It’s a warm, sunny, summer’s day. A group of walkers are enjoying the view from an exposed ridge on the Galloway Hills. A shower forms not far away and builds rapidly into a thunderstorm with hail. As if from nowhere a violent squall hits the walkers. One of them, with the wrong footwear for slippery ground, loses balance and falls from the ridge. A call goes out to mountain rescue. It’s an emergency.
Members of the mountain rescue team drop what ever they were doing. With equipment packed ready for just such an emergency, they are away within minutes focused completely on the task in hand. It’s an emergency that takes precedence over everything else. That extra degree or so of heating in the atmosphere meant there was just that bit more moisture and energy to have made the thunderstorm severe enough to claim a casualty.
What we human beings have done in the name of progress in recent centuries has hidden a time bomb in the economic system we created. This time bomb consists of billions of potential incidents, some small some large, that we speak of generically as the “climate emergency”. We do not know exactly where each will explode into an individual, community, national or species tragedy.
Incrementally each little bit every one of us can do to change our lifestyles has the chance of just making that tiny extra bit of difference that will mean that somewhere in the world a tragedy is averted. The message from “Extinction Rebellion” is that this is way way not enough. The “growth” mantra has to stop being used now by governments, business and the media as a measure of success. In stead a reframing process is required that makes the norm one where new indicators are used routinely by the media to let us know where we’re at in tackling the emergency and no longer deceives us with the panacea of unlimited “growth”.
The message is clear. This is an emergency! Be prepared and trained like the mountain rescue team. Find meaning, purpose, camaraderie in abandoning life’s trivia and feel the joy of being part of the greatest and most needed movement in human history. There is a climate emergency. Fortunately we have the knowledge and are privileged to be those who have within our power the means to act. If we wish we can avert billions of individual tragedies which would otherwise happen over the coming centuries if we do nothing.
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