"Complacency has a recurring role in the annals of human miscalculation, and nothing breeds complacency like the familiar.
It is still possible for us to re-engage in a way of life not so long ago lost – adhering to an ecological budget, acknowledging codependency with other species, and elevating the shared responsibilities of humanity. To understand climate change not as a new environmental problem, but as the long-running interplay of all environmental problems, is to return to an immutable truth: the only way out is through the door we came in by. It is, for now, still open."
On a day like this, cold, damp, windy, it is easy for me to allow a sense of despair to take over. Here, in my life of luxury, where almost everything runs smoothly and a frustrating meeting at work is the only annoying thing of the day provided I don't look at the news.
My father always complains about me being too impulsive, he detests it when I am empathic - whereas being emphatic is something he could support - because for him empathy is a sign of weakness.
But this evening on the phone, we both despair somewhat, quoting bits of the UN global assessment report on species extinction to each other.
He for the fact that as an agricultural scientist he was involved in setting up what he now terms bad practice - never mind that he retired 30 years ago. Blind, ignorant, stupid, these are some of the words he uses.
Me for feeling helpless, exhausted, at the end of my tether. It takes a lot to turn a blind eye, to pretend that life is good, to feel cheerful about my young grandchild's future.
Sometimes I wonder how long I'll be able to keep it up, this facade, hiding my fears and my sadness about our loss behind distractions and avoiding to look at things squarely. I wonder how others are managing but shhhh, have you noticed how silent people become when you mention the words climate and catastrophe. How adept we all are to duck and act as if we don't understand a thing. And how good we have become to confirm our hopelessness and how quickly we find the words to express that we have given up.
Whereas R, he remains cheerful, he loves pointing out how species can adapt and how clever so many species are in doing so and that - well maybe - humans will figure it out as well.
Despair is not a thing to be avoided at all costs, nor an end state. Neither is grief and the rage that washes over me, especially when I see how we sit back and pretend there's nothing we can do while having tasked our children with the burden of leading the world towards a safe, carbon neutral future.
In a recent podcast, David Wallace-Wells said something similar, that we are an adaptable species that we will innovate and endure. And at the very end of a gruesome but important hour of listening, when asked for something a bit more uplifting, he mentions the sceptics who claim that, well ok, the warming is real but it's not human caused.
And to me, he says, that's so much scarier because if we are seeing all these impacts and we had nothing to with it, we had no way of changing it - I mean, horror show. Thankfully, you know, we're in control.
Listen! We've got this. We have. We will because nothing else matters from now on.
You can listen to the podcast here.