Thursday, October 14, 2010

'We live in a time of consequences'- Winston Churchill

I'm a little embarrassed with myself right now. This evening I went to see a documentary about climate change. To be frank, I didn't really think it would tell me anything I didn't already know. Sometimes I feel like I've developed a little bit of the apathy that I so hate seeing in other people. I read or talk about climate change nearly every day, in a scientific capacity, and I could tell you a reasonable amount about how CO2 enrichment effects plant growth, soil nitrogen cycling or ocean acidification. While I might know more about the science of it, I actually think this has warped my sense of perspective and what I saw tonight really made me think on a whole different scale.

The film is called 'Climate Refugees' and I strongly recommend it (that's a link to the website by the way, for the less technologically inclined readers who shall remain nameless).

The film avoided the usual, and honestly often trivial, issues of energy-saving-light-bulb scale and focused on broader effects on humanity and civilization. It was pretty clear, that no matter what we do now,  creation of huge numbers of displaced people ('refugees') all around the world is almost inevitable. It pointed out, quite rightly, that natural resources in one way or another are the cause of most human conflict. And that destroying arable land, fresh water sources and habitable coastal areas, in combination with increasing population, is a recipe for broadscale conflict and displacement. Displacing literally millions (perhaps half a billion) people has incredible consequences for national security- increasing pressures on unstable states, vulnerability of desperate disillusioned people to recruitment into terrorism, unmanageable immigration pressures. On a human level, it's pretty confronting. I'm not trying to overwhelm you with negativity here, but I think on the whole the film was really informative and raised some good issues to think about and act on. 

I know that people in Australia might not feel like their vote is worth much right now- but it bears consideration that emissions legislation, as well as governmental pressure to address international humanitarian laws, immigration issues and development projects etc. are really something worth pushing for. Believing short term economic excuses for inaction when you really consider the long term consequences on every aspect of life is pretty laughable.

Anyhow, that's my two cents for the evening- something I am genuinely passionate about and not just cranky because my housemate drank the last of my milk (how am I supposed to have cereal for dinner?!). Will be tempered with more amusing material soon, I promise!

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