after all, survival is not mandatory

Admittedly, I've been a bit slack on the blogging front. Sometimes life takes over and for all intent purposes, that so-called 'life' creates a healthy buffer. You can become too preoccupied with one thing, the thing in this case being the climate/sustainability/human nexus space that I so like to occupy.

I sometimes have to remind people that foremost, I am a journalist and not an environmentalist. This means while plugging the green message, I tend not to abide by it. If you really want my honest opinion on matters of global warming, resource scarcity, carbon dynamics et al then buy me a beer and I'll spend an evening with you chewing the cud on these well-trodden issues.

See, having spent eight years reporting in this field, I tend to write the same stories again and again ... not much really changes. And so, forgive my cynicism, but I believe the belly of human nature is to chew that cud, to debate, to go round in verbal circles. Have I ever left a conference feeling that all that talk will get crystallised into action? Rarely.

I take a philosophical view of this climate mess we find ourselves in. If you have ever studied philosophy (and I have not) you'll know that most of the great philosophers ended up at roughly the same conclusion: that what will be, will be, and ultimately our words - and actions, should we dare embark on such change ambition - are futile.

So faced with such a pointless scenario, should we collapse in a sorry heap and fret needlessly? No. Global warming, ice cooling ... climatic shifts at their most basic are about evolution. Of both the planet itself, and the species scattered across it. Climate moves us forward, in a way that is necessary.

We might very well be sowing the seeds of our extinction. But hey, look at it this way - the dinosaurs made way for us. Surely it is only right that some day we repay the favour.

You might not agree with these sentiments, but I'd almost expect that. Humans have an alarming capacity for arrogance. Despite my ambivalence on paper, in reality I don't quite let myself off the hook - I do have a moral code that I try to follow as best I can. Yep, humans are also walking contradictions.

For instance it might surprise you to learn that I have never driven a car. Nor wanted to. I prefer to cycle, although occasionally I fall off. One has to earn their carbon stripes (and scars) after all. The point I am making is this – the reason I cycle is not motivated by footprint guilt, but by passion for the pedal. If I really wanted to do something about my footprint, I’d get off and walk.

One of the world’s most eminent thinkers in the sustainability arena, Walter Stahel, coined it best when he said: “You don’t have to do any of this, survival is not mandatory”.

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