Monday, December 10, 2012

Climate change: Think of the children!


Don't get us wrong, we rather liked Lydia Millet's piece in the New York Times yesterday, The Child's Menagerie. It was beautifully written as she usually will have it, and it made us at once nostalgic for our own oblivious youth and terrified of the future.
If we don’t act fast enough to save the icons that make up our natural birthright — which is likely since, as the record too often shows, it’s our chronic bad habit to turn our faces away from unpleasant sights, to hem and haw and finally act too late, when tragedy has already struck — we’ll be sending those children into a starker, poorer land whose many possibilities have been eternally foreclosed.
But what of those children? Isn't it ironic that her concern is for our kids, the same kids that have joined the 7 billion others who are sucking up the resources that endanger the species whose extinction Millet laments? We are those kids too, undoubtedly, but it is a stark degree of cognitive dissonance to regret the loss of polar bears in your future child's present tense when the global population is largely responsible. Surely, someone as sharp as she understands the cause and effect that birthing more humans will have on this already burdened planet. It makes us wonder how she reconciled having kids in light of it.
A future mother will most likely say, when asked if her child will meet a polar bear: No, dear. The polar bears lived a long time ago, when ice still floated on the Arctic seas. The last elephants trumpeted out their calls in Africa and India before you were even born. You have nothing to fear from a prowling lioness. Nothing at all. The army fell, she may think to herself. In the end, there were no more reinforcements to send.
Maybe just send in some Endangered Species Condoms?

Turning away from our reproductive impacts is another chronic bad habit, and its a shame that many of the people celebrating her lovely op-ed probably missed that point. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

To heck with the children- and the animals- how is global warming going to affect MY FIRST WORLD WINTER RECREATIONAL PURSUITS??

(Per the recent campaigns to warn skiers that global warming poses risks to their shredding!)

Timeless said...

I think the comment above is illustrative of what the true source of the cause is. There are no amount of materialistic fixes in the form of Scientific innovations and bogus green technologies for correcting anything. The biggest question is, "How can you heal human debased attitudes ?"

Over here in Göteborg, Sweden my wife's daughter was talking to an older Swedish woman in her late 60s about this very subject and what her grandchildren would inherit. The woman's reply was, "What the hell do I care what happens in 15 years, I'll be dead and that's their problem"

You see the real problem is a spiritual one. By that I mean qualities which make up a person's personality which for the most part are not physical, but unseen. Qualities of a personality like Love, kindness, peace, humility, etc, etc, etc. Such qualities make for better neighbours, parents, husbands, wives, employees, leaders, etc etc etc. But we don't live in a world like that. Until those questions are dealt with, Green Solutions ring hollow.

Dan said...

The number one thing to think of is kids. Not everyone agrees about what's best to do for the environment; I certainly don't fit in with the usual "Inconvenient Truth" crowd. The one thing, though, that both the old woman in Sweden and the most hard-line ideologue can see eye-to-eye about is that doing good deeds for the future is not a personal problem, but something that falls into another person's lap. Thinking of loved ones, as this story demonstrates, will give anyone pause despite their most hard-boiled convictions.