Climate panic

The above photo was taken at 5.16 pm on Friday 24 May 2019 from the western hills of Lower Hutt, looking towards Wellington Harbour. It was a calm late autumn evening and you will notice that the trees and fronds are surprisingly upright for a Wellington day. It has been less windy recently than usual in the capital, but then again, it often is less windy at this time of year. Don’t worry, the howling southerlies will make their presence felt when winter takes hold, which will be very soon.

No, this is not ‘View from your Window’. This photo was taken on the day that students and politicians were screaming about climate emergencies and how ‘we are not doing enough’. Yet, look at that photo again. What is there in that photo that we need to declare an emergency about?

Nelson and Canterbury have declared climate emergencies and it is rumoured, although not yet confirmed, that both Auckland and Wellington are about to do the same.

At the same time, Stuff has appointed 17 year old Mia Sutherland as its guest editor on climate change. Honestly, it seems the world is being run by children these days.

Here are a few of the things that Mia has to say. quote.

You should change your lifestyle to reduce your negative impact on the environment because I want a future I can look forward to. And at the rate we’re going, I know my hope is unrealistic, to say the least.

Try to reuse, repurpose, pass on, or fix the things you’re going to throw away. Make stock out of vegetable ends and bones. Create some cat toys out of toilet rolls (my sister did this and gave them to the SPCA). Cut your energy consumption by air-drying clothes. If you’re going to consume, try to do it responsibly.  end quote.

I already do this… well, not the cat toys, but I hang out my washing and have a large store of plastic bags to reuse. Most older people are much more conscious about waste and conservation than younger generations. To be honest, my observation is that it is the young people who are least responsible about this. Think of all those placards that were a waste of cardboard and ink on Friday. quote.

It breaks my heart that across the globe those in power are showing me that they don’t care about my future. Their inaction tells me that they do not care about thousands of lives that are already threatened, and the many, many more that are to follow. Why do they deny me a safe future? Why do they inflict this pain upon me? end quote.

I can’t help but feel that this is nothing more than a self-centred rant. Climate change, if it is happening at all, is happening to everybody, but Mia seems to be taking it personally. Hint: it is not personal. If you die, as a result, you will not be alone. quote.

Please reconsider your actions. We are in danger and I am scared. It is a common sentiment shared by many at my age, as over 1 million students around the world prepare to walk out of school on May 24 to protest the inaction they see globally to combat climate change.

Stuff. end quote.

As you have put out a challenge, Mia, let me put one out to you. From now on, walk or cycle to school and everywhere else. Do not use a car. Ditch the cellphone, the iPad and cut your internet time in half. Take responsibility in your household for recycling. This is not about making cat toys. This is about reducing your consumption as much as anyone else’s.

Until you do these things, you have no right to expect anyone to take you seriously, and my prediction is that you will not do any of these things, because it is hard. If you don’t then all you are doing is producing a lot more hot air… and according to you, we already have enough of that.

In the meantime, as I look out of the window, I really wonder what there is to panic about. Why are we declaring states of emergency for things that cannot be seen, or heard, or felt or for the most part, experienced in any way? Or is Mia, like Greta Thunberg, another one who claims she can see CO2? The real world still looks perfectly fine to me.