It was almost exactly 2 years ago that we rolled into Paris to conclude our 16000 km bicycle journey from Vietnam to the COP21 United Nations climate change talks. What should have been a time of joy and satisfaction at such an achievement turned out to be one of the most painful and depressing periods of my life.
As the many months of sweaty cycling passed on our journey it was becoming increasingly clear that the conference was going to be an abject failure. Barely a whimper in the face of the biggest crisis humanity had ever faced. The only thing which might have saved it was a massive mobalisation of millions of people taking to the streets to force our leaders to take the action that was necessary. But the French authorities made certain that that wasn’t going to happen. A few days after we arrived in the country the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris took place. The French regime cynically exploited those deaths to impose a state of emergency and ban all protests. Environmentalists were rounded up and placed under house arrest. The actions of some tinpot dictatorship you would think rather than that of a supposedly socialist government in the home of the French Revolution. Making a mockery of the liberte egalite fraternite so proudly displayed on every civic building.
I realised it whilst standing impotent before the massed ranks of heavily armoured and armed riot police assembled by the forces of capitalism to protect their profits and more importantly their system at any cost, A cost so high that it means sacrificing most of life on earth for a few more decades of the status quo. Sacrificing their own children and grand children for a few more dollars that they don’t even need. Realised what I think deep down I knew all along. They had won. Despite the best efforts of a few dedicated people. We weren’t going to do anything to prevent ecological catastrophe and with it the collapse of human civilisation. For a more detailed explanation of why I think this see here.
Of course its not too late there is still probably just about time to stop it. But we aren’t going to. Because the other thing that I realised after cycling 16,000 km is that people just don’t, I was going to say care, but that’s not true. Clearly most people do care deeply about the future of their children at least, the vast majority simply don’t know that that future is seriously imperiled and the rest seemed to be so paralysed by the enormity of the situation that they prefer to ignore it. That seems to me the only explanation as to why the response to threat to our very existence has been so pathetic.
Standing alone on that cold dreich December day watching a few score climate activists having a carnival was one of the lowest points in my life. The activists were laying a red line down to symbolise lines which the negotiations down the road couldn’t cross. The reality was they had already been crossed. Stomped all over just like the symbolic lines would be stomped over by the jackbooted ranks of the police state.
Realising you have have failed in the one thing you have felt passionate about and devoted much of your life towards is painful enough. Realising that pretty much everything you love will be destroyed as a result makes it all the harder. And that is what I have been struggling to come to grips with for the past 2 years.
What to do with your life when that life is going to be shorter than you would ever want to imagine. Trying to be positive when you know in your heart there is no hope. Equally as hard is dealing with relationships with loved ones. How to explain your beliefs to family and friends when they think you are a narcissistic conspiracy theory fuelled nutter. And why wouldn’t they when there is almost no discussion of how serious the situation really is and the mainstream media is filled with false hope.What is presented in most of the press is really the best case scenario. Anyone who tries to bring anything more extreme to the table is dismissed as a loony conspiracy theorist and lumped in with the preppers building bunkers and learning survival techniques. (Although that is changing somewhat David Wallace-Wells’s article the The Uninhabitable Earth being a case in point.)
So this is what this project is. My way of trying to communicate with the people around me that there is a sound scientific basis for the idea that human civilisation is very unlikely to survive the century and could start to collapse in a matter of years. It’s also my chronicle of how I am dealing with that idea and how I live my life as a result.
If you are interested in finding out more please like my facebook page which has updates on the latest science, my ramblings and some lighter hearted stuff to keep you laughing amidst the gloom. And share if you found this thought provoking.