Saturday, 30 October 2010

In the Psychiatrist's chair

Thanks to the tireless Andy Revkin for the link

If you will indulge me for a moment. I've been trying to assimilate my recent trip to Boston ( a heavily footprinted week to attend a climate change symposium to which I was inexplicably invited). I've been trying to put the affects and effects together in my head. Some first impressions:-
The "take home" message I came away with was rather pessimistic, but curiously liberating. I was duly impressed by the comprehensive command of the issues displayed by so many, and by the genuine concern and dedication to the process of communicating the dangers, challenges and opportunities of global climate change. But I was also struck by the insularity of the whole process. I felt alienated by the sheer professionalism of the participants (apart from myself, obviously) and was constantly aware of the gulf between that world and the "reality" of my everyday experience.
On such brief experience of a nation it would be foolish to judge, (that's never stopped me before) but the impression of deep polarisation is hard to discount. So I was left with a feeling that the contrarians are far more more skilled at manipulating the discourse and that the reliance on honesty and integrity on the part of the climate-aware is poor competition to the cynicism and nous of the forces of (prideful) ignorance. This does not suggest any comfortable solutions.
I was also strongly affected by the sheer wealth of the place. The land, the infrastructure, the environment. No wonder they don't feel the potential for calamity. No wonder the American dream continues to seduce.
The curiously liberating part? Well, that's a hard one to pin down. But it boils down to an unavoidable impression that the US (and where the US goes, so goes the western world) is a generation away from addressing what it needs to address. can turn on a dime once it feels it has been granted permission to do so (thanks, Mike Bonano). So in the meantime. we keep going. When the table tips there must be nets in place to catch the crockery and that, in itself, is a noble, worthwhile and unavoidable endevour. If we conceive of that net as a cultural re-imagining, then it is possible to keep putting our shift in; to keep turning up and walking into the tide..
And the American work ethic - so honourably manifested in Mr Revkin - has a potential that a stranger cannot really calculate.
On the whole - weird, expensive and enlightening, in an "oh shit" kind of way.
Ho hum - Back to the drawing board.

On an entirely unrelated matter - Frank would just like to say to Mark "Flash" Stone (from one fictional character to another) , "Fuck you!"

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