Ramblings on environmentalism and climate change

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(BluePrints Staff Photo // Dustin Braden)

BY NICK BYGRAVE (’15)

The question as to how we are supposed to save our doomed planet has been shoved down our throats for years now. Climate change and the multitude of problems that come with it, is happening. But the people with the authority to tell us have been using a method that I find really annoying. They seem to be avoiding being the bearer of bad news, when that is exactly what they are. It’s their job to figure out what to do and tell us how to do it, that’s it. But instead they try to insist that trying to sort it out has always been an opportunity or a pleasure, and something we should have been doing for years anyway. When in reality, it’s just a thing. A really depressing thing that’s happening. But the people who tell us so always seem to be radiating one or both of the parental standbys “I warned you this would happen” or “Hey! Cleaning up can be fun!”

These environmentalists are wrong, and if we add the people that stand by perhaps the world’s greatest-ever fighter of environmentalism, Jeremy Clarkson, (myself included) we have an interesting argument. Environmentalists are trying to tell us that recycling is fun, while he is telling us that driving to the North Pole in a big 4×4 while drinking gin is fun, and he obviously wins. His is a lot more fun because the other option isn’t fun at all. His is grotesquely irresponsible, but like almost everything else that is grotesquely irresponsible, it’s enormous fun.

My problem is that environmentalists won’t admit it. I want to hear a global warming expert acknowledge that burning oil, and the various machines we’ve invented that burn oil, are fantastic, and that it’s really annoying how we can’t do it anymore. But we can’t, because of facts. I’m sure that’s how many of them must feel. It’s certainly how I feel. I’m as much of if not more of a fan of fossil fuel-burning big, fast, metal things as the next man (and I do mean man). But I just can’t persuade myself that climate change isn’t happening. I wish I could. I really wish someone could convince me it’s not. But no one has or will, because it is.

It’s like astrology. Given the choice, I’d like astrology to be true. It would make deciding what to do easier and give me something to blame when things go wrong. “I failed that test because Orion was at its peak while Scorpio was in Venus’s path.” (I’m making this up I have no knowledge of astrology or astronomy (sorry, Mr. Bait))

But it isn’t true. Life would be a lot easier if astrology was true and climate change wasn’t, but what do you know, it’s the opposite. So what do we do? We grimly do our recycling and not use planes as much, not because these things are fun or cool or exciting or “an opportunity”, but because we have to. The alternative attitude is no more convincing than when your mom said “let’s see which one of you kids can clean your room fastest!” We didn’t fall for it then, and we don’t fall for it now. But we still have to do it because it is our room/planet, we did mess it up/pump disgusting amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and if we don’t do something about it, there won’t be desert/ a life-sustaining planet.