What will they achieve?

A conservationist is someone who seeks to conserve. In the case of the environment, wildlife, ecosystems and so on, a conservationist will attempt to preserve the status quo, even to turn back the clock to reinstate a previous set of circumstances. This is widely seen to be a good thing to want to do, and of course it is: The human race is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope towards a very uncertain and probably difficult future - unless something can be done.

The imminent COP26 get together in the UK is the latest and biggest attempt to stop the rot. Of course some people are already saying it is a waste of time and will be nothing more than a photo opportunity for the world leaders' Class of 21. Scott Morrison will probably be the one scowling in the back row; I don't think he is going to have a very good time of it. I wonder if he will be taking his lump of coal with him. I can almost hear Jimmy Carr saying "Scott, have you brought a mascot?" Apologies for the in joke to those readers who have yet to discover the comedic delights of '8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown'.

So these world leaders are going to convene for a while and then come out and tell the world about the new targets and strategies they will have devised and committed to, towards the salvation of the planet. 

Greta will, presumably, then tell them that they have not gone far enough and she will go on to demand action on a very necessary but completely unachievable scale. The eventual reality, the result of COP26, will be that most targets will not be met, some by a long shot. But there will be other conferences and summits, with a gradually revolving roster of leaders and the world will inch, disaster by catastrophe towards whatever future lies in wait for it.

As the planet moves along its trajectory the conservationists will be busy conserving, and the activists will be busy campaigning for change; a slightly ironic notion when I come to think of it: Isn't change absolutely the norm? Ever since the Big Bang, around 13.8 billion years ago the universe has been in a constant state of flux; continuous change at varying rates. The first few billion years were not particularly relevant to humans since Earth only coagulated around 4.5 billion years ago, and we didn't take the stage until a couple of minutes ago.

During the short time we have been in charge, or so we like to think, we have made quite an impression in our little neck of the woods and we have recently realised that things are hotting up a bit too quickly. So now we think we are going to have a couple of conferences and take some photos and put everything back on track. Really? Next time there's a clear night, step outside and look up. Can we honestly claim to be in control?


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