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The Green Thing

by Rémy Ngamije / 21.07.2010

Don’t act like this isn’t the Western world’s fault. Because it is. We know it is. Our crime? We’re petroleum burning, carbon dioxide emitting, meat eating, non-recycling miscreants. Our crime is the whole green thing. And how little notice we’re taking of it.

People discussing Miley Cyrus’ underage ‘beaver’ shot online (an outrage that might cost Perez Hilton his scuzzy career) number millions. There aren’t nearly that many of us discussing the ecological fate of the planet! Scientists began reporting incidences of climate change decades ago. Weather patterns changing rapidly. Temperatures rising.

This steady stream of data has been deflected and called “alarmist” by everyone vested in “business as usual” – from the usual car and oil companies to countries over-committed to carbon based growth. Our leaders and experts have decided to wait and see if things get worse. For decades now they have. And show no signs of stopping.

But things are not getting worse spectacularly enough to inspire global action on all fronts. Small events happen – a flood here, a Polar bear on a lone ice pack there, more warmer winters in places used to freezing. Nothing hold the phone massive yet. Climate change has not been packaged and presented to us properly. There’s too much at stake. All we get is a distorted picture of what we are doing to the environment, and how we can prevent it.

The scale and danger of climate change is often individualised – the solution bogusly presented to us as a behaviour we can adopt – the “change your habits” approach. It’s a mystifying David-versus-Goliath scenario: small polluting human versus the ailing environment. What’s missing is the system itself. The resource guzzling, waste spewing economy of consumption and growth currently holding sway across the globe. The collective impact of unbalanced living.

The climate change movement needs more radical messages. It’s time to play rough. Why not have a BP exec admitting cars that do not run on petrol are the only viable future? Why not admit that it’s time to move away from short-sightedly acquisitive individual behaviour, and time to indict and end the system that rewards it?

Unfortunately solving climate change is too demanding, dangerous and challenging to the powers that be than fucking up the ozone is. Most countries pollute the environment in irreversible ways. Most of them are located in the Western world. Why not criminalise industrial practices that pollute? Why not run headlines like “US Takes Dump On World – Shit Bound To Happen!”

Cultural attitudes also need to change. If we started treating Muslims, women and the poor guy cursed with a Nigerian passport with as much respect as we treat the idiot driving the BMW, we might be one step closer to caring about losing thousands of trees daily. The better we are to Others, the better the world. Every organism that crawls, walks, runs or shits on the earth is implicated in the risk of climate change. The Green thing is our thing. Make it yours.

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