Climate news just keeps getting worse. First off was the report last week that the rate that we are emitting carbon into the atmosphere has dramatically increased since the start of the 21st century. Now there are reports of the cancellation of world cup ski events in Europe because of abnormally warm temperatures in the Alps. Not really the most inviting time to take a cheap flight to your ski vacation, is it? Is that knot in the pit of your stomach guilty knowledge that your gluttony is responsible for this mess we’re in? Nahhhh must be the out of date mayo on your pre-wrapped in flight sandwich….now sit back, relax, and enjoy despoiling your planet.
My roommates Alastair and Lizzy were down on Gloucester Rd. the other day and saw a stuffed polar bear in front of the Poundsavers store. It was plugged in to the wall, and was dancing and singing Christmas Carols. Struck by the irony of a fake polar bear using coal fired electricity to dance around for amused humans while causing its real brothers in the Arctic to drown amidst the melting ice caps was too much for us and we had to take action. As you can see, we made our own addition to the poor bear, and slyly added it while no one was looking. Point being that activism against climate damage doesn’t have to be illegal or spectacular, it can be ordinary everyday actions that remind people that burning ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels are leaving us a very uncertain and undesirable future. From the point of the Stern Report forward, ignorance is no longer an excuse, and we can all be held individually responsible for the carbon we emit. You have been warned…
Speaking of activism, you’ve got to check out this example of online teamwork to track down an SUV driver in NYC who was using his vehicle as a weapon. People think they are anonymous in their cars, yet with a license plate and a little ingenuity, these assailants can be publicly embarrassed for their threatening actions behind the wheel. Too bad we can’t put these people in stocks in the public square.
It is still totally unbelievable to me how lenient society is with dangerous drivers. What exactly is the difference between a man shooting rounds of ammunition from an AK-47 around a crowded high street, luckily missing everyone, and a man driving recklessly and aggressively down that same high street, apart from the latter also screwing up our air and climate? In this article from the Bristol Evening Post, a man is arrested for driving 90mph in a 40mph zone, driving on the pavement (sidewalk) and clipping a mother and child in their car:
“A judge sentenced Dale Kennedy today to 14 months in prison (way more than he would get in the US) and “banned him from driving for a year, told him he would have to take an extended driving test and endorsed his driving licence.”
Can you imagine the same scenario, yet with a gun instead of a car as the chosen deadly weapon? “A Judge sentenced Dale Kennedy today to 14 months in prison for firing his AK-47 in a crowded high street, banned him from shooting for a year, and told him he would have to take an extended firearms test, and endorsed his gun license”
This man who risked the lives of dozens of people should never be allowed to drive again after an incident like this, yet juries and judges are brainwashed into thinking that to deprive someone of their drivers license is akin to taking away their very lives. Amazing how poor public transport and non-motorized transport facilities allows society to justify letting people who are too reckless, young, old, or disabled to obtain drivers licenses.
Whatever the case, our car and oil addicted society is on its way to hitting rock bottom. There is a palpable excitement in communities that provide alternatives to this insanity– bicycle subcultures being a prime example. As one of the participants of the SUV justice team says: “There is something in the air, though, and we bike commuters are at the vanguard of whatever it is.”
Like the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement, where social norms turned on a dime and what seemed ordinary and acceptable one day was a horrific crime against humanity the next- we are soon to witness a sea change on how we see energy use, transport, and the organization of communities and commerce. It will be a different world, and many people aren’t prepared. Check out this fascinating report about how we’ve lost basic living skills in the last two generations, and how some are retraining themselves in preparation for the end of cheap electricity and fuel.