Essentially, I’ve been on a news fast for about a month and a half. I’ve avoided the news like the plague. It’s not that I don’t want to be informed but that I went into a kind of information overload. All the news is bad news – everyone knows that. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make headlines. Recently, I went through my RSS reader and marked thousands of articles read. I have never been able to keep up with all the articles from the various sources that I subscribed to, but I also never had thousands of unread articles – yes thousands. By avoiding the news, I have managed to live a somewhat more peaceful life – though not as peaceful as I’d expected. The news creeps in – like dust in the house – and it has an impact.
I’ve had a strong interest in protecting the environment since I was a teenager, but the interest had faded over time as I got older and had other concerns – like figuring out how to make a living. My interest in the climate was really re-ignited about two years ago after seeing Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth over the summer. The film resonated with me strongly, but not quite moved me to significant action. In December of that year, the leaves on the trees still had not fallen to the ground and it was 70F. I knew something was seriously wrong at that time and began researching the whole Climate Scene.
I’ve read a number of books, follow a few blogs and websites, and have at times scoured the mainstream media for articles related to the environment. Very often, I find myself quite angry with both the mainstream media and the activists. The mainstream media often gets their facts wrong, misrepresents data, and bows to the interests of industry. At least it seems that way – sometimes I wonder if its simply that they have to edit so heavily to fit things in their alloted space that important details get cut.
The activists, on the other hand, spout facts as if they were handed down from god. They get indignant. They get irritated. They focus on their losses rather than their triumphs. This is sad. This message, ultimately turns people off.
I’d been very interested in COP15 this year and had followed a lot of the news surrounding the summit over the summer. I did not pin my hopes and dreams on it because I know that there are a lot of interests and most of those interests are not in line with my own and are not in line with the health of the planet. Then I stopped taking in news. By the time COP15 rolled around, I couldn’t bring myself to follow the news.
I tuned in this morning. So much of the news about COP15 is negative. So much energy focused is on what we didn’t achieve (we being folks concerned about the environment). There is significant backlash against Obama’s “deal” with China, India, Brazil and South Africa. I understand all the arguments – that this breaks the UN model, that these nations are only in it to protect their own interests, etc…
But isn’t it significant that a year ago the US had a president who refused to look at the science and actively denies that climate change is a real problem? Haven’t we come a long way in the US in just one year? Maybe not as far as we’d like, but aren’t we on the right path?
Shouldn’t we celebrate this fact (that we have a leader who is intelligent and at least interested in climate change as a reality) as a victory instead of bemoaning the losses?