WHO’S a hypocrite? Why me, of course! In the current fashion for turning nouns into verbs, I “hypocrite” just about every day.
I run the car into town when I could walk. I forget my KeepCup and skulk around sucking my coffee through its unrecyclable plastic lid. I fly across the country, and sometimes across the planet, for holidays or to visit family and friends.
This week we heard from an even bigger hypocrite, Sir Richard Branson.
The billionaire at the head of Virgin Airlines rubbished the Australian government’s inaction on climate change. He said we should be thinking about climate change as if it were World War III, going all-out against this planetary enemy.
Can someone who has become mega-rich on carbon-burning fleets of aircraft tell us what we should be doing about climate change? The answer is yes.
Nobody can speak from an unsullied platform. Even the greenest of green-living vegans has, somewhere along the way, been housed and schooled and clothed in a society based on burning fossil fuels, wiping out forests, flushing good drinking water down the toilet.
We’re all implicated, although it’s true that this varies by degree.
One of the most banal criticisms of the most recent International Panel on Climate Change report was that world leaders flew to the gathering that announced it. Of course they flew.That’s how we roll in today’s world.
To demand that everyone contributing to the discussion on how we cope with climate change be a non-contributor to climate change is flatly impossible.
We must start where we are, with who we are: imperfect, polluting beings discussing among ourselves what might make us less so.
So rather than scream hypocrisy, let’s look at what the hypocrites are saying.
Richard Branson says coal is “a thing of the past”.
The IPCC report, based on an analysis of 6000 peer-reviewed scientific studies, says that a two degree rise in global average temperatures would radically alter conditions for life on this planet.
Hundreds of millions of human beings would experience food insecurity and begin moving around the world in search of sustenance.
Ninety nine per cent of corals would be wiped out.
And yet there is still hope, if we’re willing to listen and act and drop any idea that anyone is innocent.
- Bathurst Community Climate Action Network’s 2018 AGM will be held on Tuesday, October 16 at 6pm at Rahamim, 36 Busby Street, South Bathurst. Refreshments available from 5.30pm. Guest speaker will be eco-author and academic Dr Ariel Salleh (who is coming to Bathurst by train). The event is free, all welcome.