OPINION: Condensed to three words, the Bible’s Old Testament is: “fire, flood, plague”.
What a trip it is. Nine hundred and twenty-nine action-filled chapters take us on an unforgettable ride as a vengeful god inflicts misery and carnage. He also creates butterflies and kittens.
This is also what climate change promises, apart from the bit about kittens. There is no vengeful god at work, though, it’s all our own work.
This misery is approaching slowly, though, not exploding all at once in a thunderclap. And so it’s possible for an ill-educated radio host to say: “I don’t believe any of it” and “here’s something I found on the internet that proves 95 per cent of scientists are lying”.
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It is the stupidest game of chicken any idiot in a Maserati ever played, and on we go, burning fossil fuels, feeding emissions into the greenhouse effect, and the temperatures keep rising.
David Slack says the children’s climate protest on Friday will be absolutely worth it if it gets adults thinking about the issue.
What that brings us – not today, necessarily, not next year necessarily but almost certainly within the lifetime of today’s high school students – is flood and fire and plague.
So. Rising seas. More wildfires. More extreme weather. Wreckage to follow: coastal homes made uninhabitable, food shortages, water shortages.
Also: big changes to biodiversity and upheaval in the ecosystem. If you’ve seen what locusts can do, you’ll have an idea. If you don’t, there’s plenty about it in the Bible.
Let’s open our history books and consider how things had worked out when people were forced from their homes, and there were shortages of food and water. Talk about 40 days and 40 nights of carnage.
For another perspective, how about we get an insurance company on the phone and ask them about all the coastal property they’re no longer prepared to insure?
All this, and we still aren’t acting like it requires our full and serious attention. If I were a teenager, would I be joining next week’s strike to protest at the inaction of adults over all this? Hell yeah.
Lucy Gray and her classmates are planning a protest for climate change in Christchurch next week.
Judith Collins, she says no. Her media offerings have a bit of Old Testament about them, if the Bible had been filmed for laughs in front of a live studio audience. She likes to condescend. “Their little protest is not going to help the world one bit,” she said.
She wasn’t the only one mocking. Tired radio hacks in search of ratings and bitter men who resent everything that’s changed in the world since Gone With The Wind knew the score.
“You’re just going to wag aren’t you?” Also: “Do you use a car? Do Mummy and Daddy take you to Fiji in a plane? They do? Bloody knew it. Woke snowflake hypocrite.”
Apart from the obvious response of “what’s your point, you can wag any day of the week if you feel like it”, that tired old hypocrisy objection was best answered by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez this week when people tried to pour the same sort of triumphal snark all over her for being a person in a motor vehicle.
“I also fly & use A/C,” she tweeted. “Living in the world as it is isn’t an argument against working towards a better future.” The better future she has in mind is for example: “putting a LOT of people to work in developing new technologies, building new infrastructure, and getting us to 100 per cent renewable energy”.
What kind of technology? Well, electric vehicles are pouring off the assembly lines. Goodbye emissions when those take over. How about electric ships? Would sailing to the other side of the world rather than flying be so awful? Return for two to Southampton, please.
There are a hundred million dollars on offer right here in New Zealand for clean energy research. Think someone might be able to work out how to deal with our animal emissions?
The government thinks so, and if you think that’s fanciful, let’s just consider the wonder of Lanzatech, the great big success story that began here in Auckland and has worked out how to turn pollution from factories into fuel that powers cars, and one day, planes.
It’s not that we have no solutions to these problems. The problem is a failure to embrace them with urgency and enough money.
So go for it, kids. If your ‘little protest” gets even a few more adults thinking about the unbelievable importance of getting these changes made, it’ll be absolutely worth it.