Some people like to make it all very VERY complicated (whether they know that is what they are doing or not). And you can do that. You can make climate change and what we are supposed to do about it so fantastically complicated that you scare off most potential allies and actors. You can make it scary, conspiratorial, painfully scientific. You can throw around all sorts of language – “anticipatory this”, “transformational that”.
And you will feel good about yourself (aren’t you so clever, and righteous, to know all these long words…).
And you will achieve … as much has been achieved these last three plus decades.
Or you can learn from Boris Johnson.
Why do we think that we can only learn from people smarter and better than us? Because the last day/hours of Boris Johnson tells you what you need to know about how close we are to the edge, and how we will behave right up to (and beyond) the edge.
He went to bed last night thinking this was still recoverable. That he could appoint some greedy, needy and thick people, ride out the storm, bluster, bluff etc, and get through.
People who have studied this stuff, who don’t rate him as highly as he clearly rates himself, thought differently. Trevor Kavanagh of the Sun said he did not expect Johnson to survive the week. Right now, this seems to be coming to pass.
So a few banalities
- We can blind ourselves with the trappings of “power” and believe that a few clever moves will keep things as they are
- We can get drunk on the suitcase full of booze that is always at hand
- We can over-estimate our longevity, dismissing those who have made a proper study of this stuff.
But the reality principle does indeed intrude.
… food price hikes, energy price hikes, galloping poverty, covid resurgent, democratic institutions creaking or crumbling, delegitimised (by their own venality). Droughts, floods, famines, heatwaves that cause food price hikes…
The “end” can unfold a lot quicker than you think. People who have studied this stuff have words for it – non-linearity, concatenation, mutually reinforcing and assured destruction, tipping points, whatever. These words give you a sense of comfort, of control. Meh, enjoy that sense while you can, I guess.