As if Facebook weren't enough, Jonathon Poritt's seminar last week was gloom leavened with a little bit of hope. He asked us, in relation to averting the coming climate apocalypse, where we were on a 0 totally pessimistic to 10 wholly optimistic scale. The offers from the audience ranged from 2.5 to 10. The bloke at 10 said that he had to be at 10 because his job needed a positive can-do attitude. I was at 5 but only because I refuse to play optimism / pessimism games. It it had been:
0 = unlikely to hold the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees
10 = likely to hold the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees
I'd have been at 1, leaning heavily towards 0. After all, the Paris Agreement will lead to a ~3.5 degree rise – even if (a big if as nothing is enforceable) all the pledges are met. That must place me with Rupert Read – in a dark place – try this carbon countdown clock for real gloom.
Given that despair is no good for action, maybe we should all be walking with Kate Marvel. She's a climate scientist, and like Read, she's gloomy, but her writing is poetic and profound. I particularly liked this from the On Being website:
"We need courage, not hope. Grief, after all, is the cost of being alive. We are all fated to live lives shot through with sadness, and are not worth less for it. Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending. Little molecules, random in their movement, add together to a coherent whole. Little lives do not. But here we are, together on a planet radiating ever more into space where there is no darkness, only light we cannot see."