I have been so busy in recent weeks, hardly been home in weeks. Travelling both within & outside our borders, almost all work. I was briefly in the UK, and was able to catch up with family & friends there, which I have not been able to do for over 3 years. At least Skype means that I am no longer shocked with the aging process of family & friends.
Recent events have brought home some key thoughts. Some nice & fuzzy, others stark & cold. The nice & fuzzy are the ones around old friends; the people who you have not met for years, but the conversations pick up from wherever you left off. The hugs last a little longer, as you cling to each other, realising it may be many years, or even the last time you are able to do that.
But the stark, cold ones happened closer to home. Durban in fact. I did not go to the COP17 conference, as I feared the worst. Looks like I was right to be fearful. The outcome is brilliantly summed up with this speech to the floor. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/9/get_it_done_urging_climate_justice
I cannot embed the video for some reason, but I would urge you to go and listen to the speech given by Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, where she beratesthe conference on behalf of youth delegates.
Personally, I have no doubt at all, that future generations will look with absolute disgust at the present generation. We are the ones abusing the planet, and messing it up for our offspring. We were never going to get a real agreement in Durban, but the wishy washy result is really awful, for all of us. It is a bit like a morbidly obese person, who has just been told by the doctors that he must start losing weight now, or there is an almost certainty that he will die in the next 5 years, saying, yes, I will promise to think about dieting, but only in 10 years time, until then I shall keep consuming at the same rate.
Of course, people could point their fingers at me, after my travelling, how can I comment? Well, I have tried to embrace the issue, by looking at my own carbon footprint, and offsetting my carbon usage wherever possible. It is still a choice though, and I realise that these issues have to be taken on at a global scale.
My solution is simple; we are using the wrong people to make the decisions. Politicians only look at the short term future - they think to the next election cycle (maximum of around 5-6years). These are the wrong people. What we ought to do is to get all the governments to agree to send their scientists, and also agree to be bound by all decisions that the scientists come to at the conference. As Anjali says: "The most stark betrayal of your generation’s responsibility to ours is that you call this "ambition". Where is the courage in these rooms? Now is not the time for incremental action. In the long run, these will be seen as the defining moments of an era in which narrow self-interest prevailed over science, reason and common compassion."