I know about Climate Dots Day. I really wanted to participate, because climate change is a threat to human civilization and threatens to considerably shorten my own life span. Pretty important, right? However, I happen to work on Saturdays. I could have taken the day off, but I already had a day off on May Day. I’m paid by the hour, and I want the income, because even though climate change will have a greater impact on my life that whatever money I earn today, in the short run, the income is more important.
I considered joining an event during the hours when I do not work … but the only event in all of *Taiwan* conflicts with my working hours. I also considered organizing my own event … but the prospect of hosting this sort of thing on a working day seemed really exhausting to me. And it’s not just the hours – I am afraid I wouldn’t be able to get anybody to attend. I have trouble scheduling one-on-one meetings with my friends because if I’m free, they’re at work, and if they’re not working, I am, and if we’re both not working they might have to go to somebody’s wedding, etc. etc.
Because attending weddings, of course, is more important than making sure that human civilization survives climate change.
Of course, I might have been able to get people together, but I didn’t even try. We are all locked into our routines, and the prospect of breaking routine seems really tiring..
In short, I could not be bothered to ask for a day off work or to even ask my friends for a get-together in order to save civilization.
And that is why climate change is such a threat.
I take trains frequently … trains which run on electricity from coal/oil power plants. I often eat food which comes from plastic packaging. I often eat food which is not organic. I often eat food grown in a different continent because there are almost no sources of local protein in Taiwan – practically all beans, nuts, and grains other than rice/millet are imported. Even if I weren’t a vegan, local protein options would be limited as most of the milk is imported too, the fish often come from distant oceans, and the cows/pigs/chickens in Taiwan are fed imported grain. At least I try to make sure the rice, fruits and vegetables I eat are grown in Taiwan, but the other day I bought some durian from Thailand (wrapped in plastic, of course). And of course, I use electronics, like this computer, which also runs on the dirty coal/oil electricity.
I could keep on listing all of the ways which I contribute to climate change, but you get the idea. Wrecking the climate is part of my routine, and I couldn’t break my routine for one day to save the world. And even if I broke routine, it would be meaningless without other people breaking routine. This is why there needs to be comprehensive international policy to preserve the climate – and I’m not talking about stricter fuel emissions standards, I am talking about rationing energy so that fossil fuel use is cut by 95% – be sure to read this piece about energy efficiency.
And if you have more time, read Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air.
In the mean time, my life is continuing smoothly, slowly and steadily driving towards environmental meltdown.