US. I see these old, white men in power who are already rich beyond imagination still wanting to make a few more billions before they all die, going the way of the dinosaurs. In the meantime, the truths of science and common sense get twisted in unbelievable ways. Just this past week, TRex announced that he wanted to severely cut back protections on several national parks - undoubtedly to give land away to his cronies, for drilling, fracking, or who knows what other abominable industry. Money and power seems all they care about... still, I grow my own food, monitor our solar energy system, bring my reusable cups and plates and utensils to town and do what is under my personal control. Joanna Macy has written about the despair of the activist and how to reconnect with that inner, hopeful spirit to carry on. I think I'll reread her books.