In 2010, one of figureheads of the green movement, James Lovelock said ‘even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while’. Lovelock was obviously speaking from a position concerned with the fact that many politicians ignore evidence of the climate crisis that is patently unfolding around us. This evidence comes in the form of the frequent statistics (this week’s news – last month was one of the sunniest in Dublin in a century) or personal experience (at last Sunday’s Irish Open final in Maynooth, it snowed briefly. On the last day of June!).
Science and common sense continue to tell us that this is not going to end up anywhere good for the human race. The apparent lack of real environmental leadership creates a political and spiritual vacuum that extremists are more than willing to appropriate. The Guardian reports that Monogolian neo-nazi’s have decided to develop an environmental agenda. This is not too dissimilar to the fictional crypto-fascist New Founders of America green agenda in the recent sci-fi/thriller The Purge. There are several examples of people who identify as Pagan and marry a professed respect for the power and beauty of nature with some very dangerous and ill-informed opinions about the ‘superiority’ of certain races. Granted, most of this incongruous garbage is the kind of pseudo-scientific claptrap that springs from the minds of some very sad people so you’ll understand why I don’t provide any links!
The plus side is that some of the most powerful mainstream political and religious leaders in the world have begun to stress that the looming climate crisis is the most important one we face. Last month Pope Francis tweeted ‘Care of creation is not just something God spoke of at the dawn of history: he entrusts it to each of us as part of his plan’ and President Obama’s inaugural speech last January spoke of the need to protect the natural world which was ‘commanded to our care by God’.
My point is that there is no ‘dark side’ to valuing and protecting our environment. As Ban Ki-Moon said at the start of his tenure as UN secretary general, addressing the impact of climate change is the most urgent issue that all inhabitants of the planet currently face. We all know this. If our political social, religious and spiritual leaders do not continue to make it central to their policy agenda’s, it risks becoming the property of some of the unsavoury extremist movements who unfortunately appear to be emerging around the world.