Let's face it, the turnout at Saturday's Climate Change march, whether the BBC estimate of 300 or the organiser's 500, was poor. A climate crisis billed as threatening the very future of humankind could only get a handful of humans out on the street. In the circumstances the media coverage we achieved was generous helped by the spectacle of a the erection of a fracking rig outside the House of Parliament.
Chatting in the crowd we speculated why with Hurricane Sandy, the floods
in the UK, harvest failures in the US, more people were not concerned
enough to come out. We joked that perhaps we needed the Thames Barrier
to fail and Westminster to flood, before MPs took notice. After all it was
only when the stench of the Thames got severe enough to penetrate the
Palace of Westminster that action was taken to build a proper sewage
However, also on Saturday, Anne Karpf's article in the Guardian LINK
reviewed the recently published Engaging with Climate Change,
Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives LINK .
Confessing to being a 'Climate-Change Ignorer' she says despite not being
a sceptic she 'tunes out' when she hears apocalyptic warnings about global
The fuse that trips the while circuit is a sense of helplessness. Whatever steps I take to counter global warming, however well-intentioned my brief bursts of zeal, they invariably end up feeling like like too little, too late. The mismatch between the extremely dangerous state of the earth and my own feeble endeavours seems mockingly large.She goes on to describe some of the coping mechanisms described in the
book, including blame-shifting, technoptimism, hedonistic fatalism and
dark optimism. It is argued, against the view of my colleague Brian Orr,
that apocalyptic warnings are counter productive:
As Ed Miliband has observed, Martin Luther King never inspired millions by saying 'I have a nightmare'.I would argue that the sense of helplessness is caused by the failure of
politicians, governments and the UN, to face the crisis head on. It is as
if, faced with the Nazi menace in the second war, the government had,
rather than mobilise troops and the economy and pour money into production
and research, instead asked everyone just to perform the home front
task of digging for victory. Of course people would have felt helpless as
German troops massed at the channel and bombs fell on our cities.
Politicians now are in the equivalent position of those who ignored or
down-played the rise of Nazism for fearing of frightening the people.
Here in Brent, in our own small way, following the briefing for councillors
and the public, a paper has been produced outlining the extent of the
crisis and some ideas for moving forward. A copy is available by
clicking the link below:
Another dimension is making a link between the current economic crisis
and climate change and on Sunday the following resolution from Green
Left was passed by an overwhelming majority at the AGM of the Coalition
This conference notes that the current economic crisis is closely
Llnked to a global ecological crisis particularly involving human
caused climate change,. Neither crisis, in so far as they can be
separated, is soluble under capitalist socio-economic arrangements. Technological fixes and geo-engineering enacted under capitalism
can only be short term at best, since ecologically damaging forms
of consumption and production are engendered and maintained by capitalism.
We therefore call on the coalition of resistance to recognise this publicly and include combating climate change in its campaigning agendas.