Thursday, June 08, 2006

Catching Up

It’s been a while since I even thought of the blog. Just sitting here musing and fretting about my thesis. Ground to a halt again. My supervisor is waiting for the last bits so he can take them away on holidy with him … what a strange fellow! Most folk would rather have the latest airport blockbuster to read on their hols. Still, if that’s what he wants I’ll try and provide.
The world cup is upon us and you’d think the fate of the world depended on it. I like football, but Jeeez, and it hasn't even started yet!
Seems the world has just cottoned on the the fact that climate change is for real. Okay so we better just deal with one problem at a time, eh? It seems if you try and put forward two potential problems people’s brains go into stasis.
Sure global warming is crucial, but so is soil erosion, water stress, diminishing biodiversity, abyssmal world politics which lead to conflict, and the human miseries of poverty, inequity, displacement, hunger and starvation.
Much of these things are ignored by most people except when they are confronted with them in the media, but it is all happening in faraway land and most of the folk are alien to us, so they are as easily forgotten when the tv is switched off as the fictional dramas broadcast yesterday –
we see them and we feel guilty, we don’t see them and we forget; I am as guilty as the next guy.
However, we are not powerless in all of this. The Make Poverty History campaigns have showed us that politicians do take notice if enough people speak out. Yes, little changed, but that was because ordinary folk did not keep up the pressure. So politicians are allowed to wriggle off the campaigners’ hook. We should look at it all more positively, like just how quickly they were forced to climb onto that hook in the first place.
A lot of the time it appears that big business think they can do what they like and the cash-fodder (the wider public) will just go along with it and separate themselves from their money. However, these boardroom jockeys are very vulnerable to the vagaries of public perception.
Here’s a novel idea, let’s take as an example the huge transnational company Exxon (Esso) one of the most powerful in the world. Many people around the world take exception to this company. It’s anti-climate change stance has apparently hindered political will, in the USA in particular, to facing up to this challenging task of reducing the environmental impacts of burning fossils fuels (Exxon’s stock in trade). Now, if a few years ago everyone, or even nearly everyone, for just one week of every month bought alternative products to Exxon’s, how many months might it have taken before the board had a change of heart?
There are ongoing campaigns against illegal logging, and palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
There are plenty of alternatives, but these are cheaper. If enough of us cash-fodder let manufacturers know that we won’t buy their products just to save a penny or two they will use the alternatives.
Why do we bemoan the state of the earth and still believe it is politicians' and big business’s problem to fix it when it is obvious that they don’t want to. We have individual responsibility and we have the power to change things without having to do very much except be consistent in saying what we want and in demanding the powerful be held to to account. If a gasfitter made a botch job of your heating system and blew up your house you'd certainly want him/her to be held to account why not politicians and CEOs?
I suppose the main question in all this is: why are we so insistant in handing over our personal responsibility to people, many of whom we would not invite to our house for tea?
Ultimately, those we put in charge only have the power we give to them, or allow them to have –Really. So we must ensure they use that power, first and foremost, for the proper protection of the environment that allows us to live in some degree of comfort on this planet. We all know by now they will only do that if we force them to do so. So join Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth and or join your local community council or forum and make your voice heard. Get involved, it only takes only a few hours a week.

hasta luego (trying to learn Spanish)

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