As the climate crisis escalates and we begin laying track for Fury Roads, most of us are living our lives much as before, enjoying the bliss of ignorance. It’s a society-wide combover, with all of us pretending not to notice the very clear bald patches poking through. But even with our eyes closed and our fingers in our ears, climate breakdown will keep on trucking. Here’s how, Buzzfeed style:
1. Emissions are rising, not falling
While influencers bang on about their plastic-free bathrooms helping to turn the tide, the inconvenient truth is that greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. In fact, as apocalypse soothsayer David Wallace-Wells tweeted recently, almost a third of all human-made carbon emissions have been pumped out since Al Gore booted up Powerpoint. We have learned nothing, lol!
2. We’re still missing the goddam point
Every time Extinction Rebellion knackers someone’s commute with their post-PETA “Look at me” activism, we spend more time complaining about their protest than the thing they’re protesting. That thing being the annihilation of the species by human-made climate change. It’s like complaining about Martin Luther King clogging up bridges.
3. We are all three of those eyes/ears/mouth monkeys
This is all part of our society-wide denial. For example: Eight of the ten highest global temperatures ever recordedhave come in the last ten years, and all ten since 2005. In the past few months we’ve seen Canada catching fire and the US hitting three-figure Fahrenheits. And just last year our bottom lips quivered at the sight of melting koalas. And yet, as heatwaves, droughts and wildfires hit us more regularly, we’ve decided to rebrand them into something far less frightening: Hot Girl Summer.
4. Boy howdy, do we like money
We’ve known for decades the harm we’re doing to the planet, but much like tobacco companies with human lungs, the fossil fuel industries have tried to supress, counter and ignore the very clear evidence of the damage they’re doing. As far back as 1979, Exxon – not known for their love of lentils, sandals and tie-dye – knew they’d cause “dramatic environmental effects” if they kept at it. Naturally they did keep at it because, yes, they might cause irreversible climate breakdown and, yes, they might kill several billion humans, but their shareholders are keen on yachts. You see the bind they’re in?
5. We like the smiling face of death
These genocidal capitalists have the audacity to greenwash their pollution, cramming a leaf into their corporate logo, sponsoring exhibitions on the history of trees, and pledging net zero by the year 3,000. And we’re lapping it up. Churches, museums and sporting events are all happy to take cash from these CHUDs. Even COP26, the crucial climate summit everyone’s got a semi for, is sponsored by fossil fuel companies!
6. Again, we really do like money
Meanwhile, in the hunt for decent returns, pension funds continue to invest in fossil fuel companies, and tons of universities refuse to divest from them, betting against their own students’ futures even as they bill them for degrees that will be useless on a burned earth.
7. We’ve all been suckered by corporate bait and switch
While the earth is being destroyed by genocidal polluters straight out of Captain Planet, we’ve taken our eye off the ball so completely that if the ball mugged us we couldn’t identify it in a line up. We’ve somehow allowed ourselves to believe it’s all about us making small changes. We’re using Bags For Life while governments are approving new coal mines and oil fields. We’re boiling just enough water for our cup of tea while 20% of all household water is lost to industrial leaks and piss-poor resource management. We’re blaming ourselves instead of them, and losing anyway.
8. Death by Cheeky Nandos
Now, we definitely do need to make individual changes, against the backdrop of systemic change. But we’re even ballsing that up. We’ve all seen billboards telling us the meat and dairy industry are among the most polluting in the world, and that going vegan – or even cutting down a bit – is the best thing we can do as individuals. And we’re still not doing it. We are genuinely willing to wipe out billions of human beings and other creatures because we like the taste of fucking bacon. What are we like?!
9. We are literally clutching at straws
With veganism, veggieness and meatless Mondays all out the window we’ve chosen the hill we will literally die on: Single-use straws. We’re Gramming our reusable bamboo straws like they alone will keep us out of post-apocalyptic Thunderdomes. You can get back to school, Greta! We’ve got this! Our cocktails are carbon neutral!
10. We invented bags for death
We’ve even ballsed up bags for life! The idea of the carrier bag charge was to reduce the amount of plastic bags we get through. Instead, because the missing link between humans and apes is apparently a lemming, we each get through about 54 bags for life every year. And they’re made with thicker plastic than the thin, single-use bags we used to use. It’s a level of self-own usually reserved for Eric Trump’s Twitter feed.
11. Again, we are still missing the goddam point
Edmund Burke once said “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” Well, Edmund, in the age of climate breakdown, no one made a greater mistake than they who only did a little because they thought they were doing enough. If we’re all pissing about with straws and carrier bags but still driving petrol-fuelled cars, still chowing down on meat and dairy, still using fossil fuels for electricity, still turning our noses up at climate activists, we’re turning up to a housefire with a thimbleful of water, chucking it on the flames and saying, “Gotta be better than nothing, amirite?”
What we need is people taking climate change seriously, doing what we need to do as individuals and as a society, taking this very real existential threat seriously. Because people caring about this, doing something about it, actually engaging with this crisis to save ourselves, is fetch.
By which I mean it’s not going to happen. Enjoy Love Island, everyone!
Photo credit: The Zero