I know I’m meant to be worried. Sometimes I do worry. And I’m glad that the news is talking about climate change and pollution again. I do consider it to be a far greater risk to my life than, say, ‘international terrorism’.
But when it comes down to it, I’m not planning to do much to help to deal with climate change, CO2 emissions, etc etc. There are a few reasons that I’ve come to this conclusion and the first is that stupid one I always criticise other people for using: I cannot make any difference so there’s no point bothering.
Now, before you say I’ve lost my mojo, just think. Given that I already conserve energy in a loose, easy sort of way at home, I’d say that my energy consumption is probably average for Spain. The new TV uses a lot of juice but then I never drive. If I managed to reduce that energy use to nil, the resulting effect on the overall consumption of energy in Spain (or in Catalonia or Barcelona, for that matter) would be so infinitesimally useless and pathetic that all I would really have succeeded in achieving would be ruining my quality of life by forcing myself to eat raw vegetables and lentils soaked in (spring) water over night. Never mind the emissions that a diet like that would cause.
A popular statistic around at the moment is that if the UK closed down all their CO2-emitting power stations, it would take China only six months to fill in the gas gap that we’d left behind. What about India and China together?
The problem with climate change is that there is literally nothing any of us can do to help the situation. Why not recycle? Did you know that most of the stuff you recycle ends up in land-fill? Gemma and I recycle religiously… it’s something to do, you know? And yet I know that it’s a complete waste of time.
When it comes down to it, the single worst thing I ever do to the environment is air travel. I like to fly to places. It’s much quicker than taking a canoe or a bullock-cart. It’s selfish of me and I know it’s not helping but I like to see my parents once a year if I can. How else am I going to do that? If I forswear that I’ll no longer fly then I guess they’d eventually fly out to see me here. So what would I have achieved then? I’ve got two sets of parents (both parents and both step-parents), a brother, a sister, a step-sister and two half-sisters. By my refusing to fly, I’d force them to fly. So there’s no point bothering with it.
My other reason for not helping any more than I already am is skepticism. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that things aren’t quite as bad as Al “I couldn’t even beat George Bush in an election I’d won” Gore would have us believe. The initial warnings on climate change, emissions and environmental damage which came out thirty years ago warned about very similar consequences and that it would be too late by 2006. Well, we haven’t done a single thing about it and now we’re being told we’ve got more time, even though the picture being painted is that things are even worse than we thought they were.
My point is: either we’re already screwed, or the science isn’t completely right. If the science is right, we’re already too late to do anything. While this doubtless smacks of lazy refusal to do more to combat climate change, it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I was a real environmentalist a few years back and I’m still pissed off that Bush didn’t ratify Kyoto. So what’s changed? I got so sick of the religiosity behind the environmentalist movement that I started to question it. My central belief when it comes to politics has become: whatever people keep saying over and over again, mistrust it.
So that’s it. I’ll keep up with the useless recycling, the energy saving light-bulbs, the public transport and the support for green alternatives to burning coal for electricity production. But I’m going to keep up with my air travel, my expensive, energy hungry gadgets, the coal fire at home in Devon in the winter, putting the heater on, using the tumble-dryer etc etc etc. I make no apologies. I’m just sick of the whole business.