Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A green journalist is in despair that most people prefer playing trendy computer games, rather than listening to his urgent warnings about the imminent green apocalypse.
What will it take for us to pay attention to climate change?
Australia’s coastline has seen massive changes in the past six months, 2015 was recorded as the hottest year on record, and 2016 is shaping up to be even hotter. Former Sydney Morning Herald journalist Bob Beale laments that nobody seems to be taking any notice.
My Facebook page prompts me to say what is on my mind. Actually I’m feeling quite wretched. I have a very bad dose of solastalgia, a term coined by my friend Glenn Albrecht, an environmental philosopher.
Solastalgia is feeling homesick while you are still at home, a melancholy brought on by the loss or degradation of a treasured environment. My solastalgia is for my country, indeed for my whole planet. I’m asking myself, what exactly does Earth need to do to get our attention?
To be bluntly colloquial, it’s very bloody real, it’s right bloody here, right bloody now. It’s about as serious a challenge as we can face. We really urgently need to be all on the same page about this.
No, really, what the heckedy-heck does it take to make us truly sit up and notice the massive changes going on in the natural world around us? It’s a travesty that so many people are fixated by staring at their so-called smart phones in a search for imaginary Pokémon creatures, while the real plants and animals of the world are turning up their toes in their billions.
Our civic leaders, our intellectuals, our politicians, and our mass media are playing Pokémon Go with us. When we try to reflect on, to consider and absorb the significance and meaning of these disasters, they blur our field of view by invoking phantoms to distract us. Indeed, they are worse than negligent, they are complicit. They know what needs to be done, but it’s so much easier to deflect, distract, deny and delay.
Here’s a word I just made up to describe our politicians in action on climate change—stagnertia.
A pox on all of them. A pox on them for leaving unattended and untreated the raging fever afflicting our planet.
One more time I ask, what will it take?
Perhaps if “massive changes” were actually happening, people would listen. Fantasising that the climate apocalypse is already upon us, when it is completely obvious to normal people that nothing bad is happening, simply undermines the already tattered credibility of climate advocates, and opens a widening gulf between deep greens and the people they hope to influence.