|Image from: Pho.to|
Rose-tinted however, are not the only style of glasses we can wear. Over the past decade or two we have become accustomed to wearing carbon-tinted glasses. There are many within the climate change movement wearing these glasses, and many too (sadly) within the environmental movement.
What do I mean? First, I’ll briefly outline how we have come to be wearing carbon-tinted glasses, and then secondly, point out how those glasses blinker us.
What are carbon-tinted glasses?
Since we began to learn about climate change (from the time that it was known as the “greenhouse effect” and on) we have slipped into our western pattern of attributing linear thinking and a simplistic cause and effect mentality. It goes like this: 1. The atmosphere is warming up, 2. It is warming up because of the build-up of carbon, 3. Carbon is being added to the atmosphere because of human causes, 4. Primarily, the burning of fossil fuels, 5. What is the solution? 6. Replace fossil fuels as the source of energy with “renewable” energy sources (particularly solar and wind.)
Central to this linear thinking is the role of carbon. Within this tightly framed mindset the issue becomes simply one of reducing carbon.
Thus, we get blinkered by our seeing the world through carbon-tinted glasses.
What are we blinkered to?
When the issue of climate change is viewed through these carbon-tinted glasses our view becomes blinkered. A few of the ways we become blinkered are that we are unable to see:
· The inter-related problem of biodiversity loss,
· That electricity demand is increasing, often at a faster pace than the availability of “renewable” sources,
· That solar panels and wind turbines both require fossil fuels to produce. Other sources of energy (including renewables) are simply unable to generate the heat required to make solar panels and wind turbines,
· That minerals still need to be mined from the earth to make “renewable” energy components,
· That mining leads to environmental destruction, and social dislocation (often of indigenous communities,)
· In some cases the minerals required are extremely limited in supply, and will not be available in sufficient quantities to enable “renewables” to replace fossil fuels,
· That the promotion of “renewables” as replacement for fossil fuels continues to feed the techno-industrial mindset – a mindset that says progress is “good” and that continued growth is a measure of well-being,
· That this message conveys a “false-hope” that everything will be okay, so long as we switch to “renewables,”
· That we have already reached (possibly surpassed) at least three of the global tipping points, beyond which we have no opportunity to halt climate change.
We must remove our carbon-tinted glasses and look around us. We must look at a much bigger picture than simply the warming-carbon-renewables small thinking. The sooner we do so the better.
This blog should be read with two riders:
Rider 1. This blog should not (repeat – not) be read as being in favour of fossil fuels. If the climate change movement is blinkered by carbon-tinted glasses, then the fossil fuel industry is stuck in an oil slick marsh, weighed down by heavy boots made with coal. In other words, it is immobile, and is obdurately sticking where it is.
Rider 2. This blog should not be read as suggesting that we may all just as well fall into despair, lethargy, and inaction. A sporting analogy may help. Imagine that you are on a team (let’s say a Rugby League, or basketball, or Aussie Rules team.) Your team is trailing by thirty points and there is one minute to go. Do you stop playing? Do you give up? Do you go and sit on the sidelines and wait for the final whistle? I have never seen a team do that. Why should we?