Saturday, 10 May 2014

Enemies of change, enemies of life

 "the essential quality of living is change ... The static, the enemy of change, is the enemy of life ..."
John Wyndham The Chrysalids*

Classified as: reflective journal, - discourse, advocacy.

First published 11 May 2014, updated with minor changes 14 May 2014.

I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about climate change denial lately, for the article I've been trying to write for nearly eighteen months (in my own defence, I have to say it's a difficult and complex topic).  I think I've almost finished it, but I don't know if it will ever be published. Anyway, I've learnt a lot from doing it, even if only in the way TS Eliot wrote:

And the end of all our journeying
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

which also feels really relevant because I have just come back from journeying to the faraway child.

Also I have just read Lenore Taylor's great article in the Guardian about Tony Abbott and Denis Napthine being on the expensive road to nowhere. Plus, in the  comments on that article and elsewhere, such as John Quiggin, seen views from lots of people who think cyclists are a minor annoyance for motorists, at best.

From all of this, I am reminded that those who are the most opposed to change are those who are the most wedded to the status quo. Which is to say, largely "confident conservative white men"#.

The ambiguous and complex thing, though, is that the most obvious public opposition to them comes from those who are like them, but not quite the same (trust me, I've been researching this for a long time^), that is, men who are left wing. Rarely does one seem to see, in these particular debates, comments from women, people of colour, or children. These are the voices we need to hear. Get engaged in the climate debate people, because it's about our shared future, and the future of those we love.


*I remember reading this when I was a teenager. When  you read the whole passage you become aware that Wyndham was suggesting that the woman from the 'future' who said this, was just as convinced of the rightness of her position as those she was condemning, and just as ready to destroy them.  I think I knew this, but at the same time, being a teenager and a baby boomer in the 60s, I didn't really believe it. I thought that my generation would leave the war mongering rigidity of the past behind us. I see the irony, but I still hope.
#This quote actually is from American research, by McCright and Dunlap (2011), but it also seems to be a fairly good description of the current Australian government.
^Well I guess that's not really good enough for a researcher to say, is it? So I'll do another post about the evidence soon.

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