Imagine, if you will, an alcoholic. In my years nursing, I know that if you explain to an alcoholic that drinking harms his health, relationships, and financial stability, that the vision of a dismal future will not scare him into quitting. The same for someone who smokes, or has any other addiction. You can nag them all you like about the damage they are inflicting on themselves, and maybe they will cut down for a few weeks or will promise to cut down with genuinely good intentions, but nothing will really change. In most cases, the level of their habit will remain the same or even get worse.
Can you see the similarity to people's response to the climate crisis? People will agree to cut back, and they will make an effort for a while but then they will slip back into old habits.
The climate talks and agreements have been going on for over four decades. Species continued to go extinct, animals have died, forests have been lost. Yet like an addict, we humans have seemed unable to change course.
But what is it that drives addiction? Addiction arises in the presence of basic unmet needs. The alcoholic seeks to feel better for a while, the food addict seeks connection, the smoker seeks to relax. Desire comes from unmet needs. So what has made us desire big houses, big cars and lots of other possessions? I believe that we all still have an innate basic human desire for connection, community, time in nature, and intimacy, all of which we have replaced with faux substitutes. These substitutes numb the pain for a while but eventually will heighten it.
To find the balance we need to move away from the idea that we are separate from nature and return to living in balance with nature. The external changes we face are far more profound than changing from an industrial society to a zero-carbon society. Every aspect of society must change, including the economic and political system - all must come into alignment with a new way of living. When we restore our internal selves, including the capacity to feel and love, only then will we be able to restore our outer world.
Join people committed to change at a deeper level at www.Do5Things.co.uk #Do5Things