There’s no doubt that the world is not in the best shape it could be. The fact that its salvation lies with the top 0.5% people in the world (or even less, I made that percentage up) who make up the oil industry and other minor and major industries that help ‘make our lives easier’ while draining our bank account doesn’t make the prognosis any more optimistic. And yet. And yet, today I found myself protesting again with XR. We went through the motions, stamped our feet, waved the flags and banners, shouted out chants passionately, as if we were making a difference. We weren’t. We got called names. People came at us trying to tear our canvas banners from our hands, angry that we were stopping the traffic. People were trying to go about their business as if nothing was changing. Well, nothing is changing because we are only disrupting normal people’s lives. Everyday people, who have worries and concerns, possibly rushing to a hospital to see a dying grandmother. None of the fat cats, the big corporate magnates running the world were there among the people whose lives we disrupted today. I knew our protest was in vain even when I was chanting the passionate slogans about the environment. It was and still is a cause I solemnly believe in, but there’s nobody to listen. Still, it was nice to be part of a community of people who can create the illusion of making a difference.
We aren’t making a difference, but at least we’re tricking ourselves into thinking we are. What else is there to do? Sit around and wait to die? Wait for the permafrost to melt? Take action. I’ve personally reduced my carbon footprint as much as I could. I’ve almost gone vegan, I don’t have children (why should I want to bring children into this world?), I don’t drive, I don’t use plastic unless I have no choice. I know one or two people who have done the same and who know one or two people in their turn, and so on.
We impose all these things on ourselves because we feel shamed into it. We are shown pictures of birds, whales and other creatures dead, with their stomachs full of plastic. The oceans are full of plastic, the corals are dying, the animals are dying. We have a conscience. We know what needs to change and we are starting with the one in the mirror. But when there is no balance of power, when the 70% of the world’s global gas emission comes from only 100 big fat oil companies, it makes you feel quite small and your effort quite insignificant. Yes, Greta Thurnberg is to be commended for her will and her resilience. She’s a very brave kid and she knows the monster we are dealing with. But the monster has many heads and only $ in its eyes and in its pockets. How do we stop feeding it and still live a normal life. The world’s brightest minds have found solutions, I’m told, but I’m also told they’re not profitable. Why give the world something for free when you can charge them?
I am so angry. I am angry at my inability to make peace with a world that is burning, a world that has stopped caring and is wallowing in apathy. And what do I do? Do I abandon it all and say carpe diem, every man for himself? Why not, it’s the end of the world, life be damned! Do it while you can! Treat yourself, you deserve it! It’s Mad Max Revisited, with bonus scenes.
Don’t believe in the fight, it’s doomed from the start. It’s doomed from the start not because there are only a few of us. There are millions of us around the world crying alongside Australia, weeping for the Amazon. But what good are our cries for, when the powers that be, the powers that can change everything won’t, because there’s no profit in it. There’s profit in keeping people feeling unhappy, anxious, angry and wishing they could do something to take the edge off. Don’t worry about what you can’t change, here’s a 20% discount at Asos! Treat yourself!
The fight is doomed from the start because the world’s richest 22 people are richer than the whole of the African continent, according to a fresh article doing the rounds on social media today. Do we believe it? Does it matter if it was 22 or 100? The fact is: the world is in the hands of the big corporations who have already pillaged this earth dry. We need a mass revolution. We live on borrowed time. It’s 100 seconds to midnight.