2012 was the year that the “invisible “ issue of climate change became visible to many, if not all of us.
And even though we have known about the impact for 20 years the effects weren’t immediate and there was still time for concerted government and world action. We’d sorted out ozone that way and it was a sensible effective way to deal with such problems.
There was still time ! We didn’t have to act this year surely, we rationalised in our head …and anyway, we thought, we are so unimportant in the scale of things in the world what can we do anyway? And surely mankind will be bright enough to act or at least to adapt. Surely a thinking species would not lead itself into a situation where its environment would not support its own descendants. No, we couldn’t be that stupid! Or surely there will be a technology fix ?
So …we did very little on a world scale. Our hopes built for Copenhagen when we really thought something might happen. And they were dashed- horribly. At the Doha talks no-one even held very high expectations and the questions that were asked then “If not now, when? And if not us, then who?” were not answered. They still aren’t
So we saw throughout 2012 the impact of greatly increased extremes of weather. And while the developed world somehow managed to turn its back on the massive floods in Pakistan and the incursions into the Maldives or the radical decisions to try to relocate by Kiribati , eventually some things hit home. The US broke nearly every heat record there was during 2012 and drought destroyed communities and businesses and homes throughout the year… and still it didn’t get a mention in the Presidential election.
We still got assailed with the idea of doubt by those whose business it was to make millions from pouring fossil fuel emissions into our collective atmosphere. And they still tried to tell us that there was doubt about climate change.
And as 10 days of soaring temperatures and hundreds of massive forest fires have been broadcast almost non stop on Australian TV, the strength of these fires as enhanced by climate change of .9 of 1 degree over the last 90 years had to make you ask could you even live in that country with another 3 degrees of warming predicted by the end of this century.
The world’s largest exporter of coal seems strangely blind to the emissions it is responsible for as the mining companies seek to become the major economic and political force in the country.
So are we now convinced. For most Americans, that answer is Yes.
So the next questions relate to what are you gonna do ? Your government isn’t going to fix it . Can the rest of us ?Can we actually ignore the government and through a mixture of much more proactive local government , businesses, aware consumers, universities, churches , schools and communities taking action.
Can we do it ? And if not us, who ? And if not now, when?