Friday, 29 June 2012

Hard Rain, Rio And Lack Of Sun Push Positivity To The Limit

“We are all in it together,” says David Cameron. But the PM isn’t trotting out the posh boys’ excuse for dismantling the welfare state. On this occasion he’s praising an art project you can see if you visit the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

It’s called Hard Rain and on a recent visit to the Botanics with Wife-features and Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed we spent a fair bit of time looking at all the different panels of text and images. They cover population growth, food production, water resources, fisheries, pollution, energy and poverty. It includes thought-provoking quotes including the one here by Eddie “Every Little Helps” Burke.

I found it overwhelming if I’m honest. It lists the many ways we’re sending our planet to hell in a handcart. If you space them out over several days it doesn’t seem so bad but when they’re combined in one space it makes your head swim.

It takes inspiration from Bob Dylan’s song, with lyrics about dead oceans and people with empty hands. I think the venue for the project is very interesting. There’s an obvious connection with nature in the gardens and of course it’s a relaxing place so while the subject matter may be uncomfortable at least you have the space and surroundings to consider the issues properly.

Please go see it if you haven’t already.

Since visiting Hard Rain we’ve seen the world’s top politicians fail (again) to get a grip on the issue of sustainability. The Rio+20 summit achieved almost nothing but did provide a platform for a couple of grassroots campaigns that I hope gain momentum. (Check out End Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Save The Arctic.)

In recent days I’ve been speaking to lots of different people involved in the environmental sector and a theme has emerged. Namely, we’re doomed. I remark upon this because in years gone by as I have become more interested and involved in environmental and social justice issues I have been buoyed by optimism and good humour. It really does feel like the big green balloon is starting to deflate and few of us have any puff left to keep it up in the air. (In contrast if the Big Green Balloon smug club TV show deflated I’d have no problem. Never seen it? Give it a go. I defy you not to retch.)

Added to all of that I see the rubbish summer weather means my health is at risk. Scotland’s frustrating climate could be to blame for widespread vitamin D deficiency.

It’s too much for one man to take. I used to be so positive. How do I get my mojo back?

Maybe Hobbes can help.

Do not that to another, which thou wouldst not have done to thy selfe.”

Erm. Yes. While the old words of philosopher Hobbes remain worthy today what I actually meant was Hobbes, the go-karting tiger:

“I’m not sure I can stand so much bliss.”

I don’t think ignorance is really my style but taking time out to top up on Calvin cartoons definitely gives me the pep I need. Sunshine? Overrated.

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