Eco-warriors and activists are turning me off important climate change issues
I've been at the races this week, the Melbourne Cup Carnival to be specific, and I love racing. I come from a family who've owned horses for yonks and who themselves have been involved in racing for a very long time. They currently don't have any horses, I'm a part owner myself, but it doesn't change that we all love a good wine sitting in the stands at Flemington (the track in Melbourne).
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is huge. Over 81,000 people attended yesterday for the Cup itself and during the week more than 300,000 attendees grace us with their presence, both international and in town. As such it makes it a good opportunity for the self proclaimed do-gooders of the world to look like their doing some good. Like hurling abuse at race-goers at the gate, and spitting on horse owners. And it very legitimately (whilst not widely reported) got quite violent. Police even contracted a drone program for the day to keep protesters off the train tracks.
The whole ordeal actually got me thinking. Anyone who reads my work frequently here knows I'm a bit of an environmentalist myself. I love cars, I love internal combustion but I think it should be enjoyed in moderation. The daily commute for the average Joe needs to be done in an electric vehicle and it most likely needs to also be autonomous, clearing the road for those who actually enjoy driving and allowing the top 1% of sports and super vehicles to be either hybrid or internal combustion.
With that in mind, I don't want to fit the category of activist. In fact I've been distancing myself more and more over the past month from the whole issue. I severely disliked the Extinction Rebellion protests and more recently the mining environmental protests in Melbourne. You know when Police need to get tear gas out with bolt cutters and rubber bullets to move activists along the whole issue has gone way too far.
Sure there might be a climate emergency, sure we probably all should be installing solar power on our roofs (yes, already near carbon neutral myself) and sure we should all be driving electric vehicles. The question here though is should we be tearing down society as a result? Probably not. Should we be stopping big business, who seem to be the only ones actually committed to pushing their activities to be carbon neutral? Once again, probably not. Should we be shutting down government, law and order and act like school children who aren't getting our way in the process? Probably not.
I had a good in depth conversation about counter insurgency in general with John Coleman last week after reflecting on previous protest movements which have, at points in history, gained some sort of support. Movements like for example the anti-war protest movement. A movement which did gain a whack of support during the late 1960s in America about withdrawing from the Vietnam War. Ironically the majority of the population did not actually support the protest movement. They only supported parts of that movement and in principle. A good whack of the movement are what most would call the loud minority. But then again that's been the same during all historical pivots in protest history.
Environmental issues though are a bit different. And that's because they're nothing new. In fact once the Vietnam War was over in the early 70s those same protesters ended up protesting about Carbon Dioxide emissions and, you guessed it, climate change. Those same movements have been protesting exactly the same thing ever since as well. There has been an environmental protest almost every single year now since. So why are we hearing about it so much this year specifically?
Well there's a good reason, I call it bandwagon supporting. You see change is coming to the automotive industry specifically. We're almost in a state of limbo right now waiting for the next 24 months wherein almost every manufacturer on earth will launch an electric or hybrid vehicle. Even better still almost all of them are quite affordable. Pricing for solar power is plummeting, the reliability of that technology is making leaps and bounds and wind farms are going up left right and center. So I actually give it about 10-20 years before the world reduces carbon emissions to the point that emission growth is declining at a rapid rate.
That's where the protesters come in. There is so much media attention surrounding the negative aspect of climate change and not what people are doing positively (like for example the fact that over 50% of households in Brisbane are now feeding power to the Australian national grid through solar power) that those who would not normally pay attention are taking credit for something they almost literally had nothing to do with.
Problematically as well it's attracting much less, errr, desirable people to these movements. I don't mean to hawk propaganda or anything, but when I come face to face with a man who is threatening me with a bottle over a mine I have nothing to do with nor have any idea about you have to stop and think. Do I really want to be associated with those who seem to want to see society torn down totally? And the answer is; no, no I do not.
So where does that leave the more mild centralist of the world. The ones who support and do whatever they can to help combat climate change, but aren't militant and are happily content with the world and the people. Well I suppose, unspoken and in secret, we just keep doing what we're doing. We keep installing solar panels, driving electric vehicles and say nothing at all about it in the hope we don't get drawn into a ridiculous far left versus far right war which in some cases are verging on terrorism. I mean the climate change at its argument doesn't need to be one of idealism. It's just recognition. It cannot hurt to do something positive for a world which has done nothing but give to us, right?