As plough headlong into my forties, attention has switched to preparing for life as a pensioner a few decades ahead.
However, as time goes on I’m becoming less and less convinced that we humans have another 25-30 years left in us.
Global emissions were static in 2016 but the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was confirmed as beyond 400 parts per million, the highest level for at least three million years (when sea levels were up to 20m higher than now). Concentrations can only drop if we emit no carbon dioxide whatsoever, says Hillman. “Even if the world went zero-carbon today that would not save us because we’ve gone past the point of no return.”
We won’t change course –there’s too much money tied up in maintaining the status quo. Too much tied up in extracting fossil fuels and in removing manual labour from our lives.
We’re not very good at dealing with existential threats when we are conditioned to prioritise our own social status over all else. We will take work, even if it is contributing to our own demise.
Our actions rarely align to our narratives. We talk about saving the world, but we don’t change what we do. I’ve no doubt the planet will be fine long after us, but we humans are presiding over the Holocene Extinction and have been for centuries.
What have we changed? Oh, we’ve started netting hedgerows so birds can’t nest. What the hell?!