First they came for the peasants and I didn’t say anything… And we know how that ends.
This is probably not the way to save the world and save our own skins and those of our children – for those of us who have selfishly chosen to contribute to Gaia’s overpopulation by having children.
The model we seem to have set up now is that every once in a while we’ll pick a sector and play it off against the environmentalists, and everyone sit back and enjoy the emissions.
Which was probably just as well when things didn’t really matter or when things were a matter of opinion. But now there seems to be general agreement on this particular issue that we need to sort it out, like yesterday.
The problem is, as environmental scientist Cara Augustenborg put it after we cobbled together a trade-off on agriculture: “The atmosphere doesn’t take compromises.” The atmosphere in Ireland doesn’t take compromises either.
Last week’s compromise on agriculture made no one happy. Depending on where you stood, it was either an existential assault on farming families or a surrender to the good ol’ backbench boys of rural Ireland.
But the problem is that compromise is all we have. Politics, the art of the possible, cannot offer more. And when compromise is not enough, then as a species we have destroyed ourselves.
But at least we’ll have been doing what we enjoy and arguing passionately about why other people are wrong.
Of course, the situation is complicated by the fact that while we can argue among ourselves until the cows come home, in that case we practically just fall into a very large slurry tank.
It’s hard to make sacrifices to be the best boy and girl in class when we know there’s not much we can do to change the big picture.
Because there are much bigger players here who don’t seem to share our scrupulous perspective, and unfortunately we all share an atmosphere.
That doesn’t make it any easier either, as a reformed tech manager puts it in the documentary The social dilemma, Facebook has created 2.7 billion Truman Shows, each with their own unique version of reality. Billions of realities, but still only one atmosphere.
Some environmentalists have been quick to criticize the farmers in recent weeks. And it was the business lobby that pointed out that agriculture accounts for only 1 percent of our national income.
Perhaps we had better sympathize with the peasants, knowing that our time will come too. All of us will have to change our lives enormously and very quickly.
And change is always painful. In truth, it probably won’t affect most of us as much as farmers. But maybe we should be a little more tolerant of their grief that we had to let go of how things were, because our time to mourn follows quickly behind.
And let’s hope we’re all just grieving at having to change the way we live and work. Because the alternative is a world of sadness.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/our-emissions-are-laying-waste-to-the-atmosphere-41879736.html Our emissions pollute the atmosphere