Yesterday, I had one of my moments.
I have had them before, and blogged them (you can read them in all their gory detail here, here and here ).
And inevitably, I feel the need to share it with you. Sorry. Here goes.
I have been lucky enough to win some Transition Training from the team behind the Transition Network, (blog post to come!) and I am really excited and hopeful that this will give me the knowledge and skills to go forth and create a Transition Group here in Warminster.
During an unexpected quiet morning this weekend, I did some catching up on Rob Hopkin’s thought-provoking blog.
And it kind of freaked me out. In what, hopefully, ultimately is a good way, but for an hour or two, I was just plain old freaked out.
Rob has done a series of interviews with some really inspirational people like Annie Leonard from The Story of Stuff, and Oliver James who wrote Affluenza , among others.
Several of them make the point that our society is just so rooted in consumerism, that there may actually not be a way out of the mess that we are creating.
Our economic system needs sustained growth, and this is fuelled by increased production, which is fuelled by increased consumption by us. And in order to get us to want more, want better, the clever old chaps at the advertising agencies are constantly thinking of new ways to tell us that we are not good enough, or our clothes are not cool enough, or our gadgets are not up to date enough, so that we go out and buy more and keep the economy growing.
And I hadn’t really thought about advertising as ‘evil’ before, and how ‘everywhere’ it is, and how actually, it’s job is to get us to believe that we are not good enough, and that we can be made good enough or made to feel better by buying a new x, y or z.
And I just started thinking that actually, we are screwed.
There is no way that the whole economic system-and the planned obsolescence, and the advertising that tells us how much we need new things to make ourselves feel better, and then the need to work more to pay for the things that we are told will make our lives better, and the fact that this means we are all too busy to spend time doing the actual important things like talking to our kids and playing with them, and that this then makes us unhappier, so we buy more, because we are told this will make us feel better, but then we need to earn more to pay for it, so we work harder…. THAT, can change.
Or can change in time to pull our planet back from the brink.
I know that there are some people who still argue that climate change is not man made, and I am assuming that they therefore say that because it might not be man made, then we can ‘t do anything to stop it, so there is no need to curb our excesses and we should all just carry on as normal.
But surely the same argument cannot be applied to resource depletion, and acidification and plasticification of our oceans, and the waste issue, and, and, and….
So I was feeling pretty despondent. And incredibly powerless.
How on earth, can the actions of me, and my family, possibly make a difference?
Would it not be easier, and ultimately we would arrive at the same place anyway, to just throw my hands in the air, and give up?
And stop my feeble pathetic attempts to make a difference.
It feels like, short of taking over the world as some kind of good world saving dictator, who forces people to live more sustainably, and to love, well, more (that may be an oxymoron) then anything else is just a drop in a plastic filled, toxin rich, ocean.
How can what any of us ever do, be enough?
For an hour or two, I felt sick to my stomach. Sick and really quite panicky at the planet that we are creating, that we are going to be handing on to our kids, to MY kids.
And some predictions are that the impacts of climate change will start to be felt in the next 10-20 years, well within our own lifetimes.
I personally think that we are already starting to see the effects of climate change, with all the extreme weather we have been having, both here in the UK, and globally.
And it is set to get worse. Much, much worse.
But I always come back to same point.
What I am doing may not save the planet.
But I can’t stop doing it. I can’t stop doing everything that I personally can do.
Because, at the end of the day, that is all any of us can ever do.
And it may not be enough.
But we have to try.