A Current Conundrum


Yesterday, I drove my Subaru 15 miles to listen to a wonderful talk by a climate researcher and author. Indeed a profound dissertation.

Early on in the presentation he inquired of the audience, “How many of you think that humans are responsible for climate change?” Startling to him, everyone in this group on the coast of Maine raised their hand for “Yes, we are”. Usually he said it’s 50/50.

The roadways leading to the library where the talk was to be held were completely filled with auto’s clothed in the greatest colorful array of progressive bumper stickers imaginable, mine too……….and not a parking space for blocks.

At the talks conclusion, he stated that from his perspective it will take a new discovery of an alternative energy source to stem the tide of runaway carbon dioxide increases.

I am beyond perplexed, saddened and disheartened.

Here we were in this room, all in agreement to our role in harming the current stability of Earth, and what behaviors are any of us actually changing? In the face of overwhelming research, I feel powerless. And yet as he stated, we are more powerful that can be understood, we’ve been putting these forces at work for a while now, us, probably you and me, and everyone that we know. And yet, we’re not going to change, but just wait for some new source of energy??

Why is it that our current way of life, with all of its entitled comforts is not negotiable? These alleged comforts have only been around for a relatively short while. Why does it seem that we aren’t willing to modify our behavior all that much? And what would this look like if indeed we did modify ourselves? Why are automobiles, which from the perspective of a pedestrian are violent contraptions for inducing a lazy apathetic consumer culture, deemed to be a prerequisite for life within this nation?

I am dumbfounded. We in this room all drove, something that we know is inherently wasteful, harmful, on so many distinct levels, dangerous. Are we not capable of imagining a society without these things, and the multitudes of other dastardly conveniences? Can we get beyond the “I want it now syndrome?”

If we know that we a part of the problem, what will have to evolve in us in order to change course? What will we be willing to let go of? Isn’t this the greatest conundrum?—What will have to evolve in “us“?

While I live here now in this society, I do envision a vastly different one, and that one does not have automobiles at the center of our neighborhoods. It has us, working together for the things that matter dearly to us. This “working together” seems like the crucial point and something that many have lost the ability to accomplish. Some of our individual actions will not change the big picture, but we can choose which influence we’ll exert.

May we answer these questions, and even more importantly, share with each other what we discover. I know deep within me, and you probably do too, that our lives can be so much richer than we’ve been currently accustomed too. Even though I have not yet physically experienced this new way, I do feel its presence getting closer. And for that I am extremely grateful.


6 Responses to “A Current Conundrum”

  1. Hi there – I share your feeling of being overwhelmed at times by the climate crisis, but am envious of you being surrounded by others who also realize the enormity of what we are doing to our children’s future by continuing our addiction to oil.
    You may be interested in connecting with Citizens Climate Lobby – Dr James Hansen said at the Nov 6 Keystone XL protest: The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to support http://www.citizensclimatelobby.org because they are pressuring the government to do what is in the public’s interest, not big business.”
    We’re in this thing together, and we can solve it together!

    • Christine,
      Thank you so much for finding this post…..and more importantly for sharing the link with me. Jim Hansen is an international treasure! I’ll get right on over to that site!
      Thanks again,

  2. I am so happy you are back on your great blog. Your voice has been missed. It is mystifying how we all want change and seem to see the road we are headed down, yet simple acts like conserving gas is not a step many or most of us are willing to take.

    The reason behind my encouragement to see the movie “Thrive” is that it not only agrees with you but tells all about the new energy source that is being suppressed by world governments for the purpose of greater oil profits.

    I look forward to much more from you Matthew. Thank You.

    Maya Christobel http://www.the-gypsy-life.com

  3. We do have the power to change and we have all the tools right now. I’ve been reading Jeremy Rifkin who works closely with the European Community looking at a third industrial revolution, a combination of internet technology and decentralized power through the spread of renewable energy.

    I like this lecture from Mr. Rifkin about our transition to an empathic civilization… Thanks for keeping your blog going Matthew.

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