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Not waving but drowning

January 27, 2017

If, like me, you wake everyday with a stone of foreboding in your belly, check the news to discover the world is a little worse, and stumble through your day under the heaviest pall of despair, then you’re not having the best 2017 either – I’m sorry.

Is this a new Dark Ages, this deliberate political, cultural, societal regression?

I’m sure there have been a thousand analyses of how we got into this darkly farcical horror show – and I mean the Trump presidency and Brexit disasters specifically, rather than the continuing awfulness happening to people Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, etc etc – but to be honest, one of my few comforts at the moment is my social bubble made up of kind, intelligent people who are also appalled by this new “post-fact”, mean era.

So what hope, can I give? And, yes, there is always hope!

Even though these recent political changes in Britain and the US will hurt people (generally the most vulnerable) and local environments, around the world nations are already committed to developing clean energy, to environmental protection and conservation, to curbing pollution and recognising women’s and minority rights. Certainly there is a long way to go, but in general, poverty is going down, and there is ever greater recognition that we need to protect our shared environment. For example, China has just cancelled several coal power stations that had already been commissioned; globally, new power generation from renewables is now greater than from fossil fuels; the world’s largest marine park was protected in Antarctica last year by the EU and 24 countries. This momentum will continue, I think, in spite of anti-science policy in the US.

And, we should not overestimate the power of governments. They move slow and dull in a fast world. I have seen for myself countless examples of remarkable individuals, communities, organisations, and businesses that make an extraordinary difference to the everyday lives of others. In our networked, global world, such people can only have greater power.

Feel free to cheer me up with your words of hope and inspiration 🙂



6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2017 10:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Primate's Progress and commented:
    Not all the news is bad; but strange times, when we have to welcome leadership from China.

    Wandering Gaia is Gaia Vince,author of the award-winning Adventures in the Anthropocene, part of the emerging literature that welcomes the challenge of positively managing the planet.

  2. Chris permalink
    January 28, 2017 10:40 am

    While the USA invests in yesterday’s dirty, expensive technology, China is spending some 360 billion on renewables over 4 years which globally are cheaper. They will own the new technology ( storage?). Then demand for fossil fuels should drop. Perhaps that is why Trump is rushing to get them out of the ground, burnt and into the air before they become redundant. May be time and market forces will cause him to fail!

    Perhaps we are seeing another empire dying. C18/19 was British, C20 was American. Will C21 be China?

    • January 31, 2017 3:35 am

      A hopeful plug for a new book “Earth In Human Hands” by David Grinspoon. Just started it, hard to put down.

  3. Adrian D. permalink
    January 30, 2017 4:51 pm

    I remain optimistic and so should you – not least becauses of the people you talk of and have written about. In an only ever-so-slightly tweaked world the United States could easily have elected a self-professed Socialist last year – and a Jewish one at that.

    Movements are developing and people are being radicalised – just look at the numbers who marched the other weekend – these aren’t signs of regression to the Dark Ages – even if the current levels of inequality have already surpassed those of feudal times.

    Becareful of the idea of post-facts too – much of the furore is a handy tool of the corporate media who have played the game for years and are now desperate to cling to the veneer of their objectivity. They’re desperate to restrict their narratives to certain approved outlets and this must be resisted.

    No this is not going to be easy, but it’s a process that had to be gone through sooner or later – and frankly I’m happy with the sooner – the stakes are that high.

  4. January 31, 2017 11:05 pm

    Provided he doesn’t blow us up, perhaps Trump is the event that we have needed to shock the Western world out of its current political malaise. Many Western countries are stuck in a process of transactional politics, with a lack of communication of a vision for the future. Odd that this should occur at a time of such radical change, when so many people are fearful of the future. Trump’s appeal is as a transformational leader – not that this necessarily means that it is in a good direction. Hitler was also transformational! But he may prompt debate about what we really do need. Its been a long time since we’ve had marches of the size that occurred in the 70-80s against nuclear weapons. Good to see people being rallied again! With luck, some sensible global leaders will emerge that will inspire the community.

  5. Penny permalink
    May 7, 2017 6:46 pm

    Loved the programme on Costa Rica and your interesting and reveting delivery. Such a wonderful country with your terrific explanations and enthusiasm. Well done.

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