Cloudy skies and storms ahead

As I sit in a ski lodge in the Bear Valley area of California, reading some of my friends posts on Facebook, I am not so happy today. It’s cloudy here and a big storm is on the way, but that is nothing compared to the one that humanity is facing. So far on this blog, I have been talking of the small things in life a lot of the time, like my travels, the van, the terrain, etc.

Today I am feeling different. Maybe because I am tuning into like minded individuals who are concerned about the same environmental issues that first came into my mind when I was a teenager 40 years ago. Things which felt so dismal and out of my control then, that the only way I could cope was by ignoring them for many years. Instead I hid in the corporate world of status and success from the late 70s until the mid 90s, thinking that if I made a comfortable life for myself I would be okay. But that solved nothing.

Now all these years later, things are worse than they were then: the world population has more than doubled, resources are drying up and Co2 is rising all the time. Yet there is something different that gives me hope. I am no longer feeling alone and powerless. Through social media, I can connect with others and not be a lone voice in the wilderness. This morning, I am meeting some new people on-line, introduced through my Facebook friends. People whose websites and blogs talk about what really happened at the Copenhagen Summit, speak of the danger that the human species is facing and who hope to raise awareness and motivate the kinds of behavioral change that we as a race need to make.

This past week my thoughts have been returning to the troubling question:
How can so many people still continue to focus on the minutiae of daily living and apparently not see what is staring us in the face – that essential resources like water and air will not be sufficient for our needs and that our human race is an endangered species?

As I look around the ski resort it seems very much ‘business as usual’  … but who am I to make assumptions! Who knows what is in another person’s head or heart, on their radar or in their consciousness?  Maybe they are just doing what I was (and will no doubt do again): closing their eyes and their senses to the world around us and enjoying play time, as the only way of coping that they know how?

“A storm is approaching”, the weather channel said last night. A big snow storm with incredibly high winds (100 miles per hour, I must have misheard, must have, surely). My mind wonders …..
What would happen if the storm that is forecast is even bigger? How would we all cope if it’s a white-out later today and if no-one can leave to go back to their comfy accommodations? What if the power goes, if we are all stranded here and have to share the resources? Will we befriend each other and share our water and food, will we converse and consider ways to minimize our consumption, will we collaborate to find a way forward … or will our ‘flight or fight’ instinct bypass our frontal lobes and our reptilian brains come to the fore in a battle of survival of the fittest?

(by Carole Brown, the Van’s driver)


3 Responses

  1. I may be concerned about where we as a human race are heading, yet I am also comforted that communities like the ones we’ve visited recently, do exist. The YesWeCan CamperVan is being followed on twitter by @MagnanimusWines, who posted this link from the Ukiah Community blog on WordPress.

  2. Your blog post addresses just about THE most important issue of this century and yet, as you say, people seem unaffected by it.

    I believe that our global media is playing a vital role in our anaesthetisation (if there is such a word): by keeping us hooked on celebrity trivia and exposing us to ‘selling’ messages dozens of time every day, it has blurred the line between news and gossip. As such, whenever environmental issues are raised in the media, they get absorbed into the superficial nonsense that are the top ‘stories’ of the day.

    The next point must be: what can I do about it? Well, it might not be huge but I do take responsibility for my own behaviour:
    * I do not buy newspapers and glossy magazines
    * I recycle what I can even though this is very difficult in the town where we live]
    * I do not drive unless I absolutely have to
    * I check the provenance of the food I buy and favour local products
    It’s not much but it is something I can do and it stops me blaming ‘others’ for our current climactic plight. Keeping focused on my own behaviour also stops me from falling into passive despair.

    I have no doubt we will have to be hit by a disastrous climatic event before the media take this issue on board as their ‘top story’ of the day, and we take our situation seriously.

    How would we behave if a resource disaster struck? I expect it would be Lord of the Flies all over again… A bit pessimistic, I know :0)

    Keep on trucking, keep writing, and keep your chin up xxxxxx

  3. Gabrielle, Thanks very much for your comment. I had received an email from an American friend to say that this post had resulted in a very negative gut reaction and so I took it down to re-think what I’d written and how I’d expressed myself! With your comment, I have re-posted it, with a few edits: self imposed ones actually, because I thought I sounded self-righteous and downright judgmental in parts.
    It’s good to provoke different reactions. And maybe the responses were in part due to cultural differences. I’m a Brit, you are French and she is American. Tribes – indeed, we are !!!!

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