Sunday, 3 August 2008

From outrage to action

I think it was listening to Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, on the radio yesterday morning that made me decide to cancel my plans for this week and head towards the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth.

He said that people going to this camp are deluded, that the new coal fired station on the drawing board was a minor move, and in order to keep the lights on we need to continue to build several new coal power stations. He said though the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology isn’t yet developed, we could retrofit it later.

So much of what he said and the way he said it outraged me. Intelligent commentators have been expecting this collision of paradigms for some time. The ‘Keep the show on the road at all costs’ v the ‘learn to live lightly’ camp. The two are almost definitely incompatible. Sure, I hope we can keep the lights on with renewables, but we’re not going to be able to live the high life we’ve come to expect. In order to make the transition, we have to accept that we will be consuming less and living more simply in order for others to simply live, so to speak. Anything less than that is suicide and thoroughly immoral – if I were religious I’d even say sinful.

My feeling of outrage at our leaders’ behaviour is moving from simmering to a slow bubble – and I find myself saying, it’s all very well making a positive change in my community but if our leaders continue to bugger us all up, I’m not going to take it lying down. So I’m heading east, tagging along with George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, Caroline Lucas and many others. What else could possibly be more important?

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