How was 2020 for you? How have you been dealing with the reality of yours, mine… our lifestyles?
Nothing comes from nothing… and COVID-19 did not spring from a silent pit. It did not come without warning. Most of the world’s governments, who always prioritise the maintenance of their period of governance, demand of their scientific advisors to advise on the most urgent threats the smooth operation that their engine of state might face. The economic threat of a zoonotic, pandemic infection was so high on the list that many governments instigated exercises to simulate outcomes. Many of the same governments also cut scientific, medical and emergency contingency funding because the arrival of that risk was of an indeterminate date.
COVID-19 wasn’t the first and it will not be the last such disease to carve its twisted journey through humanity. But the greater body of scientific opinion is certain that there will not be the century long wait (based on the erroneous media cliché that continually relates this pandemic to the Spanish Flu) to face this or a worse pandemic catastrophe again.
The lifestyles we live have bred, fed and spread this virus. And our overarching economic system, that has been treated as if it was some sacred cow, is the major silent culprit responsible for this and our other current pressing ills.
Humanity’s seemingly insatiable appetite for an unnecessary, but habitual, diet of meat sourced from the animal world seems to have been a significant early character in the story of COVID-19. Globalisation, now personalised and normalised through non-essential, affordable, international air travel rapidly spread the virus, and seemingly maintained its presence like in no previous pandemic.
The personal carnage that COVID-19 has inflicted on individuals and families around the world is yet another symptom of modern humanity’s destructive influence on the globe. In fact, COVID-19 itself could be viewed as a symptom of the same. Another example of our incessant, ignorant, inadvertent pursuit of our own extermination.
A lot of people, some friends and family too, are pissed off when they hear me start up on this subject again. But I don’t care; I really couldn’t give a shit. I’ve been banging this drum since the 1980s and it really shouldn’t need to still be banged. But the problem is still there, and in fact the problem has worsened. We are at the very end of the time when we can do something that will turn this around. If we don’t, our future will be getting very unfamiliar and uncomfortable; the next generation’s future will be fucked; and the generation after that? Well – it goes beyond any post-apocalyptic cinema CGI extravaganza you can stream on netflix or amazon prime.
If you are unaware of what is happening ecologically, I’m sorry but I don’t believe you. There is no excuse for ignorance and there is no justification for ignorance; particularly if you have children, or grandchildren. There is no responsible excuse for ‘business as usual’ and deep down you know that just as well as I do.
Stop flying – particularly if it’s only for leisure or holidays. Turn to a vegetarian diet if you can’t immediately cope with a vegan diet. Use public transport if it’s affordable and available. Use cars only if you have to and simultaneously maximise the utility of each trip while minimising the number of trips. It only takes thought and planning – it’s not difficult. If you’ve got the money to change what’s fueling your energy consumption, then do it. But don’t castigate those that don’t have the financial support you may benefit from.
More importantly, and something that everyone can do regardless of income, is to research the issue further. Follow accredited climate scientists on twitter who will point you in the direction of the most pressing issues. And when you find information that you consider of real concern, forward it in an email to your political representatives. These people need to know that these are issues that the electorate care about. Politicians generally care about an issue if the people that hold the axe over their post care about it too.
Work together with likeminded people in your community and build a force for change at a local level practically and a regional and national level ideologically.
If you wait… if you do not build… then to reverse paraphrase a famous film… they will not come. And if governments are left to their own devices they display their endless capacity for procrastination and self-congratulatory delusion of achievement. And if government is left unchallenged, when it finally addresses the issues involved, it will be at a time when the crisis is full-blown. That is not a mystical prediction – that is how government works. Modern government is reactive; not proactive.
And all the governments will have left at their disposal in the end is force. And that force will be directed down and out from its origin. It won’t be directed inwards or upwards to the source of the problems that have brought us to the future’s here and now.
You need to recognise that the celebrated individualism that has been trumpeted as our collective saviour for the last forty years, is the seed of the weed that chokes our attempts to build a garden of Eden for today and tomorrow.
You need to start challenging the governing class now, within the formal mechanisms that they permit. But, because of the industrial and financial might of what is driving our extinction, that will not be sufficient. If the established political processes were strong enough in the past then we would not be where we are today.
But I am sure, that one day soon you will feel the need to become more militant. Well – that too goes beyond being a right. In fact it will become a duty. A duty of protection to yourself, your family and your community. Otherwise, through a lack of involvement, you become complicit amongst your peers in maintaining the crisis.
You cannot continue to claim ignorance. And if you are still ignorant of the facts at this late hour in the day, then it is because you have chosen to prioritise other, more comforting, distractions.
And if we continue as we are, we will sink into the morass of neo-feudal serfdom under an abusive and anonymous state, until we’re all just swept from the surface of the planet like dust.
So… what you do DOES matter.