Today is November 6, 2021. “No, it’s not,” you’re probably saying. Either that, or I just made you hit peak panic mode, as usually happens with me when I don’t remember the date. Besides the fact that not knowing what date (or state) I’m living is pretty much my status quo, the reason why I mention this is because, on this day, there was a climate march.
I’d say the definition is pretty straightforward, but in a nutshell: people who care about the environment were marching for more governance on the issue of climate change. They feel not enough is being done about the inherent risks, effects and mitigation of climate change by our government.
Fun fact: I’m not sure if there is an English translation for the Dutch word demissionair, but Google will most likely tell me in a bit. Semantics are of a lesser concern, however. Why do I mention it? Because it basically means that our ministers cannot (because, I dunno, “conscience”, I think) make decisions which would have a large / significant / undermining / challenging effect on the cabinet-to-be. Translation: “Nah man, I’m not gonna do that, because you have to clean up after me,” Sounds solid, right?
But it’s not.
Some bad news…I care about climate change. I really do. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m a genuine, bonafide, certified palaeo-climatologist. Therefore, I have an inkling about what’s going to happen. The results are, well, open to interpretation, but the bad news is, basically, we’re screwed. I was once told by one of my professors that if I could snap my fingers like Thanos, and reduce all current emissions to zero, the system would take about 150 years to re-stabilise. Simply because of how CO2 works, chemically. I’ll elaborate:
There are three ways to remove an excess of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere:
1) Absorption by the oceansThese are acidifying rapidly. If you’re thinking, “so?” please google “Elmo Event” (it’s called that because an actual stuffed Elmo figure used to mark the geological boundary, and now it’s a nifty acronym).
2) TreesEvery night trees convert CO2 in O2 and sustenance for themselves. Trees are cool.
3) Chemical weathering, a.k.a. the process in which CO2 binds itself to rocksThis isn’t a quick process by the way. It’s the equivalent of time your kid needs to learn how to tie their laces, so to speak.
The bad newsHowever, our government said: “We will keep investing in operations which maintain the use of fossilised fuel.” (If they’d been transparent, they could’ve followed that statement with the explanation: “it generates money”). To put it bluntly: After attending the party, eating the free lunch, and watching how the rest made a plan to clean up the mess, we said thanks for the booze and didn’t leave any cash on the nightstand.
Dumpster-diving bumIt all reminds me of when I had the luxurious experience of some people who had a profound and very clear opinion, which they voiced to one of my friends, when they saw me rummaging about in a dumpster. In their eyes, I was a bum, rummaging through a dumpster. Little did they know that that particular moment was the moment I decided to start making art using discarded materials. Stuff people throw away because, in their eyes, it was easier replaced than repaired or reused.
For me, that moment was a turning point. Not because of my newly found career of trying to be an artist, but the realisation that it was me who could – and wants – to make a difference. Someone who inadvertently found a way to “make something out of nothing.” And I felt scrutinised by their opinion, I felt small. They made me feel like a bum.
And that’s what stings me. If we all feel like we can contribute to a world being better, why do we keep tipping the scales in our personal favour? Why do salon socialists contribute to organisations which call themselves a brand, and therefore are not working to make themselves obsolete? Why don’t we – regardless of where we are in this world, be it for love or for work or whatever – always see things and others from one perspective?
We’re all in this dumpster together, let’s figure out a way how to tidy it up a bit.
On to somethingI’m not without blemish here either, by the way. I have kids, for example. Goodbye being carbon neutral, goodbye sleep. But at least I am aware of how much stuff we throw away. And I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of marching during the day and asking for a bonfire at night. It’s all good, no judgement here. Just don’t laugh at the guy going through a dumpster. They might be on to something.