Well, I never. No, really, I never. A let out? I have spent years cultivating my environmental pessimism and I am not letting anyone claim that it is just a means of avoiding meetings on sustainable transport strategies (although it does help). No, seriously, I think we are doomed. It is not just the methane escaping from under the frost formerly known as perma (it was in a more confident age that they named it permafrost). It is not just that James Lovelock thinks we are nearing the end of the golden weather. It is that we are human. Even if we had a really good idea to save the planet, we would stuff it up. And we would do so because we would rather carry on doing things as we have always done them.
I am trying to think of times in human history when people put aside their differences, disregarded their petty concerns and worked for the common good:
- Good Old Blighty during Hitler's War - nah, mate; there was a thriving black market throughout the war and a high rate of industrial action: even on the last day of the war, the London Underground drivers were on strike.
- Before the War, in March 1939, when Hitler began expelling the Jews of Bohemia to any country which would have them. And who would have them? Nobody. Poland and Rumania took the opportunity to announce that they wanted to get rid of their Jews as well.
- Live Aid, when everybody got together to feed the World and watch Status Quo rockin' all over it - I think not; It was just a big gig which did not quite end poverty
Really, the only way we are going to get off this train is if the oil runs out. Even with the price going up, we keep on buying the stuff. We still use it to make lots of plastic crud which we don't need. We give ourselves a warm glow when we drop the plastic containers into the recycling bin, but we don't ask ourselves why we bought the plastic in the first place. And then we worry about Peak Oil. But it is the only hope we have.
One more thing. The plastic crud that does not make it to the recycling bins makes it to the sea, where it circulates in huge gyres. The sea of plastic would destroy the fish population, had we not fished it out of existence.