Lifestyle Sensibilities and Remedies in a Changing Climate: Introduction
It seems cliché to write about something that really shouldn’t need writing about in an ideal world. But we are living in any thing but. And probably never will. Seeing that everyones’ idea of an ideal world is different. Even among your closest friends the minutest of details can set off a chain of preferences that do enough to create a fundamentally different ‘ideal world.’
At the core of everyone’s preference is set of complex values that are dynamic and always being challenged and/or changed. Values is very much the motivation for this work. That there should be a sensibility about the way we live our lives in a changing climate. Understanding the many different variations of everyone’s perfect world and finding this harmony with our earth is possibly the most monumental task mankind is facing. What is particularly hard about this is our acceptance that a lot of the things we called progress, must now be altered. Some would say it means going backward. And to many people in the developing world, for instance, who have had the image of progress framed as western urbanisation, and everything traditional chastised as uncivilised, it seems an annoyance that we should turn away from the carbon fuelled modernity that the West achieved (and that everyone has been told to work toward in one way or another). But in turning backward, it is only to pave a more holistic route onward. We cant go back to those times, so we must endeavour to merge the right ideals from before with the right ideals of now, so the days that follow are easier. Note the choice of the word ‘easier.’
What climate change, and our inability to deal with it has exposed is the failure of modernity. Unfortunately this circumstance has yet to set-in for most of us. We still follow the religion of economic growth, unfettered globalisation, and blindly praise technological advancement. The base for these ideals is the big one itself, capitalism. No one can deny that capitalism has spurred human civilisation to a sort of apex. But at the same time it has unleashed a wave of forces that might prove detrimental to our continued peaceful coexistence with earth. Thus, our existence. If it isn’t clear to you by now that global governmental institutions like the UN, nation-state governments, and other global organisations can not fix the problem, then you are fooling yourself. In sustainability science we consider the three spheres society that is; government, economy, and culture (increasingly we look at technology) as the levers by which we can turn toward sustainability. The first two (gov and economy) have proven to be complacent and incompetent in delivering a full steady plan for true sustainability. Not this fake sustainability that involves replacing all fuel powered sources with renewable energy (Not that we have been successful with that anyway). Basically another way of putting a plaster over a deep wound and calling it healed. What we need is the much needed hard version which at its core involves asking ourselves basic questions about how we live our lives on a daily basis. And what motivates ‘us’ to do so. Because the real solution to dealing with climate change comes from our culture. And ‘us’, on an individual level, coming to terms with how we are contributing to the problem. Then ‘us’ on a wider scale, agreeing to how we will all manage in our own backyards, and front yards, what we can do.
In the end there is enough space for us to have these sensibilities to the earth, and for ourselves achieving what we want at the end of the day. The thing that drives us individually and collectively. Family. Success. Fulfilment. Tranquility. Peace. We will have to cut back. That is for sure. And this wont even stop climate change actually. Fat chance . What it’ll do is prepare ‘us’, humanity and our children, for the next epoch. Reigning us toward a truly sustainable coexistence and flourishing. These things can be achieved while still maintaining a healthy relationship with earth. And it is my goal to achieve that in this body of work.
So what do I mean by this body of work? Well I hope to write a number of essays/short stories that touch on aspects of these lifestyles changes we should be considering. This is not me preaching. I will never preach. And certainly not me proposing a sermon, but rather an honest take on how I am dealing with these pressing behavioural changes in my own life. How I attempt to change my own ways to be more in keeping of what is generally prescribed as the way we should live our lives in a changing climate.