We have a problem so enormous on our hands it is very difficult to know where to start. In my own experience I can only equate it to the anxiety I felt about the possibility of a nuclear war breaking out between the United States and Russia. In those heady days when J.F.K. was in the White House and Khrushchev reigned supreme in the Soviet Union, American Defence Strategy was known as Mutually Assured Destruction. The U.K. as a nuclear power was drawn into the equation. It was all a bit too close for comfort and the stuff of nightmares. It took two visionary leaders to call a halt to the lunatic arms race, Reagan and Gorbachev. Still, do not underestimate the power of mass protest. Some of these people still stick in my mind. How many of you can remember the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp set up to protect against the British Government’s decision to store nuclear headed cruise missiles there. The camp started in 1981 and it was founded by the arrival there of the very aptly named group from Wales called “The Women for Life on Earth””. Interestingly for me they arrived there in 1981, the year of the first concert at Slane.
Is now to women to whom we must turn to find the leadership required to tackle the greatest threat to mankind on earth, climate change. Last year Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a waitress in New York. Now she is the rising star of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and represents the 14th District of New York in Congress. She has engendered much fire and fury on the Right. In January, the actor James Woods described her as the “ most dangerous woman in America right now”. However, if you wish to be inspired check out her contribution to the debate on the Green New Deal which the Republicans are seeking to kill off on https://youtu.be/-9F9NDWshLs.
This, of course, is revolutionary stuff but it is coming down the tracks so we had better get used to it. The problem for us is enormous because it will require us to examine the way we lead our lives and conduct our business. As I sit writing this article and gaze out the window at the blue skies of a wonderful spring day, I wonder how much of this is down to climate change. In recent times I have had much time to reflect on life and have sought to find meaning in it all. When you stare into the abyss you wish you had done more to take on the greatest challenge ever to face the earth and that is the threat that climate change poses to our very existence.
I look at my grandchildren and think what in God’s name kind of a world they will be living in when they reach my age. Mass migration on a scale we have never seen before ? Wars fought over access to water ? We need to be bold and ambitious and maybe tear up the rule book. For example, somebody in the body politic needs to have the guts to re-examine whether we should revisit the issue of nuclear power. The science has changed and we can no longer burn peat. Wave, wind and solar do not yet have the capacity to meet our needs. In agriculture we may need to embrace a green revolution. The clock is ticking and this week I’m sick of Brexit