I know I wrote about this theme only a few posts ago, but it seems to weigh heavy on my mind: I see no evidence that us humans are doing enough to meaningfully combat climate change. And I doubt we're capable of it in the first place: the worldwide culture of energy-waste is just too strong.
In this article from the Smithsonian Magazine, the byline says enough to make my heart sink: "if we maintain carbon-emission status quo" is essentially doom-in-a-clause, since the status quo is absolutely unlikely to change. That's how the status quo works. And on a worldwide level, we're going to keep on maintaining that carbon-pumping status quo.
For the last few summers, us Pacific Northwest folks had to deal with wildfire smoke. At the beginning, I remember it feeling kind-of magical to see the dusty hues in photographs and whatnot. But this summer, the wildfire smoke lasted for weeks. And, sadly, it started to feel normal.
I'm not trying to be defeatist, but I don't want to psyche myself up to thinking we can turn something around when humanity's never acted as such a unified front before, particularly for a process that, if we do it right, will likely take decades to complete. We need to do what we can, but we also need to understand that as long as there are profits to be made, as long as there's oil to extract, as long as there are forests to burn, our climate will keep changing. No magic or technology will reverse the process without worldwide determination for centuries.
And I have trouble believing we can do anything to curb that trend.
I saw an article today that describes how Western countries will not meet the environmental targets outlined in the Paris Accord. I'm not surprised about this at all.
I'm not surprised for multiple reasons. Here are the most basic reasons I'm not surprised in the slightest:
The reasons above are systematically solutionable. We can solve those issues in various, systematic ways. That's what makes it so heartbreaking that we can't seem to get past it.
Here's why I'm not surprised at all that we won't meet the goals lined up in the Paris Climate Accord: because my life hasn't changed. Not one bit. I still drive my car way more than I should; I still keep my apartment warmer than I should; I still buy products like I did before. The Accord hasn't affected me directly one bit.
How can we expect systematic change when it doesn't affect parts of the system? If the only cost to the accord is the rising price of gasoline, or a little extra inflation, how will we affect change?
I'd say we won't. Until the measures taken to meet those goals force me to change my ways, I can assume we won't meet those goals. As long as I'm insulated from the effects of the accord, Canada won't be acting in a way that lets us meet it.
The article reads,
Failure to slow the pace of climate change will inflict massive dislocation on people around the world, with expectations of prolonged droughts and fires in some regions, and more extreme hurricanes and rain storms in others, climate scientists warn.
All of those symptoms? Those are the most easy things to deny responsibility for. So until I learn to perceive my part in them, I doubt the entire country would be able to pull off a similar mindset shift.
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