Happenings

 It is said that there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what's happening.


A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a meeting of Greypower in Cambridge where a group of senior students from Cambridge High School were to speak on a variety of topics around the theme of what concerns them as they move from school to further education and life beyond. Climate change was, of course, high on the list.

I attended the meeting and, apart from the apparently mandatory overuse of the word 'like', the students were articulate, confident, and possessed of eminently sensible viewpoints.

I concur with Michael Cole's assessment in his letter to the editor last week, where he wrote that these students will become "worthy citizens of our country".


A couple of days later I met with two senior students from St Peter's School. This was a meeting I had requested by telephoning the school and asking to be introduced to the students who might best represent the environmental concerns and efforts of the school as a whole.

I spent an enjoyable and informative forty minutes or so in the company of the two genuine and pleasant students with whom I had been put in touch.


Since these two encounters I have been trying to find the right word to express my summary of the students' attitudes towards climate change.


And the word, even though it's not really a word, is ‘underwhelming’.


That's an unexpected shame isn't it?


Please do not think I am seeking to disparage any of these fine young people; they have enough to deal with without having to shoulder responsibility for the state of the world into which they have relatively recently arrived.

They all, without exception, expressed the view that climate change is a serious issue, which needs urgent attention. Just not quite serious or urgent enough to warrant the kind of single-minded demeanour of someone like say, Greta Thunberg, or Ollie Langridge - the man who protested against climate change inaction outside parliament for 100 consecutive days.


It highlights the phenomenon though, that something can be so huge, so all-important, and simultaneously so underrated.  Make no mistake, climate change is a future-defining issue, so how can it be so dehorned in the public psyche for so much of the time, despite incessant waves of dire headlines? 


The answer is: That's just what we humans are like, and we need the movers and shakers to make things happen.


I once read a book in which the author asserted that it is easier to throw away a dollar a day for years, than it is to throw away a Rolex watch. Who in their right mind would press the button that would bring destruction to life as we know it?  Yet that is exactly what is happening; every day our planet inches further along the road to irreparable damage.


We should thank those who make things happen for any chance we may have of a future. What I find worrying is that the rest of us might be sleepwalking into the apocalypse.


By the way - last month I mentioned the climate strike event in Cambridge on Friday 20th September.  I'm afraid I jumped the gun - due to clashes with mock exams these events are all taking place on Friday 27th September. 


If you can't make it to Worley Place in Hamilton, which is the main event, be at the Cambridge town hall 12:00PM Friday 27th September.


Make something happen - paint a banner and be there!

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