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For The Love Of: Post Mortem

Friday 19th June, sunny and clear, light breeze, blue and silver sky; a blackbird singing outside my open window.

Duly went up to London for the fortheloveof Climate Change action event on Wednesday. It was a small gathering, a few thousand people: mostly Faith groups (almost entirely Christian or Muslim, far as visible identifiers go) and the emergency humanitarian orgs (hard to tell those two apart these days); plus the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB. A mild mannered lot! We did not, as I'd thought was the plan, swarm into the Lobby to speak to our various MPs. No, no. We gathered in little constiuency groups along the Embankments and across Lambeth and Westminster Bridges, and our MPs were brought to us, thus causing absolute minimum disturbance to the House. (Maybe there was a good fortheloveof reason for this revision, but I sometimes think the gentle people have a little to learn about protest as an effective tactic). Anyway, the half dozen of us who got to talk to Caroline Lucas were, as she ruefully remarked, probably having the best of it. Nick Herbert of Arundel and the South Downs, I am shocked to report, apparently told his constituents that unregulated fracking all over the UK is vital so that we will be self sufficient in fuel. Nick Herbert, who cannot possibly be such a dummy; who knows very well that the shale gas/or oil, if any, will go to feed the European energy market, and sold to the highest bidder, to benefit the shareholders, not the fuel poor of the UK. Last year, he defended the Weald valiantly from Celtique Energie. But there's been an election. Votes have plummeted in value (and will stay low for years! It's lovely!). His constituents, who may have thought they'd been saved, had better watch out!

There was bunting, there were free Ben and Jerry icecreams ad lib, and a beautiful, touching art installation by South London school kids & students in the Archbishop's Park (the Archbishop's Park was the best bit), there were "workshops" in the Royal Society's Emmanuel Centre, including two Royal Society actual scientists, roped in to give us a really excellent illustration of the problem with Climate Change as an issue . . . The bloke's main points were a) I'm a scientist, I'm sceptical of everything and b) I'm sorry to be a spoiler but the sea ice in the Arctic hasn't been behaving as you people would obviously like.

I'll accept the first assertion (with reservations!). The second seemed either deliberately misleading (the actual situation: Arctic Sea Ice Grows) a bad case of Climategate Paranoia Syndrome, or maybe just hard to make out. The other scientist was milder, but seemed equally uncomfortable. She just said, biodiversity in the oceans will change due to acidification, because acidification stops things building skeletons. If you like kelp and you like algae, you'll be fine. Jelly fish too, she could have added . . .

There was the No Nukes guy with his little No Nukes dog, convinced the whole operation was a front for the Nuclear Power lobby. There was the Population Matters stall, from which Peter and I both silently, politely and independently turned away. We have one child between us, our choice, but anything that smells like First Worldism (your babies aren't as good as mine) is a big taboo. Sorry mates, sure you mean well, but there has to be another way. There was the smiling bicyclist, who wanted to know what it was all about: whose response to our explanation that we all need to use less energy, and keep fossil fuel in the ground, to avoid catastrophic climate change, was a smug and smiling, "But we're all addicted, aren't we", wringing from me an unforgiveable, dreadful, "Oh, I can't be bothered with this. Let's go." There's a reason why I've never been tempted to go into politics. I'm sorry smiling lady. I'd been out of sorts all day. The air in London was stifling, my head felt thick, I was still recovering from that hopeless struggle with Consultation 11.

Global warming is happening now, and hitting the poorest people in the world first and worst, that's why I was in London. We can't stop it, the damage that has been done will stay done for thousands of years (now why do I, a non-scientist, have to make that Job's comforter point?). But I, for one, personally, am going to continue trying to stop it getting worse. If we are addicted to tumble dryers, longhaul holidays, new cars, whatever your poison is, we can get sober. It can be done. Addicts do beat their addictions. 4 degrees of warming is unacceptable, however good it looks in a Mad Max movie. I know I won't be there (except the results of fast-track warming are unpredictable, and there I go, talking like a scientist again; so who knows). But I feel I have a lot of children, and grandchildren, and they will be there. A lot of responsibility for their world.

My Library Books

Memory of Water Emmi Itäranta Young adult (far as I can tell), climate fiction debut. Some very nice touches, a sober, gentle pace that suited the Tea Ceremony motif; nice detail, but this one felt unstructured. Like a first draft that needed another going over to pull all the threads tight. I wanted to know, for instance, what the Tea Ceremony tradition was even doing in Finland & I didn't like the drop off ending. I probably won't be looking for episode 2 unless I get a strong shove in that direction.

The Girl With All The Gifts. M.R. Carey. Not much to it: a nice, light zombie apocalypse read. Squeamish fans will be pleased to know (if nobody has told you yet) that Carey reduces his cast so dramatically (early on and without much ghastly detail), that you will be spared that Walking Dead ordeal of seeing your current favourite member of the plucky band of survivors eaten alive before your very eyes every ten pages. He can't spare a one of them until the finale! I enjoyed this, but I might skip the movie.

footnote: Climate Change not so lite. What was really going on that day in:

Climate Change Policy and Practice

postscript: To save you having to read the whole thing, Rolling Stone has done a precis of that Encyclical:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-13-most-radical-lines-from-the-popes-climate-encyclical-20150618






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