climate change - the elephant in the garden
Listening to talk about climate change in the media is weird, like living in two parallel worlds, with two contradictory narratives. In one world there is the truly scary, hard to imagine scientific position. If we continue to emit carbon dioxide at the current rate, we will reach the point of dangerously overheating the planet within 15 to 25 years!
In the other world are those who either ignore climate change, or deny that humans are causing it. The Abbott government is in this world, as are many big businesses and the popular media. Since Tony Abbott was elected, he has made it clear that his goal is to build the economy, no matter what the cost to the environment.
In the two months since winning government, Abbott abolished the Climate Commission and reduced funding for scientific research. The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, this month, is attended by Ministers of governments all over the world. Except in the case of Australia. Our Minister of Climate Change is too busy trying to rescind the Carbon Tax legislation, introduced by the former government, to attend this meeting.
Now the government wants to make it easier to have mines in national parks, by removing the need to consider the effect of such projects on endangered flora and fauna.
|The Economy, by Svitalsky Bros, Czeech Republic, 2013|
The Cambridge Dictionary Online defines elephant in the room as an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about. I don't talk (or write) about climate change all the time, but it is always there - the elephant in the garden.
When the wildflowers bloom in spring, I wonder if they will make it next year. Because they're not tough. If the weather's too hot, they'll just shrivel up and die. And they won't even set seed for next year.
It feels urgent to plant more indigenous plants, to provide food and shelter for insects and birds. Already they're finding life harder in the suburbs, with less plant life and more concrete. I must remember to replace the water in the bird baths every day.
For 30 years I've been trying to grow a garden that is naturalized and self supporting. But it won't survive much higher temperatures and less rainfall. So I am steeling myself. Do I start now to xeriscape more, or wait till plants die? They may not die. They may adapt. I may not be around when things really hot up.
|Feed your mind, your body and your appetite for shopping.|
Advertisement for Korean Air
What does climate change mean in relation to an ad like this?
Korean Air apparently believes that people will respond favourably to an ad portraying nature as a commodity, just like eating or shopping. I suppose this is one result of profound alienation from nature in our consumer society. Looking at a beautiful scene, sanitized by distance, is on a par with shopping for a new handbag, or eating exotic, expensive, aesthetically plated food. When nature is so unreal and idealized, how can climate change mean anything?