Friday, September 18, 2009

From the local to the global

I love the comments I got about my last post and I am definitely going to respond to them in my next post (don't worry -- I haven't done with housework yet!!)

I know this seems a long way from that issue. But I just feel compelled to get down my somewhat wayward thoughts on this larger catastrophe we are confronting...

At my writers' group last night we ended up having a very lengthy discussion on art in the face of climate change. Does it make writing a novel, for example, pointless -- or is it in fact the most important thing we can do right now?

One of the group mentioned a comedian she heard the other day who said he's just waiting for the day when we destroy ourselves and the planet can get back to doing what it does best -- existing. Without us.

This idea sets my head spinning ('scuse the pun).

Humanity’s presence on this earth raises the most fundamental questions about existence.

What is it all for?

Does this planet need us? Almost certainly not.

Do we need this planet? Absolutely, yes.

Would this planet be better off without us? In our current mode of operation, yes.

So why are we here then? Is there something meaningful about the human ability to comprehend beauty, to reflect on it, to translate it into art, which perhaps then deepens our experience of it?

Is beauty meaningless otherwise?

Is it not enough that plants and animals exist for the sake of existence, feeding off each other and living in a kind of harmony, albeit based on an often brutal, primitive exchange?

How could humanity be the only creature created with such a fatal flaw — the capacity to destroy the very thing that sustains us?

Are we just an experiment — one that will make way for a better version in the future? A version with some genetic wisdom, some intrinsic understanding of the need for respect for this earth?

But then how could this experiment ever be repeated? Could the same precarious conditions that provided for our evolution ever exist again?

Has our so-called ‘civilisation’ not in fact relied on the most brutal exchange of all?

If it wasn’t for my children, I could almost be content with the idea of humanity wiping itself out, as if we have proven that to be the natural order of things. We have proven our unworthiness.

Apart from love of children, though, is my love for art and ideas. Imagine a world with no art or ideas.

And for art and ideas to thrive, first we need the freedom provided by food and shelter.

I know I’ve been scaring a few of my friends lately with my dark thoughts. But these are the questions that are keeping me awake at night.

Scientists are telling us that if we achieve a global agreement on climate change in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, we may be able to save the Barrier Reef, stop 100 million people from being displaced and minimise the number and intensity of cyclones, bushfires, floods and droughts.

A Climate for Change is a fantastic site co-ordinating action on climate change. Check it out.


Kate Moore said...

Oh Lordy girl. You think. A. Lot. I'm not gunna spend a lot of time thinking about this one. It's like the housework. We all got to get in and work together. You can't just hope the missus will do it all.

Rachel Power said...

Yep. Thinking. It's a killer! But if the domestic housework problem's anything to go by, what hope have we got?!

Sally Rippin said...

This is absolutely what we really need to be thinking about - having a clean house won't matter at all if our planet becomes unlivable!
This is a sign of hope that there are others thinking about these things:

Kate Fernyhough said...

Hi, I just stumbled across your blog, and it's so interesting!! the housework debate and then global warming. I do worry that I should be doing something, but that anything I do will just be a drop in the ocean. Also that not doing anything and making art instead feels like fiddling while Rome burns...
Best wishes