A few years ago, I lost a very close friend. His name was Matt. I found this loss an appalling and bewildering experience, in part because I’d never lost anyone as close. I’d lost my grandparents, but they were all very old when they went; whereas Matt was 12 years younger than me. There is a difference between someone going ‘when their time has come’ and someone being untimely ripped away from one. Furthermore, Matt was exceptionally full of energy and life.
I had a chastening experience the other day. I went to my local municipal dump (aka ‘the recycling centre’), to recycle (or, as it turned out: to dump…) some old carpets that had been covering ground where no growth was occurring, at my allotment. What chastened me was something that I, perhaps like you, somewhere deep down knew was true, but had managed to make myself forget. Namely: how much of our rubbish is still just that. Stuff that cannot be recycled, but is simply destined to be stockpiled, burned, or landfilled.
This winter, now finally ending, has seen disturbing early signs of the Earth’s climate starting perhaps to go out of control. The fierce cold snap in the UK occurred because the Arctic’s normal weather came down here; meanwhile, the Arctic was off-the-scale warm.
It’s time we faced up to reality: humanity is almost certainly going to have to learn to live in a world that has been radically damaged and transformed by human-triggered climate change. We are – virtually all of us, either softly or (less often) explicitly – in climate denial. The greenhouse gases we have polluted the atmosphere with have already set us down a path of serious and possibly irreversible environmental disruption, and the prospect of technocratic rescue is as unlikely as it is worrying on its own terms.
“The way you use the word “God” does not show who you mean, but what you mean”. — Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Religion is and always has been much more and much other than just g/God, and certainly than the God of the Abrahamic religions. It is an awesome mistake to tie religion closely only to God, let alone to God as a lone super-person. As the philosopher Wittgenstein once, wonderfully, put it: It is very important that we talk of God’s eye, but not of God’s eyebrows — or eyelashes.
Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto
Introduction: the big picture
Green politics starts from the realities we now find ourselves in. Human beings are changing the planet in fundamental ways – altering the atmosphere and climate, reducing biodiversity and trashing ecosystems. This is the Anthropocene, and human impacts are going beyond the boundaries that have maintained the planet in a relatively stable state.
At the centre of human pressures on the planet are two forms of growth – economic growth and population growth. Both are powerful and complex forces.
‘Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek the living Earth! I seek our planet, with all its riches of life. I seek Gaia!” — As there were many people standing about who did not believe in Gaia, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is Gaia lost? said one. Has Gaia strayed away like a child? said another. Or does She keep Herself hidden? Is She afraid of us? Has She taken a space-voyage? — the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub.