Tipping points

The climate. We love talking about it, don’t we. We can spend multiple news cycles analysing someone’s remarks about wether or not climate change is real, while we have proof right at our doorsteps. Or, lately, wether the situation is man-made or not. Seems like we accepted the fact that the bowl is broken after a decade of looking at it, falling down from the table in slow motion.

While I applaud the people on the streets, caring for climate change in Switzerland, I can't but see the global proportions. According to this data source, Switzerland is ranked #67 globally, with 40 MtCO₂ emissions. The top 3 nations (China, USA, India) account for 17'567 MtCO₂. Do you see the problem there? Even if, for some glorious reason, we all come to our senses in this little country of ours and stop producing any CO₂ from fossil fuel today, we cause but a little bump on the sum of emissions.

As long as there is no massive reduction on a global scale, the dynamic we are now witnessing will continue. And well, guess how much I trust the forces of global politics to meaningfully lean into that. So, with the risk of sounding like a jerk: If it provides some kind of cathartism to demonstrate and be politically active about climate change, well, go on, kick those suckers. It might even spark something on a global scale. Who knows. But the totally legit gut-calculated impression I get of all that's going on is a bit sober. I don't think it will matter at all. On a darker, more controversial train of thought, one might even argue that a group of otherwise heavily privileged westerners demonstrating in the streets is a bit naive and egoistical. As to say "I was on the streets and I demonstrated! No blame for me!". While a large sum of those people board a plane at least twice a year to get to some destination as cheap as never before in human history. My grandmother never even went further than southern germany in her entire lifetime, while I pretty much have enough miles to span the globe. So I am at least as much part of the problem as everyone driving an SUV to get groceries. But I already don't own a car and I will not board a plane unless there's no other way. Probably never again. On the other hand, all the goods I own that have been manufactured in China probably account for a higher carbon footprint than my entire miles flown. So yeah.. Perspective *is* important. And the number one driver of climate change *is* consumerism and lazyness. So yeah, there's that. And I am so fucking guilty of that one, I don't think a few demonstrations can clean my conscience for what I did without thinking twice.

I think.. this might very well be our "Star Trek global community"-moment. If humanity actually manages to come together and get through this thing, we might be one step closer to becoming "citizen of planet earth". But yeah.. results are still out on that. ;-)

Photo by William Bossen on Unsplash

Published: 02/22/2019

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