The Editor of this august publication has gently chided me for negativity. Always looking on the dark side of life, as it were. And that’s a fair comment. Some are unhappy, says the Editor, that roses have thorns. I am happy, he says, that thorns have roses. And so say all of us.
So, from me now on it’s the cup half-full, not the semi-empty tumbler.
However, just before I start morris dancing, wearing flowers in my hair, and declaiming pastoral verse of the idyllic school all over the province, I’d like just more small crack. Then it’s the joys of spring from me from here on in. I promise.
This morning the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Banky Moon, said the world was facing climate catastrophe. And if the next round of climate change talks in Copenhagen in December didn’t result in dramatic and binding reductions in greenhouse gases, we were all buggered with a capital B. (Those were not his exact words but a fairly literal interpretation.)
Shortly after that, the Royal Society in the UK put out its latest data suggesting that ice melt, oceanic acidification, etc. is happening faster than anticipated, and within thirty years we could be seeing serious and irreversible damage to the planet with, as Banky says, catastrophic consequences.
The only serious global response has come from China. Firstly, it’s grabbing as many of the global resources as it can lay its hands on with absolutely no regard for ethics morality or the long term good of the nations it’s buying the resources from. And secondly, it’s building up the biggest military machine the world has ever seen so that when the crunch comes they can walk into any country in the world and grab their resources the way the pakeha walked into Taranaki 140 years ago.
There is an almost exact historical parallel between the threat of fascism in the thirties and the threat of climatic annihilation in the present day. Apart from Churchill and one or two others, no one wanted to know about Hitler or Mussolini despite incontrovertible evidence as to their intentions. Hitler spelled out his program in Mein Kampf in 1923, but no one took any notice because no one wanted to believe the bad news. Al Gore is no Winston Churchill … but he is the modern equivalent.
If you believe that Banky and the Royal Society are right or even half right, you should get out the door with your shovel, planting tree after tree until the landscape is covered with the little carbon-eating suckers … and so should everyone else on the planet.
I am somewhat pessimistic about the outcome of the Copenhagen summit. I suspect that we are seriously up the creek and that, unlike the dinosaurs, we face extinction by design, rather than accident.
As any farmer will tell you, Nature doesn’t take any prisoners and the gates of the goal house are closing fast.
So that’s it folks. My last and final and never-to-be-repeated doomsday scenario.
In the meantime, spring has come to the valley. And nature, resplendent in all its beauty, makes it feel good to be alive … even as the carbon creeps up to get us.
(In my next column I will discuss the joys of morris dancing and how to grow tomatoes in a waterless desert.)