Can we be bothered?
I wonder if this is it. All this interminable rain - is it climate change or just some inclement weather? I have no idea whether we are experiencing more rain than normal for this time of year. I don't even know what normal is. I do know that one of the predicted consequences of climate change is more extremes of weather and they do seem to be happening. The highest temperature ever recorded on earth - since humans have been measuring it anyway - happened just recently in California - that's an extreme. Sea levels are, in fact, rising. Stories of storms and tempests across the globe seem to be ever more frequent on the news.
But are they? It certainly seems that they are, but we can't be 100% certain unless we count them and compare the statistics with past figures. This is why we need science. Scientists count and measure things, and then, using knowledge and expertise gained through years of study and research, they attempt to draw conclusions from the information they have gathered.
I once read that a fool knows he is right whilst a wise man realises he may be wrong.
Scientists always accept the possibility that they may be wrong; it comes with the territory since they are dealing with subjects which usually include a fair bit of the unknown. Many people, like teenagers, on the other hand, are often unassailably right, even when the knowledge they bandy has been gleaned from a quick five minutes on the internet. One must forgive the teenagers though, it has been scientifically proven that they are not right in the head. I remember being one, it was great, and so were my twenties and thirties. Things only started getting serious after that.
Anyway, back to climate change: I met a man in the street a few months ago who proclaimed "Climate change - it's official!". I felt a brief surge of vindication, as I'm sure does everyone who has their view supported quite so unequivocally. It was short-lived though, as he flashed up a picture of golden leaves on his phone and concluded "It's autumn!".
This is what we're up against - we who accept that climate change is an issue which has been caused by the activities of humans, which unchallenged will cause untold human suffering, and which can be halted and even reversed by immediate, comprehensive, and decisive action.
We're up against flat out denial, procrastination, resistance to change, the momentum of existing big business, and good old apathy: Try as we might we are unable to - we just can't - it's not that we don't want to - we just can't - be bothered.
I wonder whether there is, in fact, enough combined desire for the necessary change to make it happen, or will we, as a global community, slide towards a very much more difficult future than might otherwise have been possible simply because we couldn't be bothered to reach out and grab the rail.