"If you do not feel despair then you are not paying attention !"... hardly good news. But there is good news to counteract the dramatic existential threat we are currently living. The problem is well known, too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, pollution, species loss etc. it has been said that 2018 was the year that climate change eventually kicked in. ; the atmosphere that gives us life is also giving us feedback. We need to listen. We need to stop doing bad things as well as continue to do good things. "Beyond a certain point, economic growth – the force that lifted people out of poverty, and cured deprivation, squalor and disease- tips us back into those conditions. To judge by the devastation climate breakdown is wreaking, we appear already to have reached this point" (George Monbiot, Sept 26th 2018 Guardian)
Perhaps looking at this through the lens of solutions could revive hope and the ability to act. Project Drawndown led by Paul Hawken lists 100 solutions to global warming that are already available. With the help of many researches throughout the world he has mapped out a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming. Incredibly, this is the first time this has been done. We would have to work at it but drawdown is possible.
The plan, worldwide, includes more afforestation, land management by indigenous people, improved rice cultivation, roof top solar panels, marine permaculture, plant rich diet, household recycling, wind turbines, red algae inclusion in the diet of cows which reduces methane, clean cookstoves, and so on : I will not list all 100. Very near the top of the list in importance is reducing food waste in rich countries at the retail and consumer level and in poorer countries improved infrastructure, and education for girls and women !
The second remarkable fact is that we who are concerned, are part of a vast movement, an unprecedented movement with no central ideology, noone in charge ; it is non-violent and it is growing and spreading ; it is diverse and unquenchable. There is a shared understanding springing from the environmental and social justice movements, the coming together of the indigenous peoples and those working for civil rights. It has been said `it is the coming world’, something is being born that recognises, with ecologists, that effective responses are found in diversity. It can include every tribe and all people on earth. Paul Hawken has listed over 130,000 groups, and there are probably many more, which are already working on possibilities and solutions, in this way building a capacity to respond to our present situation. We have seen what ideologies can do from our experience in the 20th century. We can be part of the great transformation that the earth, as well as Pope Francis, is asking of us. Everyone, all people and all institutions, have a part to play.