Them and us

Let’s start with ‘us‘. We’re at the coal face and we can see that coal is dirty, dangerous and polluting. Burning it makes it even dirtier. We miners die of respiratory diseases even before we are punished by the CO2 consequences.

Then there’s the numbers. We can see our friends and brothers die. We see the black mucus suppurate out of their lungs. We can count how many are left before they are all gone. We know our friends are finite in number.

But for ‘them‘ in the boardroom, they do not see these things. They see numbers all right, but they are the infinite numbers of money. They count the numbers of people dying but they are units in a ledger and no friendship is lost to them. They look out of their window and they see an ocean of humanity ready to replace these lost numbers. It is a game to them, a board game. Climate change is just another throw of the dice.

It disturbed me how someone would willingly destroy themselves, knowingly cut off their own air supply. Why would they be so nihilistic? Why would heads of governments and heads of multinationals ignore brutal evidence?

Then it all became clear. I suddenly realised it was war. Climate change is a war. The poor are on the front lines; they see the suffering, the mounting bodies, the disease, the horror.

The generals though, see maps. They see territory either gained or lost. They see armies as possessions owned by themselves or hated enemies, possessions that can be destroyed and remade, destroyed and remade, destroyed and remade…

They are surrounded by sycophants, sycophants that like being sycophants because that is what they do best and they get rewarded for their skills. That is why this madness is happening.

Imagine the First World War. The generals order an advance as they peer at a be-flagged map. They do not see the blood of battle or the aftermath. If they lose the war, it is a handshake between gentlemen. An exchange of countries. Maybe some humiliation back home. Ah well, better luck next time.

No such luck for the corpses.

And so we march on to another front line, all in step to the economic drumbeat of ‘growth!’, ‘growth!’, ‘growth!’. The generals watch from their steel and glass towers, already imagining their new empires as the foot soldiers and engineers realise that this is the war to end all wars. They know, no-one comes back from this adventure. This time the generals stand to lose a lot more than a few armies and credibility with their gentlemen friends. They will lose their air and water and they will lose their precious sycophants as well. This time it’s, destroyed but no, remake.

Not many mutinied in the First World War. Maybe this time…

Leave a Reply