Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The New Normal

Last year was a fascinating year in many respects, especially politically around the world. I haven’t commented about much of it. Plenty of others have done that. To be honest, I’m not sure what any of it means, or what the long term consequences might be.

I am aware, though, that human beings have an incredible (and not always helpful) capacity to adapt. It does not take long for us to ‘get used’ to things, to accept things as the new ‘normal’. This can take truly extreme forms. People can ‘get used’ to living in prisons or detention camps; or living under constant bombardment. This adaptability is useful in one sense: it is necessary for survival, at least in the short term. In the longer term, though, it means that we cease to fight. That’s understandable. Fighting is exhausting.

This, of course, is what oppressive regimes (whether they be oppressive governments, oppressive government agencies, or oppressive private corporations) depend on: that we will tire of the fight; that we will not, in fact, be able to maintain our rage.

And few of us can, for any length of time. Life goes on. It all becomes ‘normal’, all too quickly.

I’m feeling some of this tiredness myself. Apart from anything else, the ‘enemy’ is difficult to pin down. There are conservative and reactionary forces pummelling us from every direction. Unfortunately, they distract us from what are probably the most important issues facing us today.

The most important issue facing us is climate change, but it remains difficult to convince people of that. It is very difficult to maintain this fight because, to be honest, I think the battle is already largely lost. Even if we were to stop introducing CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today, mean global temperatures would now likely continue to increase for decades; and that does not even take into account any critical cascade events that may be precipitated. There is next to no chance of keeping the increase below 2 °C. The consequences of this are unimaginable. And perhaps that is the problem. It does not seem real to us. It will be real enough to our children and grandchildren.

Unfortunately, we will probably get used to this too.

Anything we do now is probably far too little, far too late. This will no doubt be the next argument of the forces that oppose action again climate change: it’s too late to do much, so why bother doing anything?

But I won’t buy that. Everything we can do, we must do.

Let’s do our best to maintain the fight, to maintain our rage. Let’s not get used to the new ‘normal’.


  1. Thank you for your post. We do need to act and not accept the 'new normal' both in respect of climate change and in respect of oppressive regimes even when they are establishing themselves in 'Western Democracies'. Plant a tree today!

  2. Excellent post and I could not agree more. We have an idiot in the White House who with other morons do not believe we have this worldwide problem!

    Sad fact, Cheeto has undone practically everything that President Obama stood for and is trying to undo all the good that was done by a previous legislation. This is nothing to do with whether your Democrat or Republican. It’s just common sense!

    If you watch National Geographic and other channels portraying what’s happening in this universe as far as climate changes you’ll get the full picture!

    You can actually see the polar ice caps melting And wildlife fleeing from parts of the country where are used to habitat! Sad that some other world leaders also are non believers!

    If anyone with half a brain does their own research, they too will understand we have a real freaking problem with climate change. Having more hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other serious, if not catastrophic weather conditions more frequently — is another red flag!

    Just the other day, Europe has experienced its worst heat wave in a nearly a century! Further proof Climate change is real and threatening our planet!.