Life is a contradiction

The life that we live can be full of contradictions. Contradictions that can lead us to cognitive dissonance and confusion. A few that I am aware of in my own life relate to the climate and our future as a culture. I am not keen on buying paraffin tealights but wants to fly to Cyprus on holiday. I fully understand both of those positions but can’t help notice the inherent contradiction. I want to travel all over the world to see archaeological and ecological sites before they are gone forever, but at the same time know that by doing that I am contributing to their destruction. I pay 10% of my pre-tax salary into a pension. At the same time, I believe that the financial systems will collapse before I am ever able to make use of it. I am very subdued by the knowledge that we only have a tiny sliver of hope of being able to retain an environment that can sustain a human population of any complexity while at the same time conscious that if we really do only have decades left, we aught to make the most of it. I still hold a hope that someone will invent a way to extract 30 billion tonnes of CO2 from the environment per year within the next decades. Is it possible? Maybe. Extracting CO2 from the sea appears to have a bit more promise but we are still a long way off. It does smell of magical thinking, to assume that a technological solution will just happen in the future. We cannot put all our eggs in that particular basket. Instead, we should be looking at our own particular lifestyle and figure out a way to make it better. Eating less meat, flying less, not going on cruises, driving an electric car if you need to drive at all, travelling on public transport where possible. An awful lot of the public debate recently has been focussed on disposable plastic. This is in itself a significant issue but I would argue it is not the biggest. We absolutely do need to reduce our plastic usage but it cannot be all we do. The biggest component of CO2 impact is from big business. As individuals, we can make a difference but it is only small by comparison. We need to push our legislators in whichever country we live, to make laws that protect our future. Politicians are just not showing the bravery required to make the necessary changes. The public needs to let them know that the time is now. Keep pestering your local MP, or equivalent where you live, get your friends to do the same. It is really only by public action that any meaningful change can happen. Let’s not let this be the last generation able to make a difference that will last for thousands of years. Another decade will be far too late.