11 April 2021

As of today, no frosty nights and the two days of snow storms have not fazed the fruit trees! 

The tiny apricots are growing, the greengage and mirabelle plum trees are still flowering with abandon, the rhubarb has shot up and the borders are a colourful tulip, forget-me-knot and grape hyacinth wonderland. The method of frost protection Ellen suggested (spraying the trees with water) is used here by the big commercial orchards and I briefly wondered whether we should get out the sprinkler. I also contemplated the heat methods used by the vine growers in France, which are basically huge candles lit between the rows.

But in the end, we have been lucky and keep our fingers crossed for the next couple of nights and then we should be all clear.

It's a year now since I stopped going to work every day, a year since I have been inside a super market, a restaurant, or anywhere indoors in one room with people. Not a single coffee-to-go cup or take-out sandwich. Not a single trip anywhere except for necessary appointments. Seriously, I don't miss any of it. We have developed ways and means to stay in touch with friends and family and that's the only aspect I will welcome back.

I think the pandemic invites me to take stock. It opens up the opportunity for me to carefully sift through our way of life, piece by piece - and to consider what can go and what we will need in the future. I am making plans. My physical energy is limited and I have found this to be a bonus, strange as it may seem. I have not grown tired of cycling along the same river, through the same forest, around the same suburb.

While many just think about how they want to get back to what was their (seemingly) "normal" before the pandemic, and other are still pretending that nothing really is different, I am convinced that we are at a crossroads in our coexistence with other creatures, and I am certain that most of us feel like that, consciously or unconsciously, in fully formed thoughts or vague notions. And I mean our way of inhabiting this earth as living beings and the way we are sharing it with each other.

This pandemic will not be the last, there will be more in the future. Zoonoses are diseases that jump from animals to humans and some animals carry viruses to which we are not immune. Some of the reasons why this happens are deforestation and factory farming. Both are man-made. The future pandemics will be man-made. There is much to think about, much to get involved in.

I can already hear the whispers and shouts about how we humans cannot help ourselves, how we are going to hell anyway because we are unable to do anything about anything anyway and so on. We have been fed this line of doomsday thinking with climate change. And to an extent, I agree. But I am also deeply hopeful and for that, I don't need all of humanity to understand what is going on and what needs to be done. As with herd immunity, all it takes is a certain percentage, let the rest continue to moan and blame human inabilities. 

It's a handy narrative, doomism, it goes hand in hand with science denial, as explained here:


I realise, too, how so much easier this is, if I give up/in, at least I can get on with my comfortable life for the next decade or so before I kick the bucket. And whenever I have a sleepless night about my grandchild's future, I can pull out the handy arguments about humanity being unable and that it's all downhill anyway and that there is nothing I can do.

This from a recent interview with climatologist Michael Mann (to read all of it click here):

Any time you are told a problem is your fault because you are not behaving responsibly, there is a good chance that you are being deflected from systemic solutions and policies. Blaming the individual is a tried and trusted playbook that we have seen in the past with other industries. In the 1970s, Coca Cola and the beverage industry did this very effectively to convince us we don’t need regulations on waste disposal . . .  look at (the fossil fuel industry), which gave us the world’s first individual carbon footprint calculator. Why did they do that? Because (they) wanted us looking at our carbon footprint not theirs.

Doom-mongering has overtaken denial as a threat and as a tactic. . . . if people believe there is nothing you can do, they are led down a path of disengagement. They unwittingly do the bidding of fossil fuel interests by giving up.

But “too late” narratives are invariably based on a misunderstanding of science. Many of the prominent doomist narratives - . . . - can be traced back to a false notion that an Arctic methane bomb will cause runaway warming and extinguish all life on earth within 10 years. This is completely wrong. There is no science to support that.

Good people fall victim to doomism. I do too sometimes. It can be enabling and empowering as long as you don’t get stuck there.






My life so far said...

Thank you for your wise words. You make a difference.

am said...

Thank you for your post and for the link to the interview.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit of a doomist, but I do also have a glimmer of hope. Today I read an article in the NY Times OpEd section by Nicholas Kristof. It helped me see how things can change. Here is a link to it: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/opinion/sunday/loggers-environmentalists-oregon.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage. I haven't given up, although the pandemic has certainly upended things in a very big and illuminating way.
Take care there and stay well, Sabine.

Ms. Moon said...

I'm listening to a book right now where one of the characters said of the problem of climate change- we do not have the luxury of pessimism. I've been thinking of that a lot.

ellen abbott said...

doomism. well, I'm guilty. one of my beliefs is that modern human beings will be one of the planet's least successful forms of life in terms of how long we exist on the planet. but I thought this before global warming became the threat of our annihilation. we poison our food, our water, our air, the very ground, we exterminate all other life that gets in our way. whether was get control of global warming, whether the seas rise and the human populations start on the massive predicted migration to the shrinking temperate zones remains to be seen. even if we solve global warming or at least arrest it's development, we are still the most selfish and destructive species ever to live on this planet.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That is reassuring to read. It's so easy to feel like all is hopeless.

I wish we were ALL taking stock.

Joared said...

Thanks! Am sharing with friend and my immediate family members. I'm not a "doomster" but I'm very concerned about what the future holds for our planet, all life, and especially my own loved ones. I'm sometimes reminded of how I had said until my mid-twenties that I'd never marry, but if I did I certainly wouldn't bring any children into this world. I gradually changed my mind and did both things. I've sometimes wondered if I should have maintained that point of view from those early years. Nevertheless, I will persist in doing what I can contribute to addressing the problems we humans have caused this planet and hope for the best.